November 29, 2013 - 2:42 PM
IT'S HAIRY OVER THERE
VERNON - The fuzz is at the firehall, and we’re not talking about the cops.
Vernon firefighters have been celebrating the month of Movember in style—from handlebar moustaches, to lip warmers and soul patches.
By Saturday, razors will come out and the firemen will have to say goodbye to their facial hair—and the rise it gets out of their wives—for another year.
It was good while it lasted, firefighter John Doorman says. Like many others, he didn’t make it the whole month. His family intervened, taking the handlebars—literally—in the hairy situation. His daughter, who has had a sleazy, moustache maniac of a father for her last few birthdays had had enough. So had her mom.
“People’s wives get really annoyed with it. Which is the whole purpose,” a clean-shaven Doorman says. “The most popular style seems to be the handlebar moustache because it makes you look tough and annoys your wife even more.”
He admits teasing his wife isn’t the only reason why he participates in the annual event.
“My dad had prostate cancer and survived, so that’s why it’s important to me to do it every year,” Doorman says.
There are several survivors on the team, and others have lost parents to cancer. They wear that knowledge for one month every year in the hopes it will remind other men to check before it’s too late.
“You can’t be shy about stuff like this. It’s your health,” Doorman says.
Firefighters know. They’re at a higher risk of getting all sorts of cancers, including testicular. Despite layers of protective gear, the job exposes them to harmful toxins that are absorbed into the skin. Even in Movember, safety comes first and the men are not allowed to have facial hair where it might interfere with the seal on their face masks. That means no chin curtains, mutton chops or grizzlies.
“Now we wear protective gear for every little thing. Before at a car fire, dumpster fire, they didn’t wear anything. You’re breathing that stuff in,” firefighter Trevor Keenan says. “We’re learning from past mistakes.”
One of those might be the dated fashion statement of the moustache itself, Keenan laughs.
“In our line of work, moustaches were the thing to have back in the 70s. Big hairy moustaches,” Doorman says.
Movember participants have to start the month clean shaven. No head starts.
“Then it looks cheesier,” Doorman says. “The whole goal is to look ridiculous and support men’s health. People donate because of how ridiculous we look.”
Donations are still being accepted online. The Vernon firefighters can be found under 'VFD Mo-Bros'. They reiterate that awareness is the main message.
“When you see someone with a moustache, go get checked out,” Doorman says.
To contact the reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 250-309-5230 or tweet @charhelston.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013