Tag Archives: men’s health

Health Week: My Many Faces

Moustache Week: Faces

I don’t know about you, but my moustache-growing efforts for Movember have put me in a mind to reminisce about the different kinds of facial hair I’ve had over the years.

I’ve done a lot with my face since I first started getting a beard in junior high: I grew out my sideburns to play Elvis in a musical in high school. I sculpted a Johnny Depp-esque goatee so I could be Jack Sparrow one Halloween (I know, I know—who didn’t?). I cultivated some Victorian muttonchops for my masquerade wedding (I know, I know—who didn’t?).

In fact, every depiction in today’s accompanying illustration is a real style I’ve sported. Yes, that includes the Wolverine sideburns, the half-face beard (I only had that for one evening, and surprisingly few people noticed—or were willing to admit they’d noticed), the bald-with-a-‘stache combo, and the bleached-white look, which a stylist did for me for Christmas for free one year when I was playing Santa for a bunch of kids at my wife’s work. The bleaching process took two days, and when I was just halfway through, my long hair and full beard were a buttery yellow. I looked like a harvest god or like I should be in the corner of an antiquated map near the compass rose, blowing ships toward the place that says, “Here be monsters.” I was scary looking.

I take a lot of pride in my ability to change my facial hair at will, and it’s something I hope my son will someday be able to do as well. I already mentioned this in my introduction to him on this blog, but I enjoy shaving, and I look forward to teaching him how to maintain anything from a bare face to a full beard someday, depending on his preference.

Well, his preference and his growing ability. To that end, I hope he takes after my side of the family—at least for the facial hair side of things. I also hope that, for the rest of his body, he doesn’t take after me at all. I’m pretty well covered, if you get what I mean. It’s like that scene in Jaws when Richard Dreyfuss opens his shirt to bare his chest and Roy Scheider says, “You’re wearing a sweater.” But from the back.

I also also hope that I’ll be around to see my son grow his first goatee or moustache or whatever he chooses. This Movember has put me in a mind to think not just about hairs of faces past, but about my health for the future.

In researching the roots of this month-long men’s-health-awareness-and-fundraising effort, I learned that testicular cancer is most common in young and middle-aged men, which—at 34 years old—is a category into which I fall. Cancer.org reports that about half of all testicular cancer cases are in men between the ages of 20 and 34. I apparently have about a 1 in 270 chance of getting it in my lifetime (and a 1 in 5,000 chance of dying from it). Those are pretty good odds—but if you’ve been reading this blog with any sort of regularity, you’ll know that I’m a worrier, so odds don’t really matter to me.

There’s a self exam I recently learned about—it involves a shower, a thumb and fingers, and a familiarity with, well, the typical lay of the land down there—but I’ll spare you any more details. If you’re a guy and you’re older than 20, though, it might be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specifics. And to roll with them about once a month. You know, for your future, too.

Sorry if this post got a little graphic, especially since I started by mentioning how hairy I am and literally went south from there. I should warn you, though, that I’ve set aside this whole week to talk about Movember and its focus on testicular cancer, prostate cancer, and mental health, so it might not be pretty.

Hopefully, though, it will be good.

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Fright Week: Back Up, Mr. DeMille

Fright Week: Back Up, Mr. DeMille

I was up late last night playing Dungeons and Dragons (I’m just a level 2 bard, so don’t think I’m all hardcore or anything), so I decided to sleep in this morning.

Except, of course, I didn’t clear that with my son, who woke up at 6 and didn’t believe my wife and me when we told him it was still the middle of the night. It was dark out, so we thought we had a shot.

As the day brightened and the sun eventually came up, I realized that I neglected to post a pic of my freshly shaven face yesterday, the first of November/Movember. So here it is, freakishly close, to preserve some of the mystique of what I actually look like when I’m not a dimorphic-eyed doodle (for those of you who don’t know).

Wife, if you’re reading this, you can pretend I’m coming in for a kiss. Enjoy it while you can, as the stubble’s about to get painful.

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Fright Week: Freaky Friday: A Close Shave

Fright Week: Freaky Friday: A Close Shave

I don’t like to be clean shaven.

I also don’t like to walk around with just one style of facial hair for too long.

So I’ll cycle through a full beard, then a goatee, then a moustache, then all-over stubble, then whatever. My facial hair grows pretty quickly, so I don’t have to wait long for a new look.

But even a short wait with a bare face makes me uncomfortable—and not just because I need something there to define my jawline. Fluctuating facial hair is a big part of who I am. I deliberate over what to do with my razor almost as much as I do in choosing my underwear.

I’m rarely ever without sideburns or a soul patch at the very least. (I’m rarely ever without underwear, either. Rarely.)

So to be clean shaven on Nov. 1 is no small deal. I’ve watched other guys participate in Movember before, and I’ve always wanted to join in, mostly for the unspoken camaraderie, the connection built by a commonality: in this case, moustaches.

If you don’t know, Movember is a means of raising awareness of—and money for—men’s health, primarily when it comes to prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental issues. The organized effort encourages men to grow a moustache (there are rules for the parts of the face to which it can and can’t spread) throughout November, making for an increasingly obvious facial statement that will hopefully prompt questions of the “Why would you ever willfully decide to wear a moustache?” variety. Then we can answer, “Well, I’m glad you asked.” And then we can talk about prostates, and why they’re awesome, and why everybody who wants a functioning and healthy one should have a functioning and healthy one.

Participants can also garner pledges, like my kids recently did (in theory) for a jog-a-thon at their school. Oops.

Despite the fact that I recently sold a car of ours that we no longer needed, I am not a salesperson. Money makes me uncomfortable, mostly because I don’t understand it. So I’m not going to do a huge pitch to get you to put up cash in exchange for me doing something I frequently do anyway. If you want to, though, that’s great. You can check out my Movember page, where you’ll find plenty of details.

Since I’m new to this dad blogging thing—though I don’t really feel like a dad blogger, per se—I also recently joined a dad bloggers group called “Dad Bloggers.” They’ve got a Movember team going (called “Dads/Bloggers”), and I just sort of invited myself to join. Actually, they put out a call for participants, but I still fell like I sort of snuck in.

My surreptitious decision hasn’t been great for my face, however, since I just shaved everything off less than a week ago for the sake of my Halloween costume: the magic mirror from Disney’s Snow White. I’ve got a healthy layer of stubble going now as I write this at 11:15 on Halloween night, but I’m anticipating pain tomorrow morning (this morning, as this post goes live—like time-travel magic!) when I scrape it all off my face again, just six days later.

There will be blood, I’m sure, which is the tangential reference to today’s Freaky Friday doodle. My 6-year-old likes blood. If I remember correctly, she said this while drawing someone bleeding, and apparently needed to focus intently as she eroded her red crayon down to nothing.

I’ll be posting about my moustache progress throughout the month, and next week’s theme will likely be devoted to Movember and/or facial hair and/or men’s health on the whole, but to get an early jump-start on that, allow me to ask: What do you think of facial hair? How about moustaches in particular?

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