Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This is a picture of me at the moment, hidden behind my hand (which suspiciously looks like it belongs to someone else) is the rest of my facial growth. What is showing will be all that's left come Movember First.

So I know this doesn’t really pertain to Georgia (except that some Georgian men have incredible mustaches, including Georgia’s prodigal son, Joseph Stalin), but I would be neglecting a great opportunity in not mentioning Movember. No I didn’t just spell November incorrectly, Movember is an international fundraiser that helps raise money for prostate and testicular cancer research.

When I was at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, a friend of mine had found out about an annual party down the street from us called “The Mustache Bash.” It was held at the same house every year, despite who had moved out or who had moved in. So it had been going on for quite a few years, and it was always held in late November. The rules were simple: if you had a mustache, you did not have to pay for a cup (which at a lavish $5, was a pretty good coupe), but if you were clean shaven, you had the option of having a ‘stache drawn on with a black sharpie (in any fashion deemed appropriate by the host) or you could just pay the $5. Don’t even mention beards; that would have been like David Duke showing up at a Black Panther Party.

Most partygoers just paid the $5, and then once they were drunk enough, offered their upper lip to a nice drawn-on Fu Manchu. But my buddy and I decided to go all in, not shave for the few weeks preceding the party, and then shave everything but the mustache on the night of the party. Thus was the beginning of my long and fruitful love affair with mustaches that lives on to this day.

Since that time (November ’06), I’ve grown mustaches for various reasons: bets (I once had to go a month at the beginning of a baseball season with a gross mustache because the Pirates could not score double digit runs in a game), Penguins’ playoff runs (I’m still convinced that shaving my playoff beard into a mustache following our game six loss to the Capitols in ’09 single handedly saved the series and eventually won us the cup), and of course every November I would grow a mustache for “The Bash.”

It got to the point where people from home weren’t surprised when they saw me on Thanksgiving with what looked like a caterpillar crawling above my lip. Any pictures you see of me from Ham Bowl (my annual football game held the day after Thanksgiving) always showed me drinking a beer or making a tackle with a lip-sweater on.

Then two years ago, someone saw me with my annual November mustache and casually asked, “Is that your Mo for Movember?” I looked at him like he had a speech impediment. After he explained what Movember was (and that a Mo is what Aussies call a mustache), it all made sense. So without signing up on the official website, that November I told people I was growing a mustache in support of cancer research. Some people may see that as cheating, but I disagree. Many people wear pink clothing and ribbons during breast cancer month (it’s October if you’re wondering) without raising or donating money. After all, there are two halves to any fundraiser: 1) raising money, and 2) raising awareness. So when I told people that I was growing a mustache for cancer that November, I was doing just a little bit to raise awareness that there is such a thing as Movember.

That next November, I prepared myself earlier and actually singed up at the Movember website. Little did I know how awesome that site was. They have individual pages (cleverly called MoSpaces) where you can update on how your Mo is shaping up as the month progresses, equipped with the ability to upload videos and pictures as evidence. I also found out that Movember was linked into Facebook, where you could annoyingly post updates that would come up on your friends’ news feed. I tried one just to see if it worked; it did, and an hour later I got an email telling me I had received a donation. It was a $5 pledge from my friend Emily with a note saying, “Just to get you going.”

I was totally intent on maybe sending out an email to a few friends and family and maybe see if I could get a few dollars here and there. But just those measly five dollars injected a real purpose into my first official Movember. After that, I was a man on a mission, continually emailing all acquaintances and urging them to the point of annoyance to donate to this worthy cause. I ended up raising over $1300, much to my (and everyone else’s) surprise. 

I was amazed at how the simple act of not shaving the upper-lip could actually do good in the form of money for cancer research. I also learned some disturbing facts about prostate and testicular cancer. Did you know that one in two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime? 1:2! That's crazy.

Usually, you start Movember clean-shaven and humiliatingly go through November trying to grow a mustache from scratch. But I went through that last year, and by the end of the month, I still had a Mo that most men would barely sneeze at. So this year, I decided not to shave during all of October (an embarassing experience in itself, as my beards look gross and patchy), and then I’ll shave everything but the upper-lip come Movember 1st.

You can check out some pictures of my Mo’s from Movember pasts at my MoSpace page over at (I did not add many pictures to this post, because I’m saving up for my MoSpace). You can also donate at my page. Now I know the regular followers of this blog probably don’t have the means or the motivation to be donating money towards some weirdo’s mustache fetish. But try to think of it as donating money to a good cause, which, once you get past my obsession, is exactly what you would be doing.

Just as a heads up, this won’t be the last time I’ll be mentioning the glorious organization of Movember on this forum. So get ready to be inundated with pleas, cries of help, and straight-up begging over the next 30+ days.

Before I go, I will turn to empathy and sympathy. Odds are, we all know someone who has been stricken with cancer in our lives. When I was too young to realize the tragedy in it, I had an Uncle die of lung cancer before he turned forty. Just last August, one of my best friends was diagnosed with a very serious form of lymphoma. Jeremy had just turned twenty-four-years old. From the outset, it did not look good, but through intensive chemotherapy and a beyond human strength, he beat the disease in a little over six months.

Jeremy is now cancer-free and living his life just as before, although, I’m happy to report, with much more meaning and fulfillment. I’m not as up-to-date on the progress of cancer research as I should be given my intense badgering, but I believe we’ve come a long way in the past twenty years, and even though we still have a long way to go, there’s plenty to do in the meantime. So help me help others by donating something… anything in the next month.



My buddy Jeremy, me, and my Mo (summer of '09, pre-cancer)

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