Movember: Facing up
Photography by Steven Ryan Styled by Jan Brierton Fashion edited by Constance Harris
My father, Senator Eoghan Harris, has often said to me over the years that men are sensitive and feel things deeply. Had I not raised a son, I wouldn't have understood what he meant and might have believed, as women can do, in men's seeming insensitivity -- which is, in fact, a coping mechanism.
Men are, more often than not, loving, noble, beautiful creatures.
This week in LIFE fashion, we are supporting Movember, an initiative to celebrate men, and to raise men's awareness about the importance of looking after themselves and their health, and also how crucial it is to talk about it.
For the next four weeks, we want you to make a list of all the good things you have achieved, to promise to get your health checked, to buy something nice to celebrate your handsomeness, and to try to smile when you look at yourself in the mirror! And, if you want to feel even better about yourselves, grow a mo -- Australian slang for a moustache -- for the month of November, to connect with your inner Big Daddy, and ask people to sponsor you. See www.movember.com for details.
Last year, Ireland's Movember raised more than €1m for Action Prostate Cancer, an initiative of the Irish Cancer Society, to help men such as my father, and you.
The men on our pages today are all connected, not just through being handsome devils, but by cancer. My father has been getting treatment for prostate cancer for three years and he has blown me away with his generosity of spirit and quiet bravery throughout. Ciaran lost his younger sister to breast cancer earlier this year. Conor's dad battled prostate cancer. Pauric Sweeney lost his father to cancer of the colon when he was very young. And so it goes.
For our pages today, photographer Steven Ryan and stylist Jan Brierton looked to cinema, that superb library of male beauty and mythology, and cast our guys as heroes, lovable rogues and gangsters. All our men were dressed in Irish brands and they were hugely impressed by the scope of Irish menswear.
Pauric Sweeney became Errol Flynn; photographer Andreas Pettersson the upstanding Wyatt Earp. Conor Bereen personified the pretty-boy brazenness of The Magnificent Seven's Lee. Brendan Courtney is the charming card-sharp, while Lorcan Finnegan has the steely tension about him of all hell about to break out in Dodge. Peter O'Brien, Ciaran Walsh and Senator Harris look on with the gimlet eyes of experience as if to say, "Live to fight another day." Tomorrow is Movember.
What they said:
Eoghan Harris, senator, writer, teacher:
‘I love fedoras, cobblestones, 1940s movies, film noir. Temple Bar always reminds me of film noir, that Raymond Chandler line — “Down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean.” I was always attracted to that line. ‘I love moustaches and I love hats.
They define what it is to be masculine. My father and grandfather, of the old IRA and Spanish Civil War generations respectively, wore hats. Moustaches were worn by men like Clark Gable.
The hat and the moustache sum up, for me, the kind of masculinity I most admire — when men were men, held the doors open for women, tipped their hats up for women and Protestant ministers, down for clergy, and held their hats over their heart for the national anthem’
Ciaran Walsh, editor of ‘Le Cool’ magazine:
‘I lost my younger sister earlier this year to cancer. It really brought home to me the old adage that life is too short, and a sense of seizing the day. ‘Men are notoriously slow reacting about their health, but Movember addresses a serious issue in a way they can relate to.
It also gives me a valid excuse to grow a moustache, which I’ve secretly always wanted to do. The best part of being a guy? The world is full of girls’
Lorcan Finnegan, filmmaker, director and animator with www.lovelyproductions.com and blinder.tv, and full-time moustache wearer:
‘I got involved in the Movember shoot because I'm a charitable chap and was promised a hot shave with a cut-throat razor at Waldorf Barbers, which was an all-time ambition of mine.
It was marvellous. ‘The best part about being a guy? Apart from never having to learn how to use the washing machine, it’s that, much like a spy, you get to wear a variety of moustaches and beards. Also, by simply stroking the stubble on our chins, we can give the impression that we are thinking creatively.
There are, of course, ladies that like to do this too, but frankly, it’s unconvincing, and lady stubble is not particularly attractive’
Brendan Courtney, ‘Off the Rails’ presenter:
‘What does male beauty mean to me? Excitement! Why did I say yes to growing a mo for Movember? ’Cause James O’Neill and Emily Cramp made me — oh, and also to raise awareness of prostate cancer’
Conor Bereen, left, model and co-owner of The South William and Coppinger Row:
"I got involved with the shoot because like many people who have been affected by men's health issues, I felt it was important to help raise awareness. "Best part of being a guy is not having to worry if the toilet seat is up or down" Andreas Pettersson, right, photographer: ‘I said yes to do the Movember shoot because I do prefer mos to prostate cancer. And I like having a mo because I almost can grow one, almost!’
James O’Neill, fashion PR at Thinkhouse and fierce frontman of Bitches with Wolves:
‘Male beauty? I think it’s all about putting your best foot forward. It’s about making the effort, be it with your skin, your clothes or your hair.
Loads of men fob it off as too much of an effort, but it doesn’t need to be a schlep. It can be indulging in a hot-towel shave or picking up a sharp pair of shoes.
This is such a cliche, but when you look good you feel good. Hence I always have high hair — I’m like Samson — without my hair done up, I feel like crap. ‘I got involved in Movember initially to raise awareness of men’s health, which is something we Irish gents tend to put on the long finger.
But what’s kept me going back for the past three years is the amazing camaraderie between participants — you get a real sense of “we‘re all in this together”. Plus, the moustache looks hot!’
Pauric Sweeney, accessories designer and dreamer:
‘I said yes to Movember because Constance asked me. My dad used to sell Magee clothes in his shop in Donegal. Wearing it today, I feel like I have come full circle’