LOCAL FLAVOUR: Movember grows awareness of prostate cancer

Burnaby RCMP Staff Sargeant Major John Buis loses his signature handlebar moustache on Monday in preparation for growing a new one for Movember. - MARIO BARTEL/NEWSLEADER
Burnaby RCMP Staff Sargeant Major John Buis loses his signature handlebar moustache on Monday in preparation for growing a new one for Movember.

John Buis is getting a clean start.

On his face.

Monday, the Staff Sergeant Major of the Burnaby RCMP let his boss,  Chief Supt. Dave Critchley, shave off his signature waxed moustache. So he could start growing a new one.

Buis is leading a contingent of Burnaby RCMP officers seeking to stimulate the follicles on their upper lip for "Movember," an initiative by Prostate Cancer Canada to raise awareness and funds for the most prevalent cancer to afflict men.

Movember started in 2003 with 30 participants in Melbourne, Australia. It has since spread around the world; last year almost 448,000 men and women registered to grow moustaches, more than a quarter of them in Canada.

For Buis, making the decision to participate in Movember was easier than the reality of losing his beloved handlebars. After all, his long, well-coiffed  neatly-waxed moustache that spans his upper lip and ends in a curled flourish somewhere above his cheeks has become something of a fixture in Burnaby, at community and charitable events he attends representing the RCMP, and on the sidelines at the BC High School boys basketball championships of which he's the coordinator.

It's a look borne of necessity rather than fashion affectation.

Buis grew his first moustache in 1994, when he was seconded to the United Nations peacekeeping force in Croatia for six months. It was long, and thick and bushy.

"My kids didn't recognize me when I got home," says Buis

It also contravened the RCMP grooming code. So when he returned to duty, rather than shave it, or trim it down, he shaped and waxed it so it complied.

"As it got longer, I started to curl it rather than let it grow down past the corner of the mouth," says Buis.

He's lost the moustache once before, in 2006 as part of his fundraising efforts for the Cops for Cancer bike tour.

Buis suspects he'll endure a lot of quizzical looks as he grows it back in again.

"It's part of who I am," says Buis, who also gave up the hair on his head Monday. "But it will be a challenge for people to recognize me."

To learn more about Movember, register as a participant or to donate, go to

Moustache style guide (American Moustache Institute)

• Chevron: A thick and wide moustache, usually worn long to cover the top border of the upper lip.

• Dali: A narrow moustache with long points bent or curved steeply upward. Named for artist Salvador Dali.

• English: A narrow divided moustache that begins at the middle of the upper lip, with long whiskers pulled to either side of the center. The areas beyond the corners of the mouth are typically shaved.

• Fu manchu: A moustache that begins on the upper lip with long whiskers that extend down each side of the mouth to the jaw. The areas just past the corners of the mouth are shaven.

• Handlebar: A bushy moustache that must be worn long enough to curl the ends upward, usually with styling wax.

• Horseshoe: A full moustache with vertical extensions grown on the corners of the lips and down the sides of the mouth to the jawline to look like an upside down horseshoe.

• Imperial: A large moustach growing from both the upper lip and cheeks. Whiskers from the cheeks are styled upward.

• Lampshade: A thick moustache covering the width of the mouth, with corners angled slightly.

• Painter's brush: Like the Lampshade, but with slightly rounded corners.

• Pencil: A thin, narrow, closely cropped moustache that outlines the upper lip.

• Pyramidal: A general name for moustaches that are narrow on top and wide at the bottom.

• Toothbrush: A thick moustache shaved to about an inch wide in the centre of the upper lip.

• Walrus: A large, bushy, droopy moustache that hangs down over the lips, often entirely covering the mouth.


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