Tag Archives: moustache

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.


18 Nov

Eighteen days ago, 110,860 Canadian men shaved their faces clean and began letting the whiskers over their lip go in support of Movember, a moustache-growing extravaganza to raise funds and awareness of prostate and testicular cancers. This event began in Melbourne, Australia to bring awareness to men’s cancers and to have a laugh by temporarily resurrecting the moustache (aka the “Mo”).

Movember gets bigger every year and I’m delighted to find that Canadian men have taken this initiative seriously and are really getting involved. According to the latest on the Movember website, Canadian men are leading in fund-raising – many individuals and teams from law firms, banks, and other businesses are supporting the cause and saying ‘no’ to steel under their noses for the month of November.

110,860 wonderful Canadian men are supporting the brotherhood in Movember – it warms my heart! 110,860 agents spreading the word and raising money for men’s cancers – brilliant! That gives us 110,860 newly-sprouted moustaches…uh, hooray.

On average, a man with a moustache touches it 760 times in every 24 hour period.

One of the Movember rules is to grow and groom the moustache. It seems to me that the best and most creative moustache groomers live in Australia, where Mos are carved and shaped into fantastical facial art. Unfortunately, I’m just not seeing the same thing in Toronto. Our guys are not holding up their end of the grooming deal and they look as though they’re in pain.

If I was a guy taking part in Movember, I’d embody the points of the Mo brotherhood, like a man who grows a Mo knows how to rock. When that time comes he likes his good times great and his volume turned to eleven! Yeah, that’s what I’d do. I’d take it over the top and grow a Salvador Dali just for the fun of it – it would be like wearing a costume every day!

So I think about how much fun a guy could have with a moustache, but I look around me and I see Toronto Mos looking like they just want to get it over with.  Most Toronto moustaches I’ve seen are flaccid, patchy, and ashamed of themselves.  I mean, I was out on Monday night (dinner and a super cool soul singer) and most of the guys I saw with moustaches had a look of embarassment to them, there wasn’t a lot of eye contact, and they kept their heads down.

I expect that despite the excitement of being involved in a cool fundraising event, growing a moustache must be humiliating. Take my friend Chris. He’s looking forward to December 1 when he can shave off what is turning out to be “the worst moustache ever worn by a homo sapien”:

This is one the one time of year when men who have no business sporting moustaches get to grow them without fear of being ostracized. Movember is like a get out of jail free card for any guy who’s been curious about how he’d look in moustache but was afraid the girls he hits on will think he looks like a convicted sex offender. “Hey, it’s Movember” you say, and people gloss over the possibly ill-advised strip of hair about your lip, in the same way they eventually gloss over costumes at a Halloween party.  (more)

Women want to support you whiskered warriors and we are empathetic towards your plight this month (though I don’t know how many of us want to put up with a ‘stache after Movember – I know I don’t). One option as suggested by asylum.com is that today, November 18, is Have Sex with a Guy with a Mustache Day. Asylum asks women of the world to use our vaginas to make a difference and “bone down with a dude that has a moustache”,  get your “cookie dusted”,  and “enjoy a guy who’s pencil-thin where it counts!” For those women taking part, remember, you’re not a whore if it’s for charity!

Fellas, you’ve done well and you’re almost through – only 12 more sleeps before you can take down the ‘stache (as savagely and as ruthlessly as you wish, but be sure to first trim the long whiskers then soften them with warm water and / or a facial scrub before you shave).  But while you are victoriously removing the 4-week hangover, feel good that you did something physically silly in the name of something serious, and collectively took another step toward keeping men healthy, now and in the future.

Thank you.