Reflections on Movember at SW+A

By Tasman Richardson

As I rode the crowded streetcar today, I noticed there was something missing… the last of the ‘staches had migrated away, reminding me that the ritual known as Movember had passed for another season. You’re probably no stranger to Movember, a popular charity which raises money to fight prostate cancer by inviting men to grow moustaches and collect sponsors. November was co-opted and its name has become synonymous with the charity. In the early days of November ahem, Movember, many a stubble peppered lip can be spotted throughout the city. Actually, the charity has gone global and extended to encompass women around the world too, who help raise money as mo’ sistas (the fairer counterpart to the mo’ bros).

Here at SW+A a few of us joined in the fight and managed to raise $2,115 through our combined effort. My fellow mo’s were Paul Dalton, Shan Janmohamed, and Sarah Major. I thought it would be nice to take a moment, and share some of their experiences with you, and if you were a part of Movember too, I hope you’ll feel free to post a reply.

Shan was the first person to mention it to me. He’s a pretty reserved guy so I was surprised to see him floating around the office, cornering people and looming over cubical walls spreading the message of Movember with the stealth of a good will ninja. As you can see from the pics, if it wasn’t for grooming he could easily achieve yeti status in no time. I’ve never had a moustache and I was pretty nervous about growing one but since my facial hair is like wire, I figured it couldn’t

Click to see Infographic


be too hard, and taking a break from hacking at my upper lip would be nice. Paul was the best sport of all since he’s nearly the same age as me and still hasn’t hit puberty which makes him facial follicle challenged. Sarah was working with Rickard’s and Molson Coors (one of our clients) and noticed they were gearing up  big time with all kinds of merch and shiny mo’ sista necklaces so she claims to have joined in for the bling although I’m sure that’s only a small part of her motivation which was in fact definitely, positively, and without question, purely charitable. I also heard from an “anonymous” source that women will do anything for jewelry which I believe to be a gross generalization but which in fact may be true…  just sayin’.

The worst and best part of growing a ‘stache in stages is seeing strangers in public. Although a few people cheat (not naming names, ahem Shan) by First: growing a nice even layer of whiskers all over their face and then Second: trimming away the beard and chops to reveal a nearly fully formed moustache, it’s generally considered a shortcut and in spite of Director Carol Chong’s nickname for me (rhymes with shicken hit) I did not shicken out. People have a tendency to look at you with a bit of pity and confusion, especially if they don’t know about Movember, mostly children, and the elderly. Once in a while you’ll see another stubbly cookie duster in the making across the subway platform and all that’s needed is a knowing nod to make you feel really great. I even got a nice chant of “Mo Mo Mo!” from some moustache sporting gents at the coffee shop when I was in my patchy mid stages. From what I’ve heard, this kind of comradery is pretty common amongst the bros. I’m not sure how the sistas feel since I only have 1 sample in my study group and making conclusions based on that would be frowned upon. Still, Sarah felt that the public nods were not as frequent for her so that kind of connection might need a bit of work. The necklace does help though, just a suggestion in case any Movember admin types are reading this.

I don’t think of myself as a particularly charitable person, although I’ve done a few runs and bought a few cookie boxes, for the most part my kind of charity has been one on one. It sounds terrible to say we need to streamline something as emotionally potent as good will but in the end, raising money for charity requires real insight. Movember really feels like it’s grown (pardon the pun) into a behaviour or ritual which some may see as a trend but I see it as proof of their diligence and marketing insight into doing what comes easy and encouraging what comes naturally. I didn’t train on a treadmill to grow my facial hair.

I’ll leave you with a few parting tokens, some before and after pics of the SW+A crew and a lovely infographic (I made it). Thanks to all the generous people that sponsored us and let’s hope we see mo’ whiskers next year!