No-Shave November is really Movember: Here's the hair-raising backstory

No Shave November has become a cult-classic in our chilly city. If you're male, chances are you've participated at least once or twice -- it's an excuse not to shave for a whole month, so why not? But while the hair apparent is all over Denver this month, most people are clueless regarding the origins of Movember.

And it's all rooted in a good cause.

See also: Shave and a Haircut

It started in the Land Down Under in 1999, when a drunken pub dream turned into reality. Eighty men from Adelaide, South Australia started growing moustaches that November to raise awareness and funds for the RSPCA (Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelity to Animals) and sold "Movember" T-shirts. It worked out pretty well for a whimsical idea that might've just been written on a napkin.

It didn't last, though. There was not another Movember until at least 2003, when another group of men -- also from Australia, but completely unconnected from the first -- began a movement to raise awareness for prostate cancer. The concept was simple: Thirty men, dubbed the Mo Bros, each grew a moustache for thirty days. And this time, the concept became a worldwide sensation.

According to its website, in the ten years since its inception, the Movember Foundation has spread to over 21 countries and raised in excess of $443 million funding 577 different projects. There's even an annual "Moscars" awards now, a parody of the Oscars. Men from all over the world submit videos showcasing their progress during the month of Movember, hoping to snag top Moscar honors.

Here's the winner from 2012 (don't worry, he's locked in the screen and can't hurt you):

From a press release announcing the launch of The Moscars in 2010:

Each Movember, men are challenged to start the month clean-shaven and grow a moustache for the entire month. The moustache becomes the hairy ribbon for men's health and the guys growing them become a walking billboard for 30 days. Much like the commitment to run or walk for charity, men donate their faces and ask their family and friends to sponsor their efforts, sparking hundreds of conversations about men's health and prostate cancer along the way.
So that's the story. Next time you're participating -- and before you shave off this month's accomplishments -- remember that it started as a good cause, not just an excuse. And by the way, you can still enter this year's Moscars...the deadline for video entries is December 2.