Mo better

Nico Aguilera

Photo By brad Bynum

Movember is an international organization dedicated to raising awareness about men’s health issues. Nico Aguilera, 28, a systems administrator at Reno Diagnostic Centers, is a co-founder of City of Remo, a group of local Movember participants who have organized a series of events throughout the month formerly known as November. For more information, visit

What’s Movember?

Movember is the month of November, as you know, but we call it Movember, because it’s a play on words with the Australian slang for mustache. They spell it “m-o—moustache,” so short for that is “mo.” Movember is the month of November when you grow a mo, and you grow a mo as a show of support that you’re trying to do something about men’s health issues, primarily testicular and prostate cancer. We jokingly say that it’s the equivalent of the pink ribbon in support of breast cancer [awareness]. In Movember, we say we have a brown ribbon in support of prostate and testicular cancer.

Why a mustache?

I think the mustache is an easy way for someone to [have] an opening line. Men are reluctant to talk about their health issues with their friends. You don’t just hear guys saying, “Yeah, I just went to the doctor. They totally stuck something up my butt and probed me around. … I’m going to do it next year!”

One thing I’ve found, I did the Race for the Cure—I do it every year because I think it’s cool—and onstage you see a lot of people saying, “Yay, we have so many survivors here, let’s have a show of hands! How many people have survived breast cancer?” and women are very proud that they’ve battled breast cancer and they’ve survived it. And working with Movember here in town, we’ve had a hell of a hard time finding a guy who will admit to saying, “I’ve had testicular cancer or prostate cancer, and I fought it and survived it. … That’s part of what this Movember thing is trying to fix—not only to find a cure but to get the awareness out there and say, “Hey, it happens. It’s cool, you can admit to it.” Everybody’s going to be touched in one way or another by this, so it’s better to be well informed.

Why do you think men are so reticent to talk about their health issues?

Well … I personally can say that pride comes in the way, or maybe shame, the fear of having to say, “Yeah, there’s something wrong with me,” because, you know, men are supposed to be strong, and the provider, and the caretaker, so admitting that something’s not right with you kind of brings that image down, so I think that’s why men are even reluctant to try to find out what’s wrong with them. Men don’t usually go to the doctor as soon as something is wrong, they have to wait, and they have to be convinced. That’s kind of silly. All we’re saying is, “Hey, you should go get checked out once a year, and here’s the things that they’ll need to do,” and if things are detected early, they can be treated in a much more efficient manner.

Who are some guys with the all-time great mustaches?

We think of Tom Selleck. We think of Hulk Hogan, Charlie Chaplin, unfortunately Adolf Hitler. There’s a little bit of everything going on. Of course, you think of cops, highway patrolmen. Which, by the way, the Nevada state troopers have an official Movember team. I hear they’re really well-motivated. If you get pulled over in the next couple of weeks, chances are, the highway trooper is going to have a mo, and he’ll know all about Movember. …

Do you think there’s a stigma against guys wearing mustaches?

I know what you’re saying. People are reluctant to do it. I think some guys think they’ll look creepy or old-fashioned or just kind of plain retarded. It’s hard to feel like you’re going to look good with a mustache. People feel like you’ll either look like a pedophile or somebody who can’t afford a decent shave, but I have seen, in my many Movember years, many beautiful mos.