It’s No Shave November. What you say, you’ve never heard of No Shave November? Neither had I. As a matter of fact, when my 16 year old son, Little Man, told me that he was participating in NSN, I thought it was something to do with Cross Country (running). The season just ended and the entire Varsity squad shaved their heads. Thankfully (not really), Little Man was not on Varsity this year; he would look like war survivor with no hair. However, I figured that not shaving their faces, must go with shaving their heads. Makes sense, if you think about it in a high school aged boy kind of way.
When I asked Little Man what it was, first he said: “Everyone knows what No Shave November is Mom.” Well, clearly I’m not everyone. Or, maybe it’s a secret guy thing? “No Mom.” (Translation: Duh Mom. I can’t believe I have to tell you this) He continued. “It has to do with men’s cancer.” What kind of cancer? “Uh, just cancer… All cancers… Men’s cancers.” I looked at him skeptically. Men’s cancers? “It’s just fun! I’m doing it for fun.” Oh. Well, no shaving for a month? “I know, I’m getting a perv stache already; I’m going to look ridiculous.” For fun. I kept that to myself.
So we’re nine days into November and Little Man has the dreaded per stache. You don’t know what a perv stache is either? That one I got a few years ago. Goes with the territory of raising “boys to men.” Technically, a perv stache is facial hair that makes a guy look like a “perv,” aka: a pervert. If you think about it: in so many of the mug shots of sex offenders and “perverts,” they have thick moustaches or beards, that they can then be shaved off if officials are looking for them. If you’re still wondering what that looks like, here are some images (If you scan the images, you too can see the true pervness of the term. You too may also wonder why there’s a picture of Miley Cyrus with all those pervs). It was no great leap for teen boys to correlate thin facial hair to offenders and then call it a perv stache. Teen boys can nickname anything. So, when a boy grows just enough hair across their upper lip, to cast a shadow or leave a raggedy line, it’s called a perv stache. Little Man has one. Yeah, wonderful image for my sweet kid.
It’s not like Little Man has to shave a lot anyway. When I told Smart Guy that our boy was doing NSN, he said: “Isn’t that kind of pointless? Doesn’t he basically do No Shave August, September, October and November?” I really should just call him Funny Guy. Do you even know what No Shave November is about? I asked Smart Guy, with a side of superiority. No need for him to know that I’d just found out too. “No, should I?” Well yes you should. It’s to bring awareness to Men’s Cancer. “Oh. I’ve never heard of it. What kind of cancer?” No words necessary; a roll of the eyes conveys so much more.
So, of course I Googled “No Shave November.” That’s what I do; I Google. According to Google, the whole thing started in Australia and New Zealand. That makes perfect sense to me, as the Aussies will do just about anything to have bushy fun. Having spent three months there in college, I say that with authority. It took me years to recover from those three months. They are generally fun loving and silly folks in their youth, and thinking up No Shave November just seems so Australian. Initially it was just a fun way to grow facial hair and post silly pictures of yourself. Again, so Australian. There were all kinds of contests to see who would grow the most hair. Then it became linked with prostate and testicular cancer, and eventually awareness of all cancers for men. Way to go Aussies! Primarily, it is still focuses on Prostate and Testicular Cancer, and the entire thing is called No Shave November, or Movember (the blending of moustache and November).
Prostate cancer awareness is a cause I’ve supported for years, while somehow missing this whole no shave thing. Of course, that in itself may be part of the problem with the idea of No Shave November/Movember: not enough people know what it means. There are areas of the country where not shaving in November, simply means that it’s deer hunting season. I know; I lived there. When I see men growing facial hair, I’ve never wondered if it had anything to do with their prostate, and I’m guessing that plenty of others haven’t either. Smart Guy’s a physician and he didn’t know what it was; not a good sign. That’s a problem. If you see a pink ribbon, you know what it means. Women don’t go bralesss for a month, or not shave their legs, to bring a awareness to Breast cancer. Both of those things would get attention, but not the kind desired.
