Sporting a solo mustache is a fairly passé fashion statement, at least in this part of the world. But right now, you may see more mustachioed men than usual—especially if you walk the halls of Gilman’s Upper School. But you’ll need to look fast, because in a few days the clean-shaven norm will again dominate among faculty members at the school.
So, what’s up with the mustaches? It’s Movember, an initiative started in Australia back in 2003 with just a few dozen men who wanted to raise awareness about and funds for men’s health, particularly prostate and testicular cancer. Now it’s a global effort taking place in several countries; in 2011 it raised $126.3 million for the cause—and an untold number of eyebrows.At Gilman, Rob Heubeck, an upper school history teacher and director of instructional technology who lost his father to prostate cancer several years ago, spearheaded a Movember movement among his colleagues. We caught up to the mustachioed teacher recently to ask about how the inaugural event went.
BF: Why’d you decide to organize this Movember initiative?
Heubeck: I thought that it would be a unique way to bring awareness to men’s health, especially after the October Breast Cancer awareness that has been so successfully adopted. Maybe it’s a man thing, but males tend not to share their stories about dealing with cancer, whether through a direct experience or indirect one.
BF: How do you feel about the response you got from Gilman faculty members?
Heubeck: For a relatively last minute thing, the response has been terrific. Though it would have been nice to have more participation among the male faculty, those that did grew some great mustaches and proudly kept them going the entire month. One of the female members of the faculty, chemistry teacher Loretta Tassoni, showed her support by making felt mustaches for the female members of the faculty to pin on their clothes.
BF: A mustache may not seem like a huge statement to make. On the other hand, you don’t see mustaches much these days. Can you estimate the number of people who asked you about yours this past month?
Heubeck: Outside of Gilman, I’d say around 25 to 30 asked. It’s kind of a tongue-twister to say “It’s for Movember” but I usually followed it with cancer awareness. Not many people know about Movember but it’s certainly catching on and just this morning I had a faculty member tell me that when he went to visit his son for the holidays, unbeknownst to him, the son was growing one as well.
BF: There are fewer people in the “after” picture than in the “before” picture you supplied. Why?
Heubeck: Wives, girlfriends, impatience, and a recent discovery that perhaps a stage of puberty was missed.
Full disclosure from author: I bravely endured a month of my husbands’ Movember ‘stache, and even grew to like it a little.