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Alexander has been contributing for THS for over a year! While he attained a major in communications at SFU, he also recieved a minor in Psychology. Despite those accomplishments, Alex has also never had a full cup of coffee (crazy right?!). Alex is a lifelong sports fan and will defend his Seattle Seahawks to the death, especially if faced against a 49er fan. While Alex's long-term goal is to become a marriage counsellor, he also has a strong passion towards writing that he looks forward to exploring.

Movember: My Moustache Was The Only Thing That Grew on Me!

Credit: Movember USA

This month, our male writers took part in Movember—the 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. By challenging our writers to grow their moustaches in support of raising awareness for men’s health issues, we want to get the conversation going and spread the news on the global organization’s commitment to changing the face of men’s health.

When I was a child, my Dad had a fantastic silver (okay grey!) moustache. Oh man I would think, one day I too am going to grow that and it might not even be grey! I would turn on the television show to watch COPS, only to be taken aback by the fact that damn near every cop had one killer stash. A job requirement I am sure to do a job that requires occasional feats of badassery. When I was in Grade 10 my want deepened as I decided to dress up as Ron Burgundy for my acting class. Yet before I stepped on stage, I needed to go and buy a paper moustache for the costume. As it fell off my face and to the floor mid-performance I was convinced that one day I would avenge my paper friend!

So it was with great anticipation that I decided to tell Tania, my Editor, that I would do Movember! And as I sit here on the 26th, I can look in the mirror and say “Hey! That’s noticeable!” and while that might not seem like a lot, that is about as big a win as I could hope for. Yet does noticeable mean good? And how long did it take to get to this painstaking conclusion? Well, we’re going to find out! Grow with me dear reader as my moustache did and learn about the mental task I had set across from myself.

The first week is one of the worst they say. Everything starts coming in a bit patchy, you look around to make sure other people are still doing it and overall need to prepare yourself for a very vulnerable week! For me the first week wasn’t too bad. But that could also be because nobody mentioned my moustache—like at all. This was a feeling I knew all too well. Let me take you back in time dear reader, to last November 21st, 2013. I was in the hall with my ‘Movembro’ when a friend came up to us and stated “Hey nice Moustache, James!…Oh Alex…are you doing Movember too?”. Little did my friend know the painstaking process the past 21 days had been. Do you know how much of a mental strain it is to actively have something on your face that you KNOW makes you less attractive? It’s like trying to date but you go to pay and all you have is monopoly money…just no way to keep your cool!

But this is not tale about past Alex, because maybe in the last 365 days my body had learned to handle a moustache. I watched cop movies, I bought a moustache comb, and I got used to the feeling of stroking my face as I walked in the door to work on the 3rd day of November. Now I’m not saying I had a massive moustache but I was immediately taken aback by my manager sporting something that could have been seen from Philae! I stuttered out “..that….that hasn’t been since the 1st has it?” he replied that it had. Immediately the realization of “Hey Alex, maybe you’re not so good at this” started to sink in. I got nervous, agitated even as I ran to the washroom only to confirm that my moustache was in fact…still there. Could have fooled anybody!

As the 2nd week of November dragged in, I looked at mom and asked her “Hey Mom, how’s my moustache coming along?” She immediately did a double-take. “Oh…it’s nice hunny, I mean it doesn’t like JUMP OUT AT YOU like other people’s, but it’s a good start.” I didn’t know if to be offended or saddened by apparently transparent stash. I would constantly grow some decent manly 5 o’ clock shadow (after y’know like 4 days), only to know I had to constantly be shaving in order to maintain a clean look. While this made my face smooth, it also shot a light beam at the one area that seemed immune from a razor. BUT something was beginning! I could see people at least noticing it! Kwami, a youth I work with, just laughed when I asked about it BUT AT LEAST HE KNEW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT! The real crushing defeat of this month came on the 14th of November after the Canucks lost 4-0 to Arizona.

Ryan Miller, our Canucks goalie, was doing an interview sporting a nice thick and burly stash. I was taken aback, while it may have been a personal victory just having my moustache noticed, it was clearly no match for a professional’s! Immediately I took a scan of the room around me. Those who were clean shaven, I can respect: They know what works for them, and they aren’t stashing out. To others? Beards, moustaches, fun looks, manly looks, it was all here! A very evident benchmark of “Hey look what these guys can do in 14 days”. I implored online, asking a popular app ‘Thumb’, if I should shave. Of 162 votes? 89%, or 150 people, stated it was time for me to say goodbye to my hairy friend. I had several comments raging from “Huh? Where?” to “It’s too weak, wait until you’re more mature”, little did they know I was only halfway through.

2 weeks in

The 3rd and final week I was rearing to go! I figured at this point everybody would at least know my moustache was visible and thus I would start raking in the compliments or at least some comments. I went to the Blarney Stone and had a gentleman ask me for some napkins. I obliged before he noticed we both had moustaches, “HEY WE’RE MOVEMBRO’S MANNNNN”…”Yes…yes we are”  “..Since the 1st?” “……Yes”. The fact that people had to ask that instills a lack of confidence but that was okay, he was a stranger.

I went to a house party with my close friends and instantly got a “Hey! Keobke! You’re really committing to this, eh? Good for you man”. Not, “Hey buddy, looks good” but a good for me for staying dedicated. I might not have a lot of growth but nobody could question my heart! In this 3rd, and eventually final week, it is becoming evident that there is a light (sponsored by Gillette) at the end of the tunnel. Any plans I was making can be easily pushed to the 1st of December, and I’m starting to pray that my upper lip doesn’t get penetrated by the cold winds in only 5 short days. Shockingly, I went back to Thumb! I added an Instagram filter and of 63 votes (see image below)? Fifty-two people said to keep the moustache! Now I don’t know if that is because people realize I am so close to the end of Movember, but you better believe that is some damn encouraging data!

…Now I just need to find a way to add an Instagram filter to real life.

3 weeks in!

What did I learn from Movember? That’s really hard to say. I have learned that when you are pondering a big question, stroking your moustache makes you look more like an evil villain then any respected scientist. I also learned that it takes me about two weeks to get a noticeable moustache, and thus I could have cheated and started October 16th and nobody would have known! But ultimately this was a journey of self-discovery. And I discovered without a shadow of the doubt, that I just cannot rock the moustache. Even on today, the day of my report where I should feel so much triumph, I find myself looking in the mirror more and longing for a clean face. There may be a day where my moustache grows strong and free, commanding attention from people of all ages, but it is not this day! Maybe I will have better luck next year!

Did you take part in Movember? Let me know how your month went in the comments below.

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  1. Movember Round-Up! | The Hudsucker - November 28, 2014

    […] Alex Keobke: Movember – My Moustache was the Only Thing That Grew on Me! When I was a child, my Dad had a fantastic silver (okay grey!) moustache. Oh man I would think, one day I too am going to grow that and it might not even be grey! CONTINUE READING… […]

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