Tag Archives: Movember

Remember, Remember…

guy fawkes the american londoner

Image taken from englishisallaround.blogspot.com

…The 5th of November. That’s the rhyme that the English use to get schoolchildren to remember that great precedent-setting event of Great Brrritish history: the foiling of a terrorist plot. That’s right. Guy Fawkes celebrates the war on terror, four hundred years old and still going strong.

Okay, okay. It doesn’t just celebrate the foiling of a terrorist plot.

It also celebrates burning Catholics.

So, get your marshmallows out. The fam and I made it out to a community celebration on Saturday to watch some fireworks lit off and what can I say? It was festive, as a lot of these celebrations are nowadays — no longer indelibly connected with morbid origins, they’re now just about getting together with your neighbour, reconnecting and lighting off some pyrotechnic displays, a bit like on the 4th of July, which, by the by, this is the closest the British have to, with mulled wine and flasks of coffee instead of brewskies and hot dogs.

If you’re still confused about what Guy Fawkes Day actually celebrates, have a look at the video below. It’s wildly hilarious and explains the occasion quite concisely while raising some interesting points of comparison with our contemporary political climate.

Enjoy that? Good. As you know from my last post, I’m doing Movember again this year. I’ve already raised £30 because of some very generous donations so far, but I’d like to hit £100 this week. Please click on the link below and donate a fiver to raising awareness of men’s health issues and to the greatness of my tache (it will be great by the end of the month, I tell you). Thanks!

Pete Lawler’s Movember Space 2013 (Click and Give. Make a Difference)

A Month to Make a Difference!

Movember 2012, Me and My Boy

Movember 2012, Me and My Boy

Pete Lawler’s Mo Space 2013

So, I thought I’d sit Movember out this year. I was growing a nice trendy winter beard. I was a bit narcissistically self-conscious of the mature grey parts that have all of a sudden started appearing, but I’d learned to accept and even like my more mature look.

In case any of you don’t know, beards have become the coolest thing since sliced bread. You wouldn’t be caught dead in a trendy place like The People’s Republic of Hackney without looking like a well-groomed Grizzly Adams. I’m sure it’s a similar sartorial situation in your own cosmopolitan urban centers.

I was just starting to get to like the beard look on me. I fancied myself looking a bit DH Lawrence (American intellectual look, don’t ya know). The missus was even starting to tolerate/show a favo(u)rable attitude towards the facial fur.

The American Londoner

Me with with my beard.

Besides, I’d done me bit. Hadn’t I raised £400 last year and over £200 the year before?

That’s an excuse though, isn’t it? It’s a rationalisation. It’s what people say when they mean, “This has nothing to do with me and is clearly not my problem.” I’ve put a dollar in the collection basket. I’ve done my bit. I’ve bought my girl scout cookies. I’ve done my bit. I’ve bought my single source coffee. I’ve done my bit.

But then, walking around one of our quaint little local shopping venues yesterday, seeing bearded models in the window, I started to think, am I just putting my vanity over a cause that is far greater than myself? After all, men have a 14% higher chance of developing cancer than women and a 37% higher chance of dying from it. More than 100 men in the UK are diagnosed with prostate cancer every day. And suicide is the single highest cause of death in men under 35. Given that I’ve raised over £400 in the past (that’s around $640!), isn’t it morally irresponsible not to try to raise awareness of men’s health issues and funds for a great cause? And growing a tache is such a small thing to do to make a significant difference. So, I’m not trying to “big myself” up as the kids these days used to be fond of saying. I could be doing way more. But this is a small thing for just 30 days to make the world a little better.

Besides, the jury on the beard was still very much out. DH Lawrence was stretching it and “tolerating” is not the same as “enamored with”. I can always grow it in December anyway.

So, have a heart, dig deep, click on the link and give. Goal this year is £500 and if just 100 of you gave a fiver (that’s right. A fiver!), that it’d be men’s health that much more better off in 2014. I’ve kicked my tenner in. Go on. Make a difference.

Movember

Oh dear. Clean Shaven and Ready for Movember. Day 1

Time to Stash the Tache: Four Things Movember Taught Me

Movember Day 19

In my last week as a Mustache Merchant

So as the last hours of my second Movember draw to a close and I sharpen my Wilkinsword Sword (a British brand of razors for those raised eyebrows in the house) and lather up, it seems an appropriate time to reflect back on some of the poignant lessons that participating in this phenomenon has taught me that I can take away and use to make myself and the society around me better.

Blackadder #Movember

Blackadder, the British television comedy icon that I was likened to around abouts day 20 (photo taken from blackadder.wikia.com) 

1. Fellas: It’s time to start talking about it. 

I started this month with a post that mentions a very young Irish man who died of a testicular cancer that might well have gone undiagnosed for far too long. But who can blame him? We live in a society in which we are seeing the great renaissance of the ancient Greek value of stoicism. Don’t ask, don’t tell. Especially if it hurts. Bear up and you’re even more of a man. These are the values that we as males are raised with, especially in North America and Western Europe, as was brought home to me in a conversation with a colleague the other day. Said colleague was talking about how her husband had had a scare some years ago, and how ‘men just don’t talk about it.’ How can we? We’re not supposed to. Women get together and if one or even more than one of them has had breast cancer, they talk about it, they swap stories, they share experiences. But what are we supposed to do, whip it out in conversation at the pub? I meant the conversation topic of men’s health, of symptoms experienced, anxiety keenly felt (what did you think I was talking about?) To do so would be seen as an admission of weakness. Or perhaps of our own mortality and by extension, our humanity and therefore a great act of courage. So, whether it’s your disco stick or your meat cleaver, your lincoln log or your trouser snake, we’ve got to start talking more, being uncomfortable less and forming common bonds of support around the issue of health.

