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Style / by Erin Thibodeau
Photographer / Leslie Woods

Of Moustache and Men

HOW AN INSIDE JOKE BECAME A GLOBAL SENSATION

I’m sitting at a hockey game a few weeks after interviewing Movember co-founder, Adam Garone.

An announcer saunters onto the ice in heels – a dangerous game to be playing in my opinion – and proceeds with a contest sponsored by Campbell’s Soup in honour of Movember. ‘Name that Mo’’ and the contestant proceeds to name famous hockey mo’s correctly, four for four, which get him a chunk of money donated to his Mo’ Space, and, I’m assuming, a can of chunky soup.

Only one of the players featured in the contest played for the Leafs after 1990, and his is a sad attempt at a stash. The decades-long gap is conspicuously hairless in the upper lip region and the older players get by far the most vocal support by the fans. I’m struck with the realization, one that I’m sure most of you have already caught on to, of the intense generational nostalgia prevalent in our society.

The culture of a time when mo bros didn’t pray for December 1st so they could ditch the itchy lip sweater, but rather groomed and perfumed (maybe, but I like the rhyme) their moustaches. This nostalgia – for free wheelin’ ride or die, dazed and confused times, is what led Movember to succeed in the first place.

Movember is a well crafted joke by Adam Garone and his buddies that just happened to evolve into a global initiative. “What ever happened to the mo’?” Garone & Co. asked each other, over what I can only assume was copious amounts of alcohol. Movember cofounders include Travis Garone, Luke Slattery, and Justin Coghlan.

What happened to the mo’? When did our society eschew facial hair in favour of baby faced models and cultural icons? What happened to the manly men of yesteryear? Put an axe in my hands and dress me in plaid – I’m growing a mo’.

Adam arrives at the photography studio in Toronto with an entourage of three – its just before November and he is making the rounds at the Movember kick off parties, Toronto’s having happened two days before.

I tell him I’m going to skip the “how did Movember get started?” questions and he thanks me – it’s a fact he’s already repeated almost every day for the last ten years.

“The fundamentals are start the month clean shaven and grow a moustache… the majority of people know that.”

-Adam Garone

He pronounces it “moos-tache” and I wish I could pocket the pronunciation and take it with me wherever I go. No wonder Movember caught on – there’s a group of Australian’s selling it with their accent, “and yes we raise a lot of money and stuff like that but the primary focus of Movember is to facilitate the discussion.”

I decide to facilitate the discussion surrounding our shoot by asking if he’ll do the shoot pantsless (but still while wearing briefs, calmez les nerves, people). He responds “umm” and looks to those accompanying him for help. I jump in, “or we could just leave your jeans on?”

“Ya,” he replies, “lets do that.”

I explain that my thought process was to undress the face behind the moustache, which is the face of men’s health. To convey to our readers that while the moustaches and Movember are a funny driver, what we’re all banding together for is actually quite serious. I also explain this to convince him I’m not a perve.

While talking to him, however, it quickly becomes apparent that Movember is no longer ‘strictly dickly’. Research and years of fundraising brought to light three major health concerns for men, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health, a quiet killer that Adam says surprised him, “one that shocked me is that 4 to 5 times as many men commit suicide as women, “we are diving in and trying to understand why that is. And that kind of goes to the core of Movember. It’s, you know, men aren’t good at talking…”

A good friend recently admitted to Adam his struggles with anxiety, conversations that Adam says make the entire endeavor worthwhile, “he made a really, really interesting observation….”

“That men aren’t good at sitting down and having discussions face to face like this. Men are much better having conversations shoulder to shoulder, when they are doing exercise, doing an activity, standing at a bar, or walking down the street talking about a moustache. We need a bridge.”

And Movember’s movement – those 1.1 million little mo’s, that Adam and his team have been “farming”, are building that bridge. With millions of dollars now being raised each year, that money gets funneled back into the communities from which they are raised, as well as into a global pool for research.

