A month in the life of Mo

1 Dec

It’s December 1 – gentlemen, start your razors!

Movember is the month-long moustache-growing event to raise awareness and funds prostate cancer, an inititiative continuously gaining popularity and raising more funds to combat this men’s cancer.

This year, I wanted to look at Movember as a process, step by step, a week at a time, just to try to understand what it’s like to grow whiskers over your top lip. For some guys, the experience is an ordeal because not all men can grow a ‘stache and they end up walking around with patchy, generally unkempt things on their faces. For others, like my friend, Gerry (shown here),  it’s good times with a new facial feature because they can grow a moustache.  This year’s Movember post is meant to be something of a guide, perhaps an inspiration, for growing next year’s Mo, based on Gerry’s Movember experience. Let’s begin!

Day 1: Gerry starts the 'stache from scratch

November 1, 2011: Nature takes its course and Gerry lets ‘er rip on day 1, where he starts clean-shaven.

Week 2: the smudge of a Trucker looms

Gerry has a heavy beard and by the second week, his ‘stache is taking shape and making its presence known. He followed the nasolabial folds between his nose and his mouth as a shaving guide, but otherwise let it “grow wild”.

But it starts to itch; he starts touching it. Gerry says that when he eats, he forgets about the moustache but can feel something on his lip and assumes that it’s food. It’s the old cookie duster living up to its name.

By the time he got to week 3, Gerry’s ‘stache had become “important”, as if it were an entity of its own. He began taking care of it, grooming it, getting meticulous about it, and decided he could do with some help and wandered into Garrison’s Barbershop on Queen West for a shave and a moustache re-shape.

These are the steps Gerry’s barber took:

Is that a corpse? No, it's Gerry in the hot towel portion of his hot towel shave.

1. Oil applied to beard to soften the whiskers. (Oil makes shaving easier – softer whiskers = less drag. Try it yourself with shaving oil from The Real Shave Company, available at drugstores.)

2. Hot towels applied to face for 5 minutes. (Opens the pores, refreshes the skin.)

3. Shave cream applied with shaving brush. (Easier shave – whiskers are raised by the brush and suspended by shaving cream.)

4. Face shaved with a straight razor.  Visions of Sweeney Todd danced through Gerry’s head as he lay there with his throat exposed to the unknown barber holding a bare blade over him.

The relationship between a man and his barber is a unique one indeed, as Gerry noted. This intimate, 45 minute man-on-man relationship must be grounded in trust. Gerry’s experience with the barber was “relaxing and gentle”, and he felt pampered and cared for. Sounds nice, doesn’t it?

Arial view.

(There were actually 2 shaves involved here: the first one with the shaving cream using a clean blade that lightly scrapes the surface of the face, and the second one with a clear shaving gel to see missed patches and even the shave.)

5. Skin bracer applied to freshly-shaven skin. (“Pleasant and invigorating!”)

6. Cold towel applied to face to close pores.

$25 later, Gerry’s got a fresh face and a newly-shaped moustache. He’ll be back to Garrison’s for future shaves.

Week 3: Post-moustache re-carve.

Week 3: Gerry and his moustache are looking much better with a reshaping, even to the point of being attractive! (Oops, there goes my bias: I do not like the look of moustaches.) It is really amazing  how a trip to the barber can make your Movember so much more bearable – cool, even! A proper shave and shaping is a good step if you want to actually enjoy the whiskers instead of waiting for the end of the month when you can shave the bastard off.

Week 4: Gerry's moustache is a force to be reckoned with and getting scraggily again. Moustache maintenance is important and not for the lazy.

Week 4: Gerry’s ‘stache is getting unruly again!

Lucky thing this week concludes the moutstache-growing event, but not before another re-shape for Gerry and the fabulous Movember gala on Friday, where I hope to see some fabulous facial hair, but somehow, I’m sad to say, I doubt this.

Though guys are beginning to take their ‘staches seriously now, I’m still seeing Toronto men looking embarrassed every Movember. But lads, there’s no reason to walk around looking ashamed, you just have to learn to take care of your whiskers. It doesn’t have to be torture – iIf you’re going to grow a ‘stache for a month, have fun with it!

I’m seeing a lot of men who are emulating professional hockey players during the playoffs. Movember is not a reason to not shave for a month.  – Gerry

So let’s get into the spirit, men. Try investing $25 into yourself and visit a professional barber to help you rock a great, groomed Movember moustache next year instead of fighting with it, and be proud of your new little buddy.

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