Building ‘Mo’ Community

Editor’s note: what lies below is an adapted version of the Movember form letter. All of us, in some way, have been touched – in a bad, bad way – by cancer.  And, the thing is, men don’t pay particularly good attention to or raise particularly good awareness about their health. That was until a group of men from Adelaide, Australia conceived the idea of Movember. If you are passionate about a man in your life, I encourage you to read-on and get involved. Because, at the end of the day, moustaches really, really build community!

Our Friend Mr. Kitchener wants YOU to donate to the Movember Movement!

Our Friend Mr. Kitchener wants YOU to donate to the Movember Movement!

Good day good friends.

I have decided to join a global movement that is bringing much needed attention to prostate cancer.  I’m doing this by growing a Moustache this Movember, the month formerly known as November. My commitment is to grow a moustache all November (and beyond, depending on how “festive” I want to make the holidays…) and I am hoping that you will support my efforts by making a donation.  The funds raised go directly to Prostate Cancer Canada.

What many people don’t know is that 1 in 6 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer to afflict Canadian men with 25,500 diagnosed and 4,400 dying from the disease each year. Both my grandfathers died of cancer, so this campaign resonates particularly deeply with me.

Facts and feelings  like these have convinced me I should get involved. And, inspired by my father’s perfect/badass ‘stache, I really, really wanted to grow one too (see photos). What do you think? Amazing, I know!!!  Speaking of things that are amazing, here are my three favourite things about moustaches:

  1. They are a natural conversation starter. “Nice Mo,” people say to me on the bus, in my classroom, at a staff meeting, or out at parties. And then things evolve naturally from there!
  2. The flexibility. Whether you go with handlebars or “the pirate” or “rock star” or “businessman” there are a ton of fun and unique ways to grow your mo. And they’re all great in very, very different ways.
  3. Mustaches build community. Men with moustaches are a rare breed these days. The two main growers of the mo are badass-gentleman-scholars like my dad, Geoff, or skinny-jean emo hipsters, the kind who wear ironic t-shirts that say something like “vote” harper. Movember is a time when all men can, for a brief while, join the community of moustaches. This might involve a simple, yet knowing, nod on the bus or a full-blown conversation about the mo’s creepy-factor to a total stranger who could become a new friend. Research shows that the mo builds community!

To get involved and make a donation, you can either:

•    Click this link http://ca.movember.com/mospace/466905/ and donate online using your credit card or PayPal account , or
•    Write a cheque payable to ‘Prostate Cancer Canada’, referencing my Registration Number 466905 and mailing it to: Prostate Cancer Canada, 145 Front Street East, Ste. 306, Toronto, ON M5A 1E3, Canada.

All donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law.

Prostate Cancer Canada will use the money raised by Movember for the development of programs related to awareness, public education, advocacy, support of those affected, and research into the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of prostate cancer. Movember 2

For more details on how the funds raised from previous campaigns have been used and the impact Movember is having please go to http://ca.movemberfoundation.com/research-and-programs/.

Thank you for your generosity.

Kindest regards,

John

PS – until I raise $500 I will keep the moustache on my face; as you can imagine, this will hurt people around me whom I care about the most, such as my lovely Fiance, Michelle – think of them as well, please…

Creepy guys ruin it for everyone

Many of us live in cities. Cities aren’t very much like Merville. They are big, fast paced, only have bears in gay bars, and shun those that wear large yellow gumboots as fashion anomalies. They aren’t a place where everyone knows your name (including an alcholhic mail-man/barfly). They also aren’t really a place where Ms. Jones/Smith/Whatever, who’s lived down your dirt road for as long as you can remember, brings you and all her other neighbours homebaked apple cobbler every Dec 4 of every year like clockwork.

In cities, community seems far harder to come by. It’s very difficult to have a community in a city of 2 million. It’s even trickier when people are constantly moving in and out of homes, too and fro in their jobs, and all the while keep their heads down to divert any potential conversations from their neighbours. Because if you don’t know someone, they could be crazy or worse, creeepy. And the last thing anyone wants is to be locked in a conversation with a crazy and/or creepy person. Because, as a wise man once said: “Creepy guys ruin it for everyone.”

Even in a large neighbourhood like the Drive, it’s tricky to really know anyone outside your circle of friends. Proximity enhances friendships that are already formed but rarely seems to lead to new ones altogether. There’s just too many people who are too temporary.

So how do we build a community in an urban environment? That my friends is the subject for a later post – or perhaps comment?