Of course, as is often the case, we don’t always pay attention to things until they effect us directly. However now that I have a perv stache in the house, it’s enough to make a mother Google and hustle to make sense of a situation. I needed to know more about No Shave November. It took some digging, but in the end I found the point of all these hairy faces. NSN lead me to the term Movember and that lead to Men’s cancer. Aha! I have a No Shaver in the house, albeit a p-stacher, for cancer awareness. The more I read, the stupider I felt. How had I not known this? I’ve got “boys to men” in my house; it should have come up sooner. However, as I read light bulbs began to flip on; neurons zapped; and I began to see that I’d missed a few cues along the way. I also missed a couple of blogs along the way.
Another blogger, Clown On Fire was posting about this all last month, as the kick off to an entire blogging movement in support of Movember. In my defense, Le Clown is just too edgy for me. His snark makes my snark look passive.
Often Sometimes I miss the point. When I saw he was doing Movember, I recall skimming some of it and deciding it was another clever venue that I just was not smart enough for, and did not have time for… because I was getting ready for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is also in November, and which I’m participating in. (You can see daily updates of my progress at the Tales From the Motherland Facebook page. While you’re there, hit like. There’s not really a lot to like, but it won’t hurt you to do it anyway.) I thought it was just another blog spin-off. Several bloggers I follow have done that, and honestly it gets to be too much. I can’t follow it all. So, feeling stupid under Le Clown’s Big Top, I stopped looking at the Movember posts and updates way back when he first started posting about it. I missed it all until Little Man told me he was growing facial hair for men’s cancer. Second Duh.
Ironically, Le Clown (of Clown On Fire) just let his readers know that that he did not want trolls on board. There’s another term for y’all, “troll”: bloggers who post negative or inflammatory comments on other blogs to stir things up, or *bloggers who refer to more famous bloggers in their own posts, in the hope of having the famous blogger notice them. For the record, I am not a troll. Either troll. It is true mystical timing that my son grew a perv stache + I figured out what NSN/Movember was, just when the Clown slammed trolls. Personally, I get nervous around Le Clown, so I’m fine not being noticed by him. That said, I did race right back to look at all the Movember stuff he wrote and to try and figure out how I missed the baton. There’s no self-redeeming explanation; I just
skipped missed it. However, when I did read it, I was impressed. So, for the record: I am not sending you his way for personal gain; he just happens to rock the whole Movember thing. If you’d like to learn more about the online movement, check out Clown on Fire’s post: Bloggers for Movember. You can also read his kick off post: Bloggers for Movember Official Kick Off! You will note that Eric Le Clown has upped the ante and linked his Movember efforts to mental health issues for men, as well. As a former social worker, I found this especially meaningful, and that much more groan worthy that I’d skipped reading the posts. Can I hear a third Duh?
(<—No, silly, that is not real facial hair, but it’s the thought that counts!)
It’s interesting what your eyes don’t see, when your brain has taken a holiday. Movember, or No Shave November, is all over the place. It’s in the news, it’s on YouTube, it’s all over the blogosphere (end of post). I just missed it. But like Ebenezer Scrooge or George Bailey, I figured it all out just in time. All’s well that ends well; it’s only November 9th. I learned a few important things; had my ego kicked back to the curb, and now I’m on board too. When I look at Little Man’s chocolate milk stain of a stache I can smile, knowing that he’s a conscientious boy who is doing this for a greater cause. Even if it’s also “fun.” Even if it makes a Mom like me want to spit on my finger and try to rub the smudge on his upper lip—off. Unlike his mother, Little Man at least knew what it all meant, for the most part. No more comments about the stache. No more jokes or scowls. I will not get my lip waxed until December 1st. I’m all in.
If you want to support the cause of cancer and mental health awareness for men, and you support the hard work of bloggers/writers like me, follow the links above for Clown on fire, and there you will find links that welcome your donations. If you thought there’d be a photo of Little Man’s perv stache at the end of this blog; you are not the mother of a teen boy. It’s bad enough that I wrote about this; there is no way that he would pose for publicity. No, you will have to make do with the Google images I’ve provided. No doubt, you will look at teen boys’ upper lips very differently from now.. and that’s just creepy.
Do you have a teen boy who’s not shaving this month? Do you still lick your finger and try to clean things off your kids; and really piss them off in the process? Or, is that so gross that you just decided that there is in fact something wrong with me? “Straight up with a twist,” did you think I was making that up? Or, is he not shaving because there’s nothing to shave? Did you know what NSN and Movember were about? If all these questions don’t move you to comment, nothing will. Share your thoughts. Prove that I was the last one to know.