A month in the life: What growing a tash for Movember is really like

A great look for an ever greater cause


Movember might officially be over for the year, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten all of the hard work that people participating in it have put in. Whether it’s only a few straggly hairs or a full blown tash you will have doubtlessly seen guys up and down through Cardiff growing a moustache in the name of men’s mental health.

As someone that took part in the movement known as Movember, here’s what it’s really like.

As someone that has for the majority of my university career been adorned with strong facial hair, yet never dabbled with the idea of a moustache I felt that it was finally time to give it a go.

On Halloween, I decided to take the chop and for the first time in my life, a moustache was proudly on show. Looking like the love child of the policeman from the Village People and Freddie Mercury I blessed Cathays with the glorious tash.

Something that does go unsaid, however, is the looks you get from not only your fellow students but also members of the general public – great tashes demand attention, what can you do?

By the middle of November, the tash had now lost all comic value and had become slightly more irritating, my friends weren’t even laughing when I said to them, “I had to go now I really moustache.” Comedic gold, but not everyone appreciates a good laugh.

Now what most people don’t tell you about growing a moustache is that, if you have a face like mine, it doesn’t really go with many outfits. It got to the stage where I was wearing Hawaiian shirts just to divert people’s attention from the furry caterpillar on my top lip.

However, what really warmed my heart was that throughout the month a brotherhood of moustachioed men came together. There was a knowing look, handshakes and sometimes even a hug between two blokes in unity raising awareness for men’s health issues.

The final few weeks of November saw the weather plummet and the tash offered a layer of warmth above my lip. By the end of the month, it would be a lie to say that I was upset to see the tash go but I had realised the impact that this had on me. I felt more confident, not only in myself but also in my friends, feeling more able to confide in them when something goes wrong.

The reason for all this, however, is to put a spotlight on the issue of men’s health issues, such as prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and male suicide. The issue that has affected me the most, however, has been my own mental health.

As someone that has struggled with his own mental health issues in recent years, especially in the last few months, this is close to my heart. I have had the fortune of being able to confide in the support network of my family and close friends.

But a lot of men are not as fortunate as this. Many of us are lucky to have support networks, but the stigma around male mental health still takes a lot for a person to open up about their mental health struggles. Often, a lot of us decide to bottle them up rather than letting anyone know that we are vulnerable.

Completing Movember has allowed me to feel more comfortable discussing my mental health with those around me and will have a lasting impact on me as a person. I decided to undertake the growing of the moustache to show solidarity and raise awareness of the men’s mental health crisis that is taking place.

On average men die five years earlier than women, 10.8 million men are diagnosed with prostate cancer and testicular cancer is the most common cancer among young men globally.

I am proud to have been part of a 220,000 strong movement and will 100 percent be taking part next year once again donating to help to fund over 1,250 men’s health projects globally.

Recommended stories by this writer:

• In case you missed it, here’s what some Cardiff societies got up to for Movember

• ‘Map your Baps’: Spice up your run with Cardiff’s Uni Boob Team for a very good cause

• Meet the organisers behind Walk Together Cardiff: A new initiative making the streets safer for students of Cardiff