November has come and gone and men are reaching for their razors to shave and behave like good clean men. It’s a shame really. I so appreciated seeing the different examples of the ‘stache aesthetic. For one month, men were granted full permission to let it grow, let it grow, let it grow. Some had a full-on ‘stache (a special mention goes out to my brother-in-law, Sam) and some bailed due to the itch factor after the first week.
It may just be a few furry whiskers above the lip but it came to symbolize so much more. Men came together for a worthy cause. There was a sense of macho camaraderie on the streets. Cops were sporting a sexy ‘70s swagger. Bankers busted out of their corporate fatigue. Porn stars walked around like they were just like regular people. I saw men giving each other a knowing nod when passing a fellow Movember-ite. Men were celebrating other men and it was awesome.
I think that Movember was wildly popular because men are aching to be in a brotherhood with other men. Making love to our computers, burdened with the speed and convenience of modern life, connecting less with each other, men seem to need this fraternal community even more.
Sure, there are an abundance of places for men to connect and commune * the sports field, the board room or the political area. However, none of these places allow for a warm and fuzzy brotherhood. In those arenas, men acknowledge each other almost exclusively as competitor and not brother.
There are few places in our culture where men can join together and celebrate their unique masculinity in non-violent, hierarchical ways. Women can bond over their babies or kvetch about their (fill in the blank). But where do men get to commune?
Perhaps we need more expressions of masculinity throughout the year so men can celebrate their quintessential manliness. However, in thinking of options, I am at a loss as to what to suggest. Eating contests, pumping iron, smart-a-thons don’t really capture that confident, poised, powerful notion of masculinity that I saw parading through the streets this month. Perhaps it is not my place to tell men where and how to celebrate their masculinity.
Most cultures have a ritual, ceremony or event to delineate the transition from boy to man. The group’s elders help to usher in the next generation with these established customs. What would it look like if we had Elder-Men who sit the boys down and tell them how to be men of character, how to be good husbands and fathers, how to show up when called upon? I would love to see that in action and I imagine so would a lot of other women.
I look forward to next year where I see even more motivation to capture the ‘stache and all the wonderful manly things that go with it.