“We take roughly 10% of what’s raised in each country and that goes into a global fund … we have eight scientific experts that basically manage that fund. They come together and decide what program would best benefit from a global collaborative approach.”

P1050581-137

Movember’s 2012 Canadian fundraising was split up into 87.2% towards men’s health programs, 6.9% going to fundraising costs, an obscure 4.3% ‘retained costs’ section that is outlined as going to “ensure the long-term continuity of the organization”, and a final 1.6% going towards administration costs. These financials are audited and recorded each year by KPMG LLP. You can learn more about how the money is divided here.

The Movember team spends the rest of the year outlining goals and processes for the next year. Continuous growth and awareness are always first on the agenda and Adam explains there are “huge growth opportunities in the US and mainland Europe, as well as emerging interest from Brazil and India.”

“The key is making sure it stays fun,” he explains, emphasizing the joke that started the campaign and sense of humour and whimsy that still accompanies it today.

He continues, “This years campaign, GenMo… it’s a new generation of philanthropy, a new generation of thinking, and it’s taken inspiration from some of the greatest movements in history. We really want to take it to the streets.”

A “new generation” perhaps, but the inspiration is historical and nostalgic. When I ask him to name his favourite mo’ from history he responds quickly, “Martin Luther King”. Ever the salesman, Adam links his choice back to the campaign, “The movement that MLK led, we took a lot of inspiration from that because it’s a positive protest about making change.”

At the game, Lanny McDonald’s dirty blond and thick as molasses mo’ is thrown up on screen and the crowd cheers. The contestant names it instantly with an edge of “d’uh” to his response.

Lanny’s mo’ has stood the test of time. The world is moving a whole lot faster these days, creating a deeper appreciation for things that take time to create; a quality moustache, for example.

If this nostalgia can help Movember and the continued promotion of health stand the test of time, than I, a mo’ sister, proudly say, ‘grow on, and I will be sad to see November end.’

On Adam – COVER:
Shirt – HBC, Cardigan – Held in Common

INSIDE PHOTO:
Suit Jacket – H&M, Arlington Shirt – HBC, Tie – H&M, Jeans – Model’s own, Boots – Dr. Martens

I’m sitting at a hockey game a few weeks after interviewing Movember co-founder, Adam Garone.

An announcer saunters onto the ice in heels – a dangerous game to be playing in my opinion – and proceeds with a contest sponsored by Campbell’s Soup in honour of Movember. ‘Name that Mo’’ and the contestant proceeds to name famous hockey mo’s correctly, four for four, which get him a chunk of money donated to his Mo’ Space, and, I’m assuming, a can of chunky soup.

Only one of the players featured in the contest played for the Leafs after 1990, and his is a sad attempt at a stash. The decades-long gap is conspicuously hairless in the upper lip region and the older players get by far the most vocal support by the fans. I’m struck with the realization, one that I’m sure most of you have already caught on to, of the intense generational nostalgia prevalent in our society.

The culture of a time when mo bros didn’t pray for December 1st so they could ditch the itchy lip sweater, but rather groomed and perfumed (maybe, but I like the rhyme) their moustaches. This nostalgia – for free wheelin’ ride or die, dazed and confused times, is what led Movember to succeed in the first place.

Movember is a well crafted joke by Adam Garone and his buddies that just happened to evolve into a global initiative. “What ever happened to the mo’?” Garone & Co. asked each other, over what I can only assume was copious amounts of alcohol. Movember cofounders include Travis Garone, Luke Slattery, and Justin Coghlan.

What happened to the mo’? When did our society eschew facial hair in favour of baby faced models and cultural icons? What happened to the manly men of yesteryear? Put an axe in my hands and dress me in plaid – I’m growing a mo’.

Adam arrives at the photography studio in Toronto with an entourage of three – its just before November and he is making the rounds at the Movember kick off parties, Toronto’s having happened two days before.

I tell him I’m going to skip the “how did Movember get started?” questions and he thanks me - it’s a fact he’s already repeated almost every day for the last ten years.

“The fundamentals are start the month clean shaven and grow a moustache… the majority of people know that.”

