For the undercover brother, the rock star, the connoisseur and the trucker: moustache season is here.
Movember, an internationally recognized moustache growing charity, presents their annual challenge event this month.
The organization started in 2003 as a moustache growing contest between 30 men in Melbourne, Australia. Lisa Potter, director of communications for the charity, said the men were shocked by the number of responses to their moustaches.
Daniel Gossett, art junior, said to never underestimate the power of the ‘stache.
The name “Movember” is a hybrid between the Australian slang word “mo” for a moustache and November.
Potter said the men realized moustaches could be an icebreaker for conversations about men’s health issues, such as prostate and testicular cancer.
In 2004, Movember began raising funds for prostate cancer research in Australia. Prostate cancer research has become the organization’s main cause.
Adam Garone, Movember CEO and co-founder, was inspired by the breast cancer movement.
Potter said women are more open to talking about health issues than men. She said prostate cancer is an under-represented cancer.
Movember has grown to include official campaigns in Canada, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. The Mogrowing campaign came across the ocean to the United States in 2007.
The popularity of Movember has inspired other annual facial hair growing contests nationwide, such as No Shave November.
Potter said the organization is not related to No Shave November.
Unlike Movember, No Shave November does not raise funds for testicular and prostate cancer research and allows participants to grow facial hair other than moustaches.
Gossett said he is participating in No Shave November this year. He heard about the contest as a freshman at Texas State.
Josh Draper, theatre senior, heard about No Shave November his freshman year at Texas State. He has participated in No Shave November for four years.
Draper said he was excited to grow facial hair in college because he could not in high school. He said facial hair was a violation of the dress code.
Gossett said he has reasons for never having participated in No Shave November. He said he did not have enough facial hair as a freshman at Texas State. He said he could not grow facial hair last year because of his job at a movie theater in El Paso.
The Gossett lineage, however, is a hairy one. Gossett said he has only seen his father without facial hair in photos.
The face of the Zig-Zag brand cigarette rolling papers inspired Gossett to begin re-growing his facial hair in September. He said he was the “Zig-Zag Man” for Halloween.
Gossett said he will not continue to grow his facial hair next month. He will only trim and maintain his beard.
Draper said his “dirty blonde” curly beard has attracted unspoken head nods from fellow No Shave November participants.
“The conversation usually starts with, ‘How long have you been going?’ or, ‘Mine’s bigger,’” Draper said.
Draper said he will continue to grow his facial hair for the holidays.
Potter said Movember is the world’s largest non-government funder of prostate cancer research and has raised $174 million for prostate and testicular cancer research to date. In the U.S., the organization has partnered with the Prostate Cancer Foundation and the Livestrong Lance Armstrong Foundation in Austin.
According to the official Livestrong website, the organization began in 1997 by cyclist Lance Armstrong to improve the lives of people affected by cancer.
At age 25, Armstrong was diagnosed with testicular cancer. Potter said testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer in men aged 18 to 35. Potter said Movember’s main message is to urge men of all ages to receive annual health checkups.
Potter said the rules of the Movember contest are simple. Participants start clean-shaven and begin growing their moustache Nov. 1. Participants will ask for monetary moustache sponsors throughout the month.
Potter said people can still register to participate in this year’s Movember on the organization’s website.
“Some men can grow a pretty rocking moustache in just three days,” Potter said. “The moustache becomes your hairy ribbon for having people say, ‘What in the world is on your face?’”
In total, more than one million Mo Bros, the men who support Movember, and Mo Sistas, the women who support the Mo Bros, have registered for the annual event.
More than 100,00 people in the U.S. alone have registered to participate in Movember this year in support of prostate and testicular cancer awareness and research.
Participants will receive a “party in a box” from the organization at the end of Movember to celebrate the month’s achievements.