At the end of each November, Scott Hoenig, Instructor in Mathematics, shaves the mustache that he devoted the entire month to growing, taking photos as bits of his mustache are shorn off and the skin underneath is revealed. For the first time in a month, he is able to feel the breeze along his upper lip.
Hoenig is a member of the PA-Stacios, the first team at Andover devoted to Movember, a month in which males around the world grow out mustaches in support of men’s health.
PA-Stacios started in 2012 under the leadership of Hoenig and Mark Cutler, Instructor in Spanish. The team, which has evolved over the past four years, now boasts 16 members, all of which are are committed to growing the best mustaches they can this month to support men’s health.
The PA-Stacios are part of an international organization called the Movember Foundation. The Movember Foundation donates more than 650 million dollars to over 1,000 international programs aimed at treating prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and physical inactivity in men, according the Movember Foundation website.
The goal for the PA-Stacios is both to raise money for the Movember Foundation and to raise awareness for men’s health within the Andover community.
Cutler said, “When you’re part of a team, there’s the added benefit of being able to raise money and awareness for men’s health—supporting public messaging and research for prostate cancer, mental health, obesity, etc. That’s the most important aspect of Movember, in my opinion.”
“One thing I like is that Movember helps get men talking about health issues – sometimes it seems like men shouldn’t talk about stuff like that – especially mental health issues – but it’s so important to create an environment where men do feel comfortable talking about it,” said Hoenig.
Hoenig was first asked to participate in Movember in 2011 by his college friend who lived in Bordeaux, France. Before starting PA-Stacios, Hoenig was part of the Bordeaux Mustache Factory, another team who also engaged in Movember. Though Hoenig was not living in France, he stayed connected to his team through the Movember website and through Facebook.
Hoenig said, “Since I was the only faculty member on campus growing a mustache from scratch, I got a lot of questions and a lot of odd looks. Several colleagues and friends said they’d like to do it the next year, and that’s how the PA-Stacios got started.”
Over the years, Hoenig and Cutler have enlisted the help of others interested in the cause around campus, including Donald Slater, Instructor in History and Social Science.
“I am a huge hockey fan and was first introduced to Movember while watching a Boston Bruins game years ago. I was accustomed to playoff beards, but was at first confused by the mid-season mustache,” said Slater.
Encouraged by Cutler and Hoenig to join the PA-Stacios in 2012, Slater has been an avid participant ever since.
“Camaraderie and a good cause drive my participation in Movember,” said Slater. “Certainly the most enjoyable part of Movember is participating in the event with a bunch of great guys at Andover and comparing mustache progress at meetings, Commons and on campus pathways.”
The members of the PA-Stacios affectionately refer to one another as Mo-Bros. According to Hoenig, members try to complement each other rather than compete for the most impressive mustache.
“The most challenging part is rocking the mustache itself. Truth be told, I think I look pretty goofy with a mustache,” said Slater.
Another member of the PA-Stacios is Stephen Silversides, Associate Director of College Counseling. Hoenig and Cutler recruited Silversides to the team during the first year of PA-Stacios. Silversides recalls seeing Hoenig with a mustache five years prior to the formation of the team, a memory that interested him in the cause.
“It certainly piqued my curiosity as I knew nothing about Movember at the time. After learning more about the movement, I committed to growing a mustache every year as a means of supporting the cause,” said Silversides.
Part of the PA-Stacios pledge is to participate with full effort in growing the best mustache possible; no beards or goatees are allowed. During Movember, participants are permitted to groom their mustaches – while some men use wax, Hoenig uses shampoo – he has not gotten into the fine art of waxing, he said.
“It’s itchy when you grow it from scratch and it takes longer to shave in the morning,” said Hoenig. “Movember is officially just during the month of November, but I typically keep my mustache through mid-to-late December. Once you put that much time and effort into growing it, it’s tough to let it go.”
Rather than feeling worried about how his mustache will look on him, Silversides seems to be more concerned with how his mustache will be styled.
“Every year, I hope my hair follicles will enable me to grow an epic mustache, the likes of those sported by Clark Gable, Rollie Fingers or Tom Selleck. I would also settle for upper lip stylings of Ron Burgundy or The Monopoly Man,” said Silversides.
Members of the PA-Stacios gather at the end of every November to commemorate their participation in the Movember challenge. Their celebration is accompanied by multiple boxes of pizza; the events of the night all leading up to the grand election for the “Man of Movember,” the one member of the team displaying the best mustache.
“It’s been a great way to get to know colleagues in a different way, to raise some money for a good cause and to have fun looking a little ridiculous,” said Hoenig.