Councillor Josh Matlow

Toronto Star: To shave or not to shave: the end of Movember conundrum

November 30, 2011


Tyler Bozak, like thousands of men across the GTA, now faces a hair-razing decision.


Movember is over and all those moustaches, grown in the name of prostate cancer awareness and fundraising, await their fate.


Is it time to emancipate the upper lip and mow down the manliness? Or should men listen to their inner Tom Selleck, look in the mirror and proudly fib: “You know I actually look pretty good in a ’stache. I think I’ll keep it on.”


For Bozak, the Maple Leafs centre, the decision, like the wispy fluff sprouting below his visor, is a little fuzzy.


He’d love to get rid of the shadow on his lip. The 25-year-old is frankly a little embarrassed by his failed attempt at facial hair — teammate Luke Schenn calls it a “creepy teen ’stache” — but statistics don’t lie. With the new mo came mo goals, six in the month, four in the three games before Wednesday.


“I’m not really fond of the way it looks, but things have been going well for myself and the team,” Bozak says. “I’m not usually superstitious but I might keep it for a little bit and see what happens.”


Bozak is a rarity. Many men feel the best-before date on their new whiskers is Dec. 1. If the men don’t shave them off, their significant others may be a hairbreadth from doing it for them.


Apart from growing weary of being called Super Mario and Groucho Marx, Toronto councillor Josh Matlow says he is looking forward to a marital détente once he can feel the tingle of after shave on his upper lip.


“My wife has always been unimpressed by moustaches,” he notes. “And she reminds me daily, if not hourly, about how awful I look.


“Let’s just say she’s been incredibly supportive of the cause, but it’s been a long, cold and lonely month.”


TSN broadcaster Jay Onrait, who is adhering to station policy and will remove his facial hair, noticed his moustache had a similar chilling effect on romance.


“Maybe back in 1982 when Tom Selleck was at his peak, women were on board with moustaches,” he says. “But I can unequivocally say right now, that is no longer the case.


“It was not lucrative in the female department in any way, shape or form.”


There can be some logistical awkwardness to the temporary moustache trend as well. Mississauga software salesman Andrew Ratchford, for example, says his wife urged him to remove his new growth so as to not spoil the photos with the couples’ new baby. And there are undoubtedly countless wedding party pictures that will appear a touch odd when the proofs come back.


And what about men who proudly wear a mo the other 11 months of the year? The likes of former Leafs great Wendel Clark and NDP Parliamentarian Peter Stoffer shaved off their trademark ’staches and grew them anew to support the cause.


“It started off somewhat cold,” Stoffer, who’d worn a moustache for about four decades, told the Star’s Susan Delacourt. “It felt like I had Novocaine on my lip. I didn’t realize that I actually had lips, you know.


“The next day I had a coffee after I shaved myself and I spilled the coffee all over myself.”


But MoBros have embraced the Movember movement in growing numbers. As of Wednesday evening, about 246,000 Canadians had registered on the official website and raised more than $36 million. That’s up from the 119,000 registrants in 2010 who raised $22.3 million.


More than half of the Leafs got on board — including coach Ron Wilson, who is known for bristling but not for his bristles. Wilson, who has grown comfortable with his moustache, says he flirted with the idea of letting the Twitter-verse decide whether he’ll keep it. But, he adds, it will be up to his wife Maureen to make the call.


“If she says it stays, it stays. Or if it’s ‘goes,’ it goes. We all have someone we have to answer to, right.”


“In general, guys can’t wait to get rid of them,” says Schenn, calling his own scant moustache “gross and disgusting.”


Bucking the trend and putting the razor aside is MP Justin Trudeau. Beyond a desire to keep the conversation about men’s health issues alive, he says he’s “grown quite attached” to his first-time moustache and would like to see what it looks like with another month of growth to fill it in.


“If everyone is shaving off their moustaches, I like to be a contrarian,” he says. “I’ll keep it until my wife no longer allows me to. It’s that simple.”


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