Today is a sad day. We bid adieu to an entire month of watching grown men painfully, yet thoughtfully, grow out an abundance of facial hair just above their upper lip, all in support of Movember. [Yes, the same reason Aaron Rodgers decided to join in, not because he became an Uncle over Thanksgiving.]
It’s a month I seriously covet in the most hardcore way. A) My birthday happens to fall in this great month and B) I seriously dig moustaches. Or at least I thought I did.
While said upper lip facial fur may not turn me on quite the same way Magic Mike does, a guy with a heart of gold and a desire to help a good cause certainly does. Meet Zoltan Mesko, punter for the New England Patriots. Joining the ranks of the other ~854,288 hipster-looking Mo Bros, Mesko has joined the Movember campaign, after prodding from his agency.
What I quickly learned about growing a moustache (not to be confused with a mustache) is that even for the average Joe, it’s a tough feat to pull off, whether it’s for charity or not. Now imagine being on primetime television each week and having 40,000+ followers on Twitter to comment on this newfound facial epidemic. Ensue critics. And questions.
But that’s exactly the point. Movember, involves men known as “Mo Bros” who become real-life walking billboards for the nonprofit by growing out a moustache for the month in addition to joining an internet-based team to raise funds in addition to awareness.
Really getting into the spirit of it, Mesko updated his Twitter avatar to help raise awareness and bait his followers. “I took a picture [by Stacey James] before the game and tweeted it. It was posted on the Patriots Facebook and instagram pages, and it got a lot of hits. I even stroked it to play the part,” he adds. According to the Movember website, on average, a man with a ‘stache touches it approximately 760 times a day. I guess that’s better than touching something else that many times…
One of Mesko’s Twitter followers, @ChrisWarCraft sent this Tweet after Mesko posted his new avatar in which he lovingly stroked his new fur: “You look like Liam Neeson playing a role as a French pedophile. How do you even function in public without getting arrested?”
Mesko just laughed it off. And then retweeted it of course. “I’m kind of into the whole self-deprecation thing,” the 6-foot-4 goofball added.
As Mesko told me, “First off, I just can’t pull off a moustache, I don’t have a face for it nor the facial hair genetics. As long as you call yourself out and admit that it looks terrible, then you can quickly get into the reason behind it.”
And Mesko is not afraid to call himself out, in public, and on multiple occasions. Even his Mo Bro page clearly states his motivation and inept ability to grow out a proper ‘stache:
“To prove that despite a genetic flaw in my facial hair growth, I can still look….well…terrible.”
Of course, his motivation reaches well beyond plain hilarity. “My grandma passed away from breast cancer last year. Cancer affects all of us, whether it’s female or male – prostate is one of the more treatable versions as well as testicular cancer, which Movember raises awareness for,” Mesko explains. “It’s definitely important to me.”
Back to the funny part.
“The best way to approach cancer is to laugh in its face. Let them laugh at how creepy I look, that’s OK. If you like self-deprecating kind of humor or if you’re a jokester, then this campaign [Movember] is for you. But it’s definitely a commitment. Thirty days to do anything is a long time,” Mesko says.
“It’s not something that’s attractive; it’s the cause behind it. That’s really the only reason I’ve committed myself to it. You don’t appreciate the commitment level until you grow this ugly facial hair,” he laughs. “My girlfriend isn’t very fond of it, but she likes the cause. She’s threatened to buzz it off mid-sleep – that’s kind of scary to think about. If I do it next year I’ll probably go more comical– like a Fu Manchu,” says Mesko.
So next time you go judging (or tweeting) a book by its cover, or a man by his facial hair, ask if he’s doing it for Movember or some other notable cause. Concern should only be raised if in fact he’s driving a windowless van or he’s appeared on an episode of To Catch a Predator.
Who knows? Maybe when Mesko closes out his impressive football career, the producers of Law & Order SVU will hire him. It’s clear he can look the part.
In all seriousness, felicitations to Mesko and all the other Mo Bros out there for making this stellar commitment in hopes to change the face of men’s health in the most literal sense. Hope to see your furry facial friends back next year.
Be sure to follow Mesko’s hairy hilarity on Twitter.
Note: This post is part of The Blonde Side’s Momentum Challenge series to interview one active player from all 32 NFL Teams within the short time frame of 34 days. Zoltan Mesko and his creepy ‘stache crosses the New England Patriots off the list.
Jayme Lamm is a freelance sports and travel writer based in Houston and is currently in a full-court press writing her hugely opinionated sports column, The Blonde Side. Follow her travels for sporting events and check her out on Twitter.
Jayme recently did what few defenders can, and cornered Texans TE Owen Daniels to talk about his love of house music.