menacing-bearded-man-angryNote: Comments are mine, unedited, and at times… stream of conscious. Not everything is researched as well as it could be. A lot is based on impression and what I have seen. So I expect people to complain about minutiae more than the spirit behind this posting. I do welcome ALL comments. I will respond to as many as I can. I will potentially disagree… or I may say, quite frankly… I didn’t see it that way. But I have a strong feeling on this and I need to put it out there, even if nobody reads it.

It is November, or as several misguided people are calling it Movember.

From Wikipedia: Movember (a portmanteau from moustache and “November”) is an annual event involving the growing of moustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer and other male cancers, and associated charities. The Movember Foundation runs the Movember charity event, housed at The goal of Movember is to “change the face of men’s health.”

I appreciate the fact that an organisation has decided to be YA (yet another) point of donation for Cancer research. Granted, like many of these organisations of late there are several immediate issues.

  1. Operating costs temper the amount that goes for research The American Cancer Society took in just shy of 1 (B) Billion dollars; over 25% went back into Management and Fund Raising.
  2. The average participant is in it for the coolness factor and not for the donation. This seems like an over generalisation but during this month, walk around your office. See how many men are growing their moustaches and ask them about it. How many really want to talk about Cancer? How many have made a donation? You may be upset to find out. And I’ve done this in past offices. The numbers are worse than some of the charities.
  3. We’ll get back to how this is a spin-off of Breast cancer month and my issues with that.
  4. And the thing that pisses me off more than anything about Movember

What kind of an ass thinks the best way to gain awareness for Cancer is to GROW hair?!?!

In the case of Movember, they are very clear about the rules (but not about what the Administrative expenses are.)

  1. Once signed up a “Mo Bro” must begin the 1st with a clean-shaven face.
  2. For the entire month each “Mo Bro” must grow and groom a moustache
  3. Don’t fake it. No beards, no goatees, no fake moustaches
  4. Use the power of the Moustache to create conversations about men’s health and to raise funds for prostate cancer, testicular cancer and mental health.
  5. Each “Mo Bro” must conduct himself like a true gentleman…

Let’s start with the spectacle of charity.
In Judaism Maimonides points out that one of the highest forms of charity is:

“…to give to the poor without knowing to whom one gives, and without the recipient knowing from who he received. For this is performing a mitzvah solely for the sake of Heaven. This is like the “anonymous fund” that was in the Holy Temple. There the righteous gave in secret, and the good poor profited in secret. Giving to a charity fund is similar to this mode of charity, though one should not contribute to a charity fund unless one knows that the person appointed over the fund is trustworthy and wise and a proper administrator, like Rabbi Chananyah ben Teradyon.”

Of course not everyone is Jewish, and (at least Orthodox) Jews aren’t supposed to shave… So I guess the attitude of not making spectacle really doesn’t hold water for most. However, this pervasive attitude towards, “Show me something in support” tends to show up as “Wear Jeans if you support, foo” in High Schools. So, whoever didn’t get the memo and wore jeans has just been labeled as ‘in support.’ And when that is “Teach the Christian Bible in our school” maybe you would have preferred not to.

But lets talk about the growing of hair for raising awareness for Cancer patients. Simply, it misses the boat. 100%. How many people have I seen die from cancer? One. How many people have I seen die from cancer? One TOO MANY. Let me tell you… growing hair and conducting themselves like true gentlemen? It’s not on their list. If you want to raise the topic of cancer… let’s shave everything. Including body hair. (And as a very furry man, I know what that would entail) And that means all of it. Or if you like, leave a few clumps. Then try reducing your diet down to about 200 calories a day. People see the happy, fun side of Cancer… Except when people talk about a lost loved one… But those are just stories. It can’t be as bad as they make it out to be.

One of the most supportive things I have seen for a recovering cancer patient is when friends and family shave their heads in support. This isn’t for discussion. This is to show the human being recovering person that they are loved, and should not feel embarrassed or ashamed. Because as corny as it sounds, love and support go further in recovery than ostracisation and embarrassment.

Cancer is a disease. Not a theme. Many of these people have lost parts of themselves in the hopes that they won’t lose more… like their lives. They pray for the words ‘benign’ and ‘remission’. But in the meantime as “Bro’s” once again stand up and say ‘what about us. We’re downtrodden too.’ Lest we forget Breast Cancer; or what has become the pink ribbon brand that far too many refer to as “Save the Boobies”

But this time, instead of being told to grow hair, now we are painting the disease in Pepto-Bismo pink. (I suppose at least this is closer to the cause because Pepto is designed to curb vomiting which for the cancer patient is pretty much the norm. Honestly, if you want a good colour, perhaps vomit olive and beige might be best. But that’s not exactly pretty and of course this isn’t women’s health; it’s more about ‘the pretty.’ (By the way, pink ribbons… stolen from a woman in 1979 who (inspired by the Tony Orlando song) tied ribbons around trees in the hopes that she would see her husband again who had been taken hostage in Iran. So, the next time you see a ribbon… it originally meant, “will I see you again?”

The ribbon isn’t the problem so much as “Once again” it’s using pink and branding the movement, not helping the women who are suffering, losing so much, and dying. Breast cancer awareness is more about getting people talking about Breast cancer than doing something about it and from a high percentage of actual people suffering from Cancer; it’s really not about their welfare. There are some excellent articles
– Wikipedia’s reference on “Breast Cancer Culture”
– – Save the women not the Boobies
– – The NFL’s Campaign Against Breast Cancer is a Total Scam

For as much as a man may be embarrassed to have to be bald. Women are not afforded the same social grace to be a recovering victim of cancer. Women are encouraged to hide behind wigs because the appearance is more important than the educating of others. And the worst part of all are the throngs of people so insistent on saving the boobies, that the numbers of people who a repulsed or push away a woman who has had to lose a breast. It was said that a fetish is having something one needs to be aroused. It is a sad concept to know the number of people who have breast fetishes.

Do I speak for any person who suffers from any cancer? No. Do I have any idea what it’s like to suffer from Cancer? No. But what I will do is see through the morass of pathos avoiding commercialism and put my money and time where it will do the most good.

So this year as you put away your pink… In Pittsburgh, there is a fountain downtown at Gateway Center where the water is tinted pink. I often joke that the irony is that the squirrels are likely getting cancer from the dyes. As you trade in your pink for moustache wax…

Stop, and consider just donating the money, spending time helping someone who is suffering or recovering from Cancer. And make the conversation about the people and the disease… and not about seeing pink-soled cleats, buying overpriced merchandise that donates 10 cents on the dollar, or how handlebars really will impress the gals.

I for one… will not be shaving for Movember. But I will shave for a loved one, a friend, or coworker, or just someone who needs the support and kinship. I am fortunate… I grow a full beard in 3 days. I do not have breasts; I have a working prostate and working testicles. There are others who have so much beyond what they are losing or have lost. Make them see what is left that is fortunate so that they don’t spend time suffering.


Dearest Chris… I gladly came to you in the hospital even though at the time the sight of dying scared me nearly to paralysis. At your service I cried for at least 15 minutes. I loved you in my heart more that I could ever communicate and more than you’d ever believe. I see your smile in my heart sometimes when I look in the eyes of my son who carries your name in remembrance.

I wish you’d had the medical coverage and care that would have detected this before it was too late. I’m glad that so many of your friends were around to keep a smile on your face for as long as we could. The number of people who shaved their heads for you; the number of clergy that you taught and guided who wanted to be the one to deliver you communion from masses.

I miss you so much.

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