From Men’s Health
I ONCE SPENT three weeks in my early 20s actively trying to increase the fullness of my beard. My plan did not involve taking supplements or applying creams, but more drastic measures: a steady diet of scotch and Clint Eastwood movies.
Despite all the Macallan single malt and Dirty Harry, my beard didn’t grow any fuller—sideburns still disconnected, hairless patches still dappling my face.
So I shaved off my “beard,” and figured, hey, maybe everything would grow in by my 30s.
Then this thing called Movember started to take off. Although the initiative began in 2003, it wasn’t until 2009 that the organization’s partnership with Livestrong helped push Movember into the U.S. mainstream.
Some of my friends were growing mustaches around that time, but more for the novelty, it seemed, than for raising awareness and money for prostate cancer prevention, one of Movember’s now-many causes. Even if I had wanted to join them, whatever the motivation, I felt like I couldn’t. I was facial hair challenged, scotch whisky be damned.
It took me 12 years before I decided to challenge my fate (Do you feel lucky, punk?) again, when Men’s Health Digital Director Mike Darling asked me in September of this year if there was anything I wanted to contribute to Movember efforts.
I can contribute that I can’t contribute, I told him. Raising awareness about men who can’t grow a mustache for Movember would be my story. I’d conduct my experiment during the month of October so that I could have the results ready to by the start of Movember.
Mike liked the idea, but Mike was probably just happy he didn’t have to grow a mustache for Movember. Who I really needed to like my idea was my wife, Meghan.
So I did the smart thing and marked October 1 on our shared Google Calendar with the notification “START GROWING A MUSTACHE” and then avoided the topic until late September. It was a nice night and the family was in a good mood. We had just finished dinner on our back patio when I broke the news.
It’s not that Meghan is staunchly anti-beard. She’s just staunchly anti my beard, which she refers to affectionately as “patchy bullshit.” If I don’t shave for a few days, I’ll notice that she’ll curl her lip and draw back her face when I attempt to kiss her. It’s her way of saying, “I love your insides, but your outsides are currently grotesque.”
And her opinion on mustaches, specifically?
“Ah GOD, are you kidding me?” she said that late-September night. “A whole month? You’re kidding me, right? Can you even grow a mustache? It’s going to look terrible. You’re kidding. I know you’re kidding. I’m not going to kiss you, you know that? Are you okay with us not kissing for an entire month?”
I had already elected to do it, and I was determined to make the best of