Standort: / Meldung: "A Month of Mustaches"

Johnny Bliss

Disorderly artist, journalist, and late night moderator, with a fetish for microphone-based hooliganism.

31. 3. 2010 - 12:16

A Month of Mustaches

Icelandic men looking considerably retro.

Reykjavik in Spring

© Johnny Bliss, 2010

I mean, they always looked somewhat retro, but in a different way...

This month, I went to Reykjavik, the capital city of Iceland. I thought I was just here to see some live music and a volcanic eruption. Little did I know that I was actually here to become more aware of prostate cancer.

It all started when I realized that everywhere I looked were men with thick porn star-style mustaches right out of the 1980s. While there can be no doubt that said era never truly died (at least not in Europe), it seemed to be a bit more prevalent than usual.

The Mustache Men.

I found a group of heavily mustachioed guys hanging out at a local coffee shop. Say hello to Siggi, and several friends with extremely complicated names I was unable to pronounce.

Siggi Iceland with Mustache

Johnny Bliss, 2010

"We take part [in Mustache March] as a cancer thing in Iceland," he tells me rather drunkenly.

One of his friends is more articulate: "It's all over," he says, "like a charity project, people growing mustaches out through March, collecting for men with cancer. You could see it throughout the month, it got more visible as the days passed. Almost everybody has it."

As soon as I shut off my microphone, a third guy confides in me that his decision was more stylistic than out of concern over prostate cancer.

"I just decided to take this chance to not shave, and see what happened," he said. "I've always wanted to see what would happen if I would not shave for some time."

But where does this come from? And where is it going?

"Some really cool marketing guy had a good idea and it really worked," another fellow pipes in. "There's been this big drive for breast cancer with women, but there hasn't been a corresponding drive for guys. It's a combination of peer pressure and a really good idea."

Earnest Mustache

Johnny Bliss, 2010

Do you think you'll keep the mustache?

"I don't know. It can be really a pain sometimes, when you get food or cream and then it's caught in your mustache, and then on top of that I think of prostate cancer. I wouldn't want this for longer than a month!"

I asked some of the mustachioed men I'd met to provide me with a web site address for the Mustache March campaign, which they dutifully gave to me in writing. (Unfortunately it will not do you much good if you don't speak Icelandic, but here it is.)

More interesting to non-Icelandic listeners and readers: a nearly identical campaign takes place in Canada, Australia, South Africa, the United States, Britain, and Ireland, every year in November.

The project is called Movember, and it also aims to raise awareness of prostate cancer, and funding to help fight it.

Whichever of the two months you choose to celebrate, look at it this way: there are certainly much tackier reasons to grow a mustache.