Starting in Australia, and New Zealand, there's now a fairly large international group of people who call this month 'Movember', and refuse to shave the bit of their face below the nose, and above the mouth for the 30 days. The movement has now spread to Canada, the US, the UK, Spain and Ireland, hopefully there'll be moustaches cropping up all over the globe.
There is a reason for all this... down under November was already 'Men's health awareness month'. Without detracting from the importance of breast cancer, women's reproductive health and wellbeing, and all the other various facets of women's health which were all too painfully ignored until recent decades, it's also worth noting that men suffer from some pretty nasty medical conditions themselves, and often need their own brand of gender-specific care. In addition to breast cancer (which is often forgotten about in men), men also get prostate cancer at an alarming rate (every year 4,300 Canadian men die of prostate cancer), testicular cancer, erectile disfunction and depression.
To quote from the movember website:
"However we look at it, men are far less healthy than women. The average life expectancy for men is five years less than women (presently 77 compared to 82).
Of the 15 leading causes of death among Canadians, men lead women in 14 of the causes. Men are 30% more likely to get cancer, than women, and 55% more likely to die from it. Men's suicide rate is four times higher than that of women. "
Specific to younger men is the problem of testicular cancer (the most common cancer among young men), depression (more women report being depressed yet more men kill themselves), and road accidents (accidents are the second biggest killer of young men).
Men also have this nasty habit of not getting medical conditions looked at, prefering instead to just tough it out. It's just not viewed as 'manly' to go and see the doctor about erectile dysfunction and prostate concerns. This'll only change after a considerable amount of public education... and movember is an important part of this. During movember, people can donate money to encourage a moustache, and this money will all go to various men's health organisations.
I, for one, will be sporting a moustache for the month - there's considerable excitement in the lab I'm in to see what style I'll run with (at the moment I'm leaning toward the 'gripper', but might just sport the classic 70's mo). I'd urge some other people to register on the site, and try to raise some money for men's health.