Here's to Men's Health in Movember
Oct 27, 2015 11:00AM
By Brandi Barnett
'Tis the Season to MovemberNovember 2015
By Jordan Venema
In 2003, two Australian mates were chatting over beers about the regrettably lost art of the moustache. These gentlemen had the great idea, like so many are prone while quaffing pints, to bring back that forgotten trend. Thirty friends accepted their initial challenge, and for one month, collectively committed to growing the finest, classiest facial hair that ever graced the face of that southern continent – or the faces of those 30 dudes, anyway.
In 2004, the moustache movement grew from 30 participants to 500 – and they raised $50,000 along the way, which was donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Thus was born the Movember Foundation, a portmanteau for moustache and November, the month during which the foundation encouraged men to grow facial hair to promote awareness for men’s health.
Movember has come a long way since 2003, traveling many miles and to other continents, while raising more than $650 million toward 1,000 different programs, ranging from mental health to prostate and testicular cancer.
Basically, these two Aussies turned the moustache into a walking, talking, hirsute billboard for men’s health. And Movember’s message is still growing.
Other than offering an excuse to grow one fantastic moustache, Movember encourages participants to use their emerging scruff as a talking point – for inquiring minds - about men’s health. Also, the November 1 kickoff is a great reminder for men to get that yearly check-up.
Fresno local Tye Featherstone began noticing the resurgence of the moustache a few years back. He had already been in the industry some 20 years – cutting, styling, teaching, you name it – but “for the last three or four years,” he says, “I’ve been led to open up an old-school barber shop with more of a modern feel.” Eight months ago, he opened The Great American Barber Shop in Fresno, where he is organizing his own Movember fundraiser.
Featherstone was partly inspired by fellow Great American Barber Frank Reiland, who has been hosting Movember events since 2011, when he used to barber at Visalia’s GoldStar Barbershop.
Being a barber, says Reiland, “it’s about community, it’s about looking out for each other, and if I can bring barbers together for a good cause, I’m going to do it.”
“As I started to get to know guys in my chair, I began to put a face to men’s diseases, kids who were diagnosed with testicular cancer, dads that had prostate cancer, guys that are struggling with mental health issues,” explains Reiland.
“It just began to resonate. It just became natural – and I’m going to keep doing this as long as I can.”
So when Reiland moved to the Great American Barbershop, it was just as natural for him to partner with Featherstone and host an even larger Movember event. And there couldn’t be a better-suited location than the Great American Barber Shop, which offers the old school “hot lather back of the neck shaves, the proprietary massage,” and of course, “the hot towel, straight razor shave,” says Featherstone.
On Sunday, Nov. 1, The Great American Barber shop will close shop at 6pm, “like we normally do, and then reopen at 7pm,” explains Featherstone. “We’re going to be doing hot towel, straight razor shaves, because the idea is to start with a clean face for November, and grow it out the entire month.”
While the straight razor shaves will cost the regular $25 per shave, all proceeds will go to the Movember Foundation. The event will last until 10pm, and Featherstone hopes to shave at least 30 faces.
But Movember isn’t just straight razor shaves and clean faces. Firestone Brewery is donating 805, which will be served free to legal-aged patrons, and DJ Savage from Visalia will spin his tables. “He does a full genre,” says Featherstone, “but he’ll do a little bit of soul, some blues, some rock ‘n’ roll.”
"Honestly, we just want to bring people in and get them interested in the Movember event,” says Featherstone. “Basically, just get them on board to start November 1, to get their physical, and make sure they’re healthy.”
If you miss the event but notice the surfeit of facial hair on the faces of your peers, understand that these men are not just lightning rods for fashion, but also ambassadors of men’s health.
Do your part, men and women – grow out whatever hair you choose, and style it however you like. And for those moved by Movember, Featherstone encourages them to celebrate at the end of the month at a location to be determined and shared on his website. “We’ll have awards for the best moustache, the worst moustache, the I-couldn’t-grow-a-moustache.”
And yes, there will be prizes, he says – if growing an attractively styled moustache isn’t already a prize in itself
The Movember Foundation • www.movember.com
Great American Barber Shop • (559) 412-4339
9595 N. Sommerville Drive #102, Fresno
Monday-Friday, 9am-8pm; Saturday, 9am-7pm; Sunday 10am-6pm
Kick-off & Shave Party Nov. 7-10pm