Movember allows men's upper lips to stay warm
// Ben Spieler

Capilano University is no stranger to facial hair. The North Shore campus has a veritable smorgasbord of facewhiskers, from Fuzzy Peaches to Karl Marxes. In November, however, you might notice a decided increase in Tom Sellecks and Yosemite Sams.

On Nov.1, thousands of men shave off what facial hair they have and begin the arduous task of growing a moustache. The reason for this is to support a movement called Movember, a charity event which supports different types of cancer research, mainly prostate cancer, in the hopes of finding a cure. The event was conceived in 1999 by a group of Australian men from Adelaide, and it caught on like wildfire until it eventually became an official charity in 2004. The Movember Foundation is now an internationally recognized group and runs events all over the world.

The system is pretty simple. On “Movember 1st”, the participants shave off all their facial hair and sign up on They can make a profile for free, and even create a team with friends in a matter of minutes. The profile is not unlike the Myspace pages of yonder internet past – hence the nickname “Mospaces” – and all you need to do with it is post a picture of yourself on it regularly so that people can see your fine moustache in the works.

All donations can be given directly to the website through links on the participant’s profile. Around campus, it is evident that many Capilano students are also participating in the event: “It’s an awesome way to raise awareness, everyone can chip in even if they’re broke! But it’s really itchy,” says Ryan, a first-year Motion Picture Arts student sporting a furry upper lip.

Although the onslaught of upper-lip hair is meant to raise awareness in a humourous way, for some participants, the cause hits close to home.

Andrew Fergusson, a first-year acting for stage and screen student, has a very personal reason for participating in the event. In 2006, his grandfather Ian Allen was diagnosed with colon cancer, which he subsequently recovered from. Tragically, the cancer later came back, and this time he did not recover. “He passed away while my mom was holding his hand. I slept in a chair that night, not even two feet from where he died,” says Fergusson.

At the funeral, Andrew’s uncle Tim Allen noticed he was having unusual stomach pains. One week later, he went to get x-rays, and the doctors discovered that not only did he have stage three pancreatic cancer, but also that it was terminal. He chose to get chemo regardless, to show his son Travis, ten years old at the time, that one should never give up in the face of adversity.

These two deaths in Fergusson’s family are what prompted to embrace Movember so wholeheartedly. “My uncle had a very iconic moustache. My brother has been doing Movember since 2009, and I’ve been doing it since 2010 in order to show support in our family and to other men who are at serious risk,” says Fergusson.

While anyone can support the cause, the moustache has clearly fallen out of favour since its heyday in the 1970s. Many of the women on campus have strong feelings about the whiskers their male classmates are sporting. D

iana Beairsto, also an acting student, says, “I really didn’t know too much about Movember before today, and I wouldn’t even know where to begin supporting it, but I won’t cringe every time I see a half-grown moustache now. Well … try not to.”

When asked about her feelings towards moustaches in general, she replied in good humour, “I don’t really like them on most guys. I think my boyfriend can pull it off, but that’s about the only person I know that can do it. Moustaches just look goofy on most guys, and they’re much better off without them.” Another student, who declined to give her name due to fear of furry retribution, had this to say on the subject: “Moustaches are … no, ew, just, ew, but guys with full beards are okay; but only full beards. Not that patchy stuff, ick.”

An informal poll was conducted by the Capilano Courier in order to get a greater idea of how the ladies feel about those gents on campus with their dapper facial hair. Out of those polled, 11 thought moustaches are “awesome”, a whopping 32 thought they are acceptable only for Movember, and one person felt moustaches were a no-go for any reason.

Resident “Mofessor” Jackson Davies had this to say: “Obviously, it’s a fabulous charity, and the awareness is a very important part of it. I’ve always been a Movember kind of guy. Once you become follicle-ly challenged, you get as much hair as you can.”

While the annual event is one that is quite humourous in nature, Movember Canada, the organization officially sponsoring the event, is quick to note that prostate cancer takes a real toll on individuals and families. The website notes that 1 in 7 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer – and that 90 per cent of cases are curable if detected in their earliest stages.

Andrew Fergusson, reflecting on how it has affected his family, says, “Cancer can hit anyone. Prostate, pancreatic; the below the belt cancers are usually only found at stage three, and by then it’s usually too late."

// Ben Spieler, Writer
// Illustration by Samantha Thompson

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