Sunday, November 16, 2014
Re-run Sunday: A Mo-vember tribute to the hairy ribbon
It’s mid-Mo-vember. That means it’s time to re-run my perennial tribute to mustaches and how those who grow the hairy ribbon raise awareness about prostrate cancer. This was from ’11. Please disregard the dated references and now-expired links.
For a moment I felt like the misfit bully in the AT&T commercials who believes his co-workers are deliberately excluding him from the hall taco party outside Bill’s office.
Then I realized a key difference. He thinks people make fun of him.
As for me, I now know they do. I know this because for the past 15 days they’ve been in my face.
And it’s all because of what’s on my face.
Yes, it’s Movember!
That’s November with a “Mo” to go. Mo is Australian slang for mustache.
Five days ago I’d never heard of Movember, an Australian export that didn’t hit the U.S. until 2007. Now it consumes me.
Movember is doing for November and prostate cancer what pink ribbons did for October and breast cancer.
Organizers have since 2004 raised a whopping $174 million by encouraging every man on the planet to grow a mustache for the month. That’s all. People donate money to men who’ll grow mustaches and the many mos generate awareness.
It’s like a charity 5K for couch potatoes.
They call it the “hairy ribbon.”
It is to me it is one of the most ingenious fundraisers ever conceived. It’s a perfectly manly way to reach men about an area they’re often reluctant to discuss. And I’m not talking about their funny bones.
I did this story about it for msnbc.com after learning Qantas had decorated a terminal building and Boeing 737-800 with really cheesy mustaches style savvy people make fun of.
Apparently like mine.
Adam Garone, one of four co-founders of Movember told me he and his mates were sitting around a Melbourne backyard in 2003 discussing how every fashion recycles. All but one.
In my mind I picture them all there, drunk and very Aussie cool.
“We talked about mustaches and how popular they were in the 1970s and ‘80s,” he said. “But they never came back. We decided to devote the month to growing mustaches, mate.”
(He didn’t say “mate,” but I added it for antipodean color.)
Expecting support, they received scorn.
“Oh, my girlfriend hated it,” he said. “My boss said the mustache made me so ugly he wouldn’t let me go out on sales calls. It was sooo ugly.”
I admit I live a cloistered life, but when did the mustache fall out of favor? When did it become a topic for cool people to ridicule?
Could I have somehow missed an important fashion memo?
I’ve been rockin’ the ‘stache since 1985. I like it because it conceals and distracts numerous other flaws ranging across my face. Without the mustache, people’s eyes might go to the moles, the bloodshot eyes, scars and other mug-ravaging deformities.
I hope one day my mustache grows up and becomes Sam Elliott’s mustache.
What would Mark Twain be without his mustache? How about the over-looked acting genius Burt Reynolds? He had a great ‘stache that matched the color of that black Trans Am that caused Sheriff Buford T. Justice so much manly trouble.
Just about everyone in my bar has thick mustaches -- including half the gals.
Are we that hillbilly backward?
Apparently so. A little research revealed we’re a minority that needs protecting.
That’s where the American Mustache Institute comes in (motto: “Protecting the rights of, and fighting discrimination against mustached Americans by promoting the growth, care and culture of the mustache”).
While I’ve been stationary, I somehow became part of a movement.
So while I fully support Movember and its noble goals I kindly ask they rescind ‘stache bashing as part of their promotions.
Would it be acceptable if the joke was on African-Americans? Bi-sexuals? Chrome domes?
All we mustachioed men ask is to be treated like equals, to get a fair shake, and to have the results of our prostate exams come back clean.
And then maybe we’ll enjoy the fruits of what other minorities, mustachioed and otherwise, have earned.
We’ll be Mo-vin’ on up!