‘Movember’ about more than men’s facial hair

Normally, I advise against it.
Just as Liberace’s impressive ability to wear sequin capes didn’t guarantee you can do the same, not everyone can look good with a mustache.
But for one month, I strongly encourage maximum participation.
Born out of an idea by a group of friends in Australia in 2003, “Movember” is a mustache-growing (spelled “moustache” outside the U.S., hence “mo”) campaign to raise awareness and money for men’s health during November, according to movember.com, its official website. The campaign especially targets prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.


This was my beard by mid-November. Weak, I know. After seeing this, I'm more concerned about the back-of-the-neck hair. ("Movember" 2011 file / News Tribune)

“I think it’s a good way to bring attention to the issue,” Duluth native Aaron Ballantine, a two-time Movember participant, said. “Often times, people look at me and say, ‘You’re a clean-cut kid with a big mustache.’ It always gives me an opportunity to educate someone.” (See Ballantine’s and others’ facial hair here.)
The usually clean-shaven 26-year-old gives up his baby face one month a year for a personal reason.
“One of my good buddies lost his dad to prostate cancer,” he said, “so it’s close to heart.”
Today the movement has grown into a well-groomed worldwide phenomenon and spawned similar trends such as “No-shave November” and “Novembeard,” which aren’t necessarily aimed at a specific cause.
My approach to wearing a mustache has been the same as my take on bangs on women and bowties — even if you look good with them, you’d look better without. So rather than stop at a mustache, I prefer to grow a beard, neck hair and all.
There is, however, the occasional man who represents all that is great about the mustache. Northland residents don’t need to look far for their spokesman.
Former longtime WDIO-TV news anchor Dennis Anderson has done more for the mustache than actors Tom Selleck and Sam Elliott combined. Anderson’s bushy lip-warmer looks as if it were sculpted by Michelangelo himself.
A more appropriate month might be “Manuary,” one of my colleagues suggested. But November as the facial-hair-growing month gives some Minnesota and Wisconsin deer hunters an ally against the wind and cold during firearms season.
So grow that mustache or beard, and do it for a good cause. It beats a sequin cape.

Jimmy Bellamy is a Duluth News Tribune columnist and multimedia editor in Duluth, Minn. Contact him at (218) 723-5390 or jbellamy@duluthnews.com. This column originally appeared here.