No Mo’ NoMoMovember: McKeen mows mo’

Scott McKeen GigCity EdmontonEdmonton City Councillor Scott McKeen has kept his promise and cut off his Monopoly mannish moustache to raise $1,000 for Movember – and thank God that’s over.

At the urging of the ill-conceived NoMoMovember Movement – as hard to say as it is to get behind – which was dedicated to the eradication of hideous facial hair from public conversation while still supporting men’s health, the councillor’s famous ‘stache was shorn live on BT TV Mov. 29. See the video below. It will take at least four months for his distinctive lip ermine to return to its naturally lustrous state.

“It’s fine,” he says with a sigh after the shave is done. “It’ll come back.”

As to the meaning of the moustache on mannishness in general, “I think men have vanity. It’s OK,” McKeen explains. “We get to play a little bit, too, with our facial hair. It’s playful, but it goes beyond that. It’s identity. We send out messages with what we wear and our facial hair about who we are, and reveal a little bit of the character inside.”

Scott McKeen GigCity EdmontonWho, then, is Scott McKeen? Just a hard-working rookie city councillor who’s a former journalist and now on a very steep learning curve. His moustache has been with him almost all the way, part of a number of public conversations. He’s been teased to his face and behind his back, even accused of laying a patriarchal trip on people because moustaches are clearly tokens of male domination. He’s been laughed at – especially when he sported the big handlebar job trimmed to less Brobdingnagian proportions for campaign photos. Maybe his moustache speaks to a creativity and certain eccentricity in his own personality, McKeen allows, but “that’s OK, too.”

What started as a silly idea to get wives to pay husbands NOT to grow moustaches in Movember elicited interesting responses. Some commenters said NoMoMovember is a terribly sexist idea, as in “Hey, wife, how dare you tell me what to do with my body, especially when it’s for such a good cause!?” One wonders if the commenters are married. Others complained of facial hair being used for hipster marketing. Since no hipster will ever admit to being a hipster, it’s hard to get good demographics here. Facial hair helps.

Movember Canada didn’t like the idea of not growing moustaches, either. You’re not going to strike up a conversation about testicle cancer with a clean shaven stranger. It’s the unsightly ‘stache that gets people talking – awareness in this case as important as money. The organization was, however, down with the idea of de-moustachifying men for whom every day is Movember. McKeen came to mind immediately and agreed to do it for a minimum $1,000 donation. It was Movember’s moustache kickstarter website Mo Space that made this all possible, along with BT host Ryan Jespersen and wife Kari Skelton of UP! radio – dedicated Mo’ Mates of the highest order. Hudson’s Bay even kicked in $500. Jespersen’s Mo’ team Mo Carnales (with McKeen on board) has raised more than $10,000 for the cause this year.

So how much to keep it off for a whole year?

McKeen says, “$50,000 to me, $50,000 to the charity and then I’d think about it.”

Well, one tries.

Whichever way you look at this, it all comes down to the moustache in the end – because here we are talking about it. In public. The NoMoMovember Movement is a resounding failure that has sabotaged the very goal it set out to attain, and must sadly cease to exist. Make way for Beardmember.