COSTA MESA — What's your preference: handlebar or Fu Manchu? Pencil thin or thick like Tom Selleck's?
Come November, one or more of these facial hair styles might slowly emerge onto the once clean-shaven mugs of your local policymakers.
As part of a nationwide effort to "change the face of men's health," Costa Mesa councilmen and planning commissioners are participating next month in Movember, a fundraising campaign sponsored by Livestrong and the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
Mo is slang for mustache in Australia, according to the campaign's website. And besides being an easier activity than running or walking for cancer research, it's male-centric enough to make guys pause and think about their own health.
"When you sport a mustache, especially an Irish guy like me who has a light beard and all that, someone saying, 'What's up with the cheesy mustache?' is a perfect opening for the discussion," said Planning Commissioner Jim Fitzpatrick, who survived testicular cancer shortly after college. "Mine was kind of reddish, grayish. My kids make fun of me and my wife won't kiss me."
To that point, Movember organizers do not take responsibility for lost jobs or girlfriends.
Fitzpatrick is part of Team Nuclear, which includes first-timers Councilman Steve Mensinger, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer and Mayor Gary Monahan. Fitzpatrick said they're looking to add dozens of dudes — or "bro mos," as they call their fellow fuzzy-lipped friends.
"It's kind of like when you were younger and you had a big pimple on your face," Fitzpatrick said. "It's hard to have a discussion with people without them staring at it."
Last year Team Nuclear raised $36,000, the best performance for a first year group in 2010, said team founder John Cornuke.
They're going for $85,000 this year, Fitzpatrick said.
"I just found out about [Movember] late last year," Mensinger said. "I wasn't aware of the organization or the cause. The more I found out about it, I realized about 90% of all my older friends have had prostate cancer. It's not a question of if, it's a question of when. It's a cause that ultimately benefits all of us."
The rules are simple: Everyone has to have a clean-shaven face Nov. 1. Beards that touch the sideburns and goatees are not allowed. But a soul patch, or "tickler," under the bottom lip is permitted.
There will be a shaving party Dec. 1 when team members can start looking like themselves again, Fitzpatrick said.
At least two city officials, Mensinger and Monahan, are betting Fitzpatrick has the strangest, or most interesting looking mustache by the end.
"Jim has a face for everything," Mensinger said, laughing. "I just don't know if a mustache works for him."