-Adam Garone

He pronounces it “moos-tache” and I wish I could pocket the pronunciation and take it with me wherever I go. No wonder Movember caught on – there’s a group of Australian’s selling it with their accent, “and yes we raise a lot of money and stuff like that but the primary focus of Movember is to facilitate the discussion.”

I decide to facilitate the discussion surrounding our shoot by asking if he’ll do the shoot pantsless (but still while wearing briefs, calmez les nerves, people). He responds “umm” and looks to those accompanying him for help. I jump in, “or we could just leave your jeans on?”

“Ya,” he replies, “lets do that.”

I explain that my thought process was to undress the face behind the moustache, which is the face of men’s health. To convey to our readers that while the moustaches and Movember are a funny driver, what we’re all banding together for is actually quite serious. I also explain this to convince him I’m not a perve.

While talking to him, however, it quickly becomes apparent that Movember is no longer ‘strictly dickly’. Research and years of fundraising brought to light three major health concerns for men, prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health, a quiet killer that Adam says surprised him, “one that shocked me is that 4 to 5 times as many men commit suicide as women, “we are diving in and trying to understand why that is. And that kind of goes to the core of Movember. It’s, you know, men aren’t good at talking…”

A good friend recently admitted to Adam his struggles with anxiety, conversations that Adam says make the entire endeavor worthwhile, “he made a really, really interesting observation….”

“That men aren’t good at sitting down and having discussions face to face like this. Men are much better having conversations shoulder to shoulder, when they are doing exercise, doing an activity, standing at a bar, or walking down the street talking about a moustache. We need a bridge.”

And Movember’s movement – those 1.1 million little mo’s, that Adam and his team have been “farming”, are building that bridge. With millions of dollars now being raised each year, that money gets funneled back into the communities from which they are raised, as well as into a global pool for research.

“We take roughly 10% of what’s raised in each country and that goes into a global fund ... we have eight scientific experts that basically manage that fund. They come together and decide what program would best benefit from a global collaborative approach.”

P1050581-137

Movember’s 2012 Canadian fundraising was split up into 87.2% towards men’s health programs, 6.9% going to fundraising costs, an obscure 4.3% ‘retained costs’ section that is outlined as going to “ensure the long-term continuity of the organization”, and a final 1.6% going towards administration costs. These financials are audited and recorded each year by KPMG LLP. You can learn more about how the money is divided here.

The Movember team spends the rest of the year outlining goals and processes for the next year. Continuous growth and awareness are always first on the agenda and Adam explains there are “huge growth opportunities in the US and mainland Europe, as well as emerging interest from Brazil and India.”

“The key is making sure it stays fun,” he explains, emphasizing the joke that started the campaign and sense of humour and whimsy that still accompanies it today.

He continues, “This years campaign, GenMo… it’s a new generation of philanthropy, a new generation of thinking, and it’s taken inspiration from some of the greatest movements in history. We really want to take it to the streets.”

A “new generation” perhaps, but the inspiration is historical and nostalgic. When I ask him to name his favourite mo’ from history he responds quickly, “Martin Luther King”. Ever the salesman, Adam links his choice back to the campaign, “The movement that MLK led, we took a lot of inspiration from that because it’s a positive protest about making change.”

At the game, Lanny McDonald’s dirty blond and thick as molasses mo’ is thrown up on screen and the crowd cheers. The contestant names it instantly with an edge of “d’uh” to his response.

Lanny’s mo’ has stood the test of time. The world is moving a whole lot faster these days, creating a deeper appreciation for things that take time to create; a quality moustache, for example.

If this nostalgia can help Movember and the continued promotion of health stand the test of time, than I, a mo’ sister, proudly say, 'grow on, and I will be sad to see November end.'

On Adam - COVER:
Shirt - HBC, Cardigan - Held in Common

INSIDE PHOTO:
Suit Jacket - H&M, Arlington Shirt - HBC, Tie - H&M, Jeans - Model's own, Boots - Dr. Martens

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