Minnesotan in training: November 6, 2013


Happy Movember! That’s right: Movember with an “M.”
It’s the month when men of all ages are encouraged not to shave the hair on their upper lips in order to raise awareness and funds for men’s health issues.
Prior to moving to Minnesota a year ago, I had never heard of Movember. I had heard of No Shave November, Nair November (take a guess what that consists of) and Februhairy, during which I won the “Princess Olga” award for the condition of my facial hair in the 28-day-long contest as a junior in college.
But I was oblivious to Movember until the guys from WCCO introduced me to the concept. I got so used to their moustaches that I thought they looked really weird once they shaved, though others thought they looked more “normal.”
Well, I’ve never been one to try to be normal, so I’ve decided I’ll grow my own moustache this year. I’m still trying to figure out exactly how Movember works, but I’ll share what I know for now.
A main reason for Movember is because the life expectancy for American men is almost five years less than women (currently 76 compared to 81). Several factors are linked to this disparity, according to Movember:
• Lack of awareness and understanding about men’s health issues
• Men not openly discussing their health/how they’re feeling
• Reluctance to take action when men don’t feel physically or mentally well
• Men engaging in risky activities that threaten their health
• Stigmas surrounding physical and mental health
The Movember website shows several scary stats. Here are a few:
• 1 in 2 men, and 1 in 3 women, will be diagnosed with cancer, including prostate cancer in 1 in 6
• The most common cancer in 15 to 35-year old men is testicular
• 6 million men are diagnosed with depression each year
• Almost four times as many males as females die by suicide
These stats paint a stark picture, but, the picture doesn’t have to stay that way. That’s part of the vision of Movember: bringing to light issues that men often sweep under the rug.
The other part of the Movember equation is raising funds to support the Movember Foundation, which is a Better Business Bureau-accredited charity. For example, if you’d like to support my efforts, you can search for me at us.movember.com. 
 I would like to raise as much attention as possible. Based on Sarah’s reaction so far, I expect my moustache to raise a few eyebrows. Maybe I’ll raise a couple bucks for an underrated cause along the way.