A man without a mustache is a man without a soul

John Devitt

Editor’s Note: 

The Revelstoke Current is very pleased to announce that it has engaged John Devitt to write about social issues and trends, people and events in our community. Unbeknownst to most people John has been an avid journal writer for many years and is, in my opinion, good enough and hungry enough to write about local people, events and situation

I think you’ll find his weekly commentaries refreshing and interesting. John invites posts and comments about his perspectives on The Current.

The month formerly known as November, now recognized as MOvember, is firmly upon us.  Started by a group of friends in Australia, Movember has become a global movement working to “change established habits and attitudes men have about their health, to educate men about the health risks they face, getting them to act on that knowledge thereby increasing the chances of early detection, diagnosis and effective treatment”  (www.movember.com).

As one wanders the streets of Revelstoke in these early days and sees more and more unshaven men with more than a few days of facial hair growth, this fact is readily apparent.  To better understand lesser-known aspects of this tradition, I ventured out to the local pub one night in this first week, to learn more about the inner, personal styling’s of the “Mo”.

The American Mustache Institute (www.americanmustacheinstitute.org) has a near complete set of diagrams illustrating many of the more common mustache styles one may see during the month.  We know some of these as the simple, traditional style of the “Tom Selleck” to the old standby of “handlebars”.  One fact is clear; a Mo is limited only by one’s creativity.  This is what led to the discussion that evening at the pub, as I gazed on all the peach fuzzed faces around me.  Does the growth of a mustache, and how it is groomed, suggest or express something about the inner character of the bearer?  Is it fair to say that Movember is a kind of “facial hair Halloween”, in which men feel free to express themselves outside of the norms and confines that work, family, or society has pressed upon us?  As I circulated with new and old friends, I posed this exact question.

The debate that ensued was humorous and had us all looking inside to discover more about our true selves.  Is one who is wearing a handlebar mustache trying to say: “I’m secretly pretty badass, a bit of an anarchist, and wish I rode a chopper”?  He with the traditional, “Burt Reynolds” is perhaps trying to deceive us with respectability, trustworthiness, and perhaps a secret belief that he is the forgotten love child of any 70s era porn star.  One friend indicated he would be growing the “pencil thin” mo that just covers the ridge of the upper lip.  We all laughed and said “So what you’re trying to tell us is that you’re secretly a creepy pervert who possibly has unrequited urges of pedophilia?”  The best jokes are always the ones that contain an element of truth.

The mustache is a throwback to another time when men were men, being macho was something to be proud of and there was nothing that a Chuck Norris roundhouse kick attached to a firmly grown mo couldn’t solve.  It’s apt then, that the mustache has become the de facto symbol of the growing movement to fight men’s cancer.  What better icon in the face of an overwhelming enemy like prostate cancer, then a strong wedge of hair on your upper lip?  What better way to laugh at something as frightening as cancer, then via a buddy’s ridsiculous pre-pubescent attempts to grow a hair on their face?

Regardless of the style of mo, or the implied undertones of sexual deviancy it may produce, throughout all the conversations I had, one fact stood out taller than the others.  Growing a mo is an expression of confidence, demonstrating a strong sense of self, and a profound feeling of universal brotherhood.  Our “mo bros” and the “mo sistas” who also heed the call all do it to raise awareness and funds to fight prostate cancer; a killer of fathers, brothers, sons, uncles, grandfathers, cousins and friends.

Confucius once said; “A man without a mustache is a man without a soul.”  So wear your mustache or mo proudly brothers and sisters.  Be creative and allow your fuzz to become an extension of your true essence.  When you get right down to it, sporting a mo is a symbol of strength and solidarity.  I, too, will be growing the most audacious, proud and confident mo I can sculpt.  Whatever the final product ends up being, I am certain it will declare how proud I am to join you all in our fight and how confident I am that prostate cancer will be beat!

For more information on how you can help this important cause, speak to anyone with a mustache or visit: www.movember.com.


John Devitt is a Revelstoke resident. You can read his column, Higher Ground, exclusively in The Current, every week.

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