David Niven #Movember

David Niven, who I was also likened to around day 18 or so (taken from vivandlarry.com)

2. On that point, get checked out. 

On that point of diagnosis, how tragically awful and wasteful must it be to die not because you have a fatal condition but because you have a condition that, had you had it diagnosed sooner, could have been prevented from becoming fatal? And yet again, colleagues and friends have, because of this issue in the last month, spoken to me about countless cases of men losing one testicle or suffering a much worse fate simply because they didn’t know or didn’t think they needed to get certain irregularities checked out or that those irregularities were worth regular self checking.

I know how nerve-wracking it is. It evokes that great unspoken apprehension that we of the Y Chromosome persuasion all secretly hold: The George Castanza Fear — “What if it moves?” Yes, what happens if my organ, whilst being given the once over by the kindly male doctor, even involuntary… shifts… even in the weakest pulsation of a movement? What could it possibly mean? I admit, it is a legitimate cause for concern that hung like a specter in my head for weeks before the last time I had myself checked out. As it happens, it did not move, but could as easily have done just from the sheer nervousness I felt and the one answer I have come up with for anyone — including myself — that feels the Castanza Fear is an obstacle is that suffering and dying from a preventable and treatable condition is far worse than movement down there under close examination.

Zhivago #Movember

Yuri Zhivago, who I was quite flattered to be compared to by my cousin (taken from interfence.com)

3. Men’s health organisations need money

I know it is true that most charities are crying out for donations all the time, but one of the most surprising facts that I found as I was reading up on Movember’s History was that when Movember fundraisers presented the Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia with a cheque for AUD $54,000 in 2004, it was the largest single amount they’d ever received. No big donors. No great benefactors. It took a bunch of Aussies growing facial hair to bring the under-funding of men’s health to the world. And the continuing phenomenon is proof of both changing attitudes to men’s health and the continuing need to talk up and raise funds for these very serious charities and health organizations, who are still desperately in need of cash.

Magnum #Movember

I was always repulsed by Magnum, PI’s mustache when I was a kid, but my mother would always respond with, “Ah but the ladies like it.” Still not seeing it. (taken from denofgeek.com)

4. Be bold and savvy when fundraising. Save the guilt for when the money’s counted

I raised £208 last year for Movember. I thought If I could do it again this year and raise £300, I’d be doing well, but then the wife said, be bold, why not go for £500? And she was right. It is better to aim for a bold number and miss then aim for a realistically modest number just to be sure and hit the target. At last count my grand total for Movember was £425, which is not too shabby considering it was just about £250 entering the last week of the month. I attribute the success and the slight shortcoming to three things: Pestering, Persisting and making it personal. I put a reminder on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (just for good measure) nearly every day, and any of you keeping up with my Tache page know that I updated that pretty frequently too. There’s an apprehension with some people who don’t want to feel as though they’re being a nuisance. Again, being a nuisance is a small price to pay for preventing suffering, especially since you’re not out in the street trying to get bank details and email addresses and all you have to do is pass on a link. I also sent text and email reminders that were most effective, both on my personal email and my email at work and thanked my donors in a group email or on as much social media as possible. If a person donates, at the very least they have earned the right to have it acknowledged as publicly as possible. All of this hindsight-acquired vision comes with a caveat though: Facebook was useful, Twitter was not. By a long shot, which is odd because I often find Twitter more fun. I sent direct messages to every company that follows me, but the truth is, no one goes on Twitter to give to charity. It is a format that is uniquely suited to the superficial nature of the internet and in-depth appeals for charity seem to fall dead in the water. Better off next year sending personal emails, perhaps even followed up by phone-calls.

Finally, if you feel so inclined, Movember certainly will not turn your money away just because the month is over, please click on the link and donate to a worthy cause. You will be making a huge difference no matter what your contribution.

Pete Lawler’s Movember Page  

#Movemberandsons

My son “liking” my mustache on Facebook. He’s five. 

 

 

 

It’s That Time of Year Again: Movember!

Movember 2011 with with a mustache

My aren’t you a handsome, rakish devil?

Men’s health is a difficult issue. No question. We are supposed to be the sex that stoically soldiers on no matter what sort of pain we’re in. Go to the doctor? Never! I’d much rather bleed it out. That’s what real men do, right?

Wrong. Dead wrong in many cases. I wish I could say that last sentence was merely figurative, but knowing at least one person in my lifetime who might well have avoided a painful and fatal case of testicular cancer has helped to hammer home to me the vital importance of changing the way we think about our health and taking prostate and testicular cancer more seriously.

These are just a few reasons why I’ll be doing Movember again this year. I’m starting out clean-shaven as you can see from my Movember Day One picture here and I’ll be keeping up a Movember section on this blog throughout the month and for a few days in December for any last minute donaters. You can read more about the rules that every Movember participant has to follow here where you will also find inspirational articles and stories about the kinds of work that Movember funds. 

I admit, it’s not running a marathon, but it does hit men at our most vulnerable point: our vanity. And it is also a lot of fun. I enjoy it because it makes me feel a bit World War One Poet and I start to spout Siegfried Sassoon in my sleep by the beginning of December. 

But the more important aspect is that I get to become a living breathing conversation piece that draws attention to and raises money for a good cause, which brings me nicely to my appeal.

I raised £208 (that’s $335 and 258 euro) last year for research and awareness of men’s health issues especially prostate and testiculary cancer, and that was only properly joining late in the game. I reckon with a little effort I can more than double that and raise £500 this year. All I need is for at least 100 of you kind readers to donate at least £5. Not much for a good cause and one that’s not really given due thought and consideration in this day and age. Please be generous, follow the link, and donate. 

Pete Lawler’s Movember Page

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