What's With All the Mustaches? The Origins of Movember
By Matt Soniak
Forster Forest / Shutterstock.com
Movember, like many other brilliant ideas, was born of a drunken, meandering conversation in a bar. It was 2003, in a pub in Adelaide, Australia. A couple of friends were talking about the cyclical nature of style and wondered why the mustache hadn't made its glorious return, Quetzalcoatl-like, to the mainstream.
They decided that the 'stache, or Mo, as the Aussies call it, deserved revival. They talked to a few more friends and made a plan. Thirty guys would leave their upper lip untamed for one month. They didn't raise money or have a cause—they just wanted to get a few more Mos out into the wild and see who could grow the nicest one. They started growing November 1st, so a name change for the month seemed obvious and appropriate.
The next year, they wanted to do it again. Prompted by all the attention their lips had gotten the first time around, they wondered if they could use their Mo growth as a force of good. They knew that men, particularly old-school macho types, did not get regular health checkups and sometimes even ignored signs of a medical problem. So they decided to use Movember to raise awareness, and maybe some cash, for men's health issues.
They discovered Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) and learned that one in every six men would get prostate cancer during his lifetime. One in 36 would die from the disease. Behind lung cancer, prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in men, but, at the time, it didn't make headlines as much as other cancers. It was a very male-centric, relatively unknown problem that could use some good, manly Mos behind it.
That November, 450 guys, called the Mo Bros, grew 'staches and asked their friends and families to sponsor their growth. By the end of the month, they'd raised $55,000 and gave it to the PCFA. It was the largest single donation the foundation had received at the time.
By now, Movember is a global phenomenon, with guys from six continents participating. We imagine there's at least a few flossers or friends of flossers who took part this year, and we'd love to see your Mos. If you or someone you know is a Mo Bro, leave us a link to a photo in the comments (and the amount of dough you raised, if you like to brag).