Frank Reiland isn’t a hipster. Normally, he doesn’t go for the facial hair.
Unless it’s Movember.
“Once a year I’ll grow my mustache out,” says Reiland, a part-time barber and founder of the blog the Barber Collective, which hosts a Movember kick-off and shave party, 8 p.m. Saturday at Goldstar Barber Shop in Visalia.
Started in Melbourne, Australia in 2003, Movember (a mash-up of the words mustache and November) is a worldwide movement that challenges men to grow (and groom) mustaches from Nov.1-30.
It’s OK if they look creepy or silly or a bit too much like Magnum P.I. (I prefer my mustaches a la the movie “Tombstone”). That’s sort of the point. It’s No. 4 of the official Movember rules listed on its website: “Use the power of the mustache to create conversations about men’s health ...”
The movement, which grew to more than 200,000 participants last year, also works as a fundraiser for men’s health issues, particularly prostate and testicular cancers and mental health. The organization has raised $559 million and supported more than 800 health programs since 2003.
For those interested, the website has everything you would need to know about becoming a “Mo Bro,” including style tips and quippy mustache factoids like: “Salvador Dalí published a book dedicated solely to his mustache.”
Also, “women are more attracted to men with mustaches,” which seems only slightly dubious.
Other official rules: No beards, no goatees and no head starts. You have to start the month (that means Nov. 1) with a freshly-shaven face.
This is where the shave party comes in.
Reiland, along with barbers Rock Loftin and Evan Boling (both own local shops) will be giving $15 straight-razor shaves throughout the night. All proceeds go to the Movember Foundation.
“These gentlemen are coming in on their time off and working for free,” Reiland says.
There will also be music provided by DJ Mykal Powell and beer from Tioga Sequoia. It is a party after all.
This is the third year the Barber Collective has hosted a shave party. Reiland first got involved because the popularity of straight-razor shaves (and barber culture in general) is on the upswing, so being part of a month-long celebration of facial hair just seemed logical. But the longer he’s worked as a barber, the more stories he’s heard from the gentlemen in his chair. For instance: The regular who’s son is in his 30s and already had three bouts with prostate cancer. Or the gentleman who came to last year’s shave party to ask if they would do his head, too. He was starting chemotherapy treatments the following week.
“Really, men’s health issues never get talked about,” Reiland says. “These are issues that kind of get ignored.”
So, Movember is more than a month for hipsters to where mustaches unironically, and the party is more than a chance to get a good shave.
A good hot-towel, straight-razor shave like this takes time, Reiland says. He typically blocks out a half hour for appointments. It’s a rather intimate experience (in a good way) and if done well, it can be quite relaxing.
“I’ve had guys fall asleep in the chair,” he says.
Reiland hopes that taking the time will serve as a reminder that men need to take of themselves. It worked for him.
He starts each Movember with a shave and a trip to see his doctor: “Use this time to take care of yourself.”