Thanksgiving, Day 14: My Mustache

Mustache! Get! Out! Of my! MIIIIND!!

Hey, you think of twenty-two things to blog about being thankful for and see if you don’t have to stretch a bit.

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 [1], 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 [2].

I still have so very far to go…

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 [3], 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?

See above.

—-
[1] Or, more to the point, the way you go to find the prostate.
[2] 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.
[3] Or all three, which would be very entertaining.

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