I Mustache You A Question

by Lindsay Keare | 11/7/13 5:02pm

The main questions in Movember: how much money can you raise and how much hair can you grow?

Halloween is over and everybody knows what that means — no, not the start of the holiday season. It’s the start of mustache season. No-Shave November is officially upon us folks, meaning that those partaking in the month of facial hair are now approximately one week into their 30-day quest to grow the best beards and ’staches they possibly can.

While No-Shave November has been around for a while, a newer, more specific movement called Movember (short for Mustache November) has taken root across the world and across campus. The campaign encourages men, called Mo Bros, to raise money to combat prostate and testicular cancer and mental health challenges by growing and grooming mustaches. Since its start in Australia in 2003, the movement has raised nearly half a billion dollars worldwide for these causes, and the number of participants and donations continued to increase each year since. And women, otherwise known as Mo Sistas, can get involved as well, by encouraging men they know to participate.

Here at Dartmouth, Movember is already well — and visibly — underway. Colin Murphy ’15, who has started a Movember group on campus, said that the purpose of the movement is “to be confident in yourself and your own masculinity while raising awareness to others that men’s health is important and something that should not be overlooked or disregarded.”

Movember is about more than just the mustache.

“For many, it’s not easy or comfortable to grow out facial hair, so it is a challenge of confidence as well as a challenge to stand for men’s health,” Murphy said.

While many Dartmouth students are taking part in No-Shave November for the first time this year, others are now repeat participants. Sam Macomber ’16 has completed No-Shave November since his senior year of high school, participating last year with the men’s alpine ski team. As No-Shave November ended during their pre-season training, the team was able to celebrate their varying beard and mustache successes together.

“Toward the end of the month we started shaving funny things,” Macomber said. “I shaved half my face.”

Indeed, part of the fun of Movember and No-Shave November is seeing what sort of facial hair you have at the end of the month and then turning it into something crazy, because simply shaving it off is, to many, just not nearly celebration enough.

“I’m going to shave whatever I get into the coolest design I can think of,” Murphy said.

The shave-free month combines philanthropy with a sense of personal accomplishment.

“The first year I did it was patchy, but I made it through November, and last year was better but still a little gross,” Trey Rebman ’16 said. “This year, I’d really like to get all the patches filled in by the end of November and also have it look like a decent beard, kind of like a mountain man.”

Rebman plans to finish November by shaving his sideburns for a Wolverine look. He’s on to something with the creativity – wilder mustaches often compel friends into donating more money to the cause.

“People that I have talked to about Movember have been more excited to see what [my mustache] looks like, so hopefully later in the month I can use that interest to raise money,” David Lerner ’14 said.

Seeing so many family members during the holiday season makes soliciting donations for Movember relatively easy.

“I went out to Thanksgiving and had a beard on and my relatives donated,” Macomber said. Last year, his combined beard and mustache raised several hundred dollars for the cause.

Although she struggles with growing a mustache herself, Alex St. Romain ’14 said she is eagerly supporting her younger brother Zack’s fundraising efforts. A junior in high school, he is participating in the project for the first time.

“He decided to do it to support men’s health, and specifically prostate cancer, which runs in our family,” St. Romain said. “Whether or not he can actually grow a mustache remains to be seen.”

Most families will support the cause, but not everyone will fully get behind the hair itself.

“Most guys seem to like the effort, and the occasional girl likes it but most people think I should shave it,” Redman said. “My mother definitely wants me to shave it and every year when I go to Thanksgiving my family makes fun of me because of how bad it is.”

Whether you pump yourself up for Movember months in advance, or decide to participate after a few days waking up too late to shave, all those who take part — successful or not in their facial-hair growing endeavors — can be deemed worthy of the power of the Mo. And if you realize sporting facial hair is actually your thing, there’s always Dirty December, Manuary, Facial Hair February and Mustache March. By April, though, you should probably shave it off.

Kathy Rao / The Dartmouth
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