This month is “Movember,” as I’m sure you all are aware. If you’re not, then let me clue you in – whereas October is the month dedicated to women’s health, with a focus on breast cancer awareness, November is the month dedicated to men’s health, with a focus on prostate cancer. Seeing as how breasts are, on the whole, a lot more photogenic and pleasant to look at than the prostate , it was decided that the best way to raise awareness was for men to spend the month growing out their mustaches. That way, when people say, “Why are you growing a mustache?” the man can say, “Why it’s to raise awareness of prostate cancer! And now you are aware! You’re welcome!”
Although I suspect that for most men, it’s just an excuse to grow a mustache.
Which is interesting, in its own way. People invariably have asked me why I’m growing a mustache, which implies that there must be a purpose for it, a reason behind not shaving a few square centimeters of my face. And rather than just say, “Because I want to,” we have to come up with some high-falutin’ greater-cause reason for the whole thing. It’s a fairly drastic change in appearance that not every man can pull off .I suppose the same would hold for any other drastic change, though. If I shaved my head or started wearing three-piece suits all the time or got a tattoo , people would want to know why. “Because” just isn’t an answer that is acceptable to grownups, and for most things, I think that’s okay. After all, our appearance is the self we present to the world, and most of us expect that self to be stable and, within tolerable limits, unchanging. A drastic change in the outer self should, we believe, mirror a change in the inner self, and change makes people curious, if not downright uneasy. So we ask and probe and dig when someone makes a drastic change, at least until we come up with an answer that satisfies us. And if we don’t get one? Well, then, we’ll make one up.
So if I have to paste a reason onto my facial hair, then fine – so be it. Prostate cancer is certainly a noble cause to support. But I think I – and every man who decides to grow out their face around this time of year – know the real reason why we do it: because it’s my face, dammit, and I’ll do what I like with it.
All that said, though, I’ll be shaving it off when December comes around. Why?
 Or, more to the point, the way you go to find the prostate.
 Indeed, several of the guys in my office have given up on their mustachiations, on the grounds that they think they look silly. I have no idea what they’re talking about.
 Or all three, which would be very entertaining.