Since its Australian inception in 2004, the month of November has been sprouting up in increasing numbers all over the world.
But what the hell is Movember? Here are the amazing facts of what I discovered. We're talking moustaches (or mustaches, depending on where you are in the world).
-Movember is listed in Global Journal as one of the top 100 NGO's.
-Movember is 'CHANGING THE FACE OF MEN'S HEALTH'.
-If you are taking part you are a Mo Bros - guys who grow moustaches (and NOT beards...there are rules..more of that in a bit) for the 30 days of November. This gets them noticed among their peers. They get talking about what they are doing, by the water cooler or in a pub, or perhaps even on a bus, thus raising awareness of the often ignored issue of men's health. Men..statistically, are found to be least likely to discuss their health and the private foibles of their bodies. Especially it seems their private parts.
-Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK, rates have tripped in the last 40 years, and according to Cancer Research, a quarter of all new cases of cancer diagnosed in UK men are prostate cancers. In 2008, around 899,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer. Most of those in the most developed countries of the world.
Controversy exists as to the real origin of the awareness campaign. Some say it started back in 1999 after a bunch of guys from Adelaide coined the term 'Movember' and the charity raising idea to raise funds for the RSPCA 'Growing Whiskers for Whiskers'. But in 2004 another group formed in Melbourne, Australia to become fuzzy in the lip area to get men talking about prostrate cancer and depression.
To date movement has raised a whopping $174 million worldwide.
It's not just about men though. Ladies have their own handlebar of action. They become a Mo Sista. A Mo Sista basically is a woman who loves a Mo. She may be spreading the word or be a supporter of a 'grower' throughout the month.
At the end of the month, Mo Bros and Mo Sistas celebrate their Movember journey throwing their own Movember parties or attending one of the Gala Partés to celebrate the moustache.
Further investigation led me to discover other hairy pursuits in the name of charity. In San Fransisco, www.mhttp://www.m4ksf.com4ksf.com Mustaches For Kids - a charity that hosts 'grow ins' for November and December that raises money (and a few eyebrows) for Childrens Charities.
There is World Beard & Moustache Championship held each year to hail the hairy. November 11th, Las Vegas will be flooded with facial hair fanatics. Preening, twirling, curling and showing off their facial art.
A chance meeting of a film director with a bunch of fanatical beard lovers sparked a documentary and a club to be formed to peer deeper into the minds of men (and women) who sporn facial hair. http://www.beardclub.com now have campaign on to get their documentary to the masses.
Here are the rules for participation, taken from the website http://www.movember.com
On Shadowe'en (October 31st), the complete moustache region, including the entire upper lip and the handlebar zones, must be completely shaved.
For the entire duration of Movember (Movember 1st - 35th inclusive), no hair shall be allowed to grow in the goatee zone - being any facial area below the bottom lip.
There is to be no joining of the moustache to sideburns.
Failure to conform to all of these rules may, at the discretion of the official Movember Committee, result in instant blacklisting and may void invitation to the end of MOnth festivities (this year lip-marked for Movember 35th!)
Movember Committee accepts no responsibility for lost jobs, rashes, food/beer encrustments or any other such mishaps caused to the wearer (or his partner) of a Movember Moustache. You grew it yourself.
Expect to see a lot of facial hair going on this month. With the weather turning it's a welcome distraction. With charity sponsorship forms being thrust all over the shop and probably under your own nose before long, lets hope men can take charge of their health and shave off the numbers of prostrate diagnosis in the coming years.
Follow India Leigh on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@aveganobsessio