Utica Park Clinic marketing coordinator, Dave Dallow, started talking to the Hillcrest HealthCare System marketing department about Movember months ahead of time. Truth be told, he was likely thinking about it well before then. Throughout the year, Dave coordinates and strategizes the marketing of Utica Park Clinic health care services and providers available to patients throughout northeastern Oklahoma. Participating in Movember is a perfect fit for that plan during the month of November, when beards and mustaches are grown in support of raising awareness for men’s health. While Utica Park Clinic’s social media channels featured Movember the last two years, Dave’s approach on his personal Facebook profile this year had us scratching our growing (or metaphorical) beards. His posts certainly stood out. We had to learn more.
Your Movember Facebook posts have a unique style. What can you share about how you come up with your posts each day that make them different and stand out?
I wanted to help promote the importance of men’s health among my Facebook friends while being careful to avoid getting too “preachy” about it for two reasons. First, that can get boring quickly, which could lead to every post after the first one being overlooked. Secondly, that would not have worked anyhow, since I have no formal medical education and therefore don’t exactly have the credibility that’s necessary to be dishing out helpings of men’s health information. My buddies wouldn’t trust me in helping them pick out a toothbrush, let alone helping them decide when they should get a prostate exam or colonoscopy.
I do, however, have a great deal of informal training in sarcasm, so it seemed to make sense to tap into that priceless brilliance. With that foundationless confidence firmly in place, I began each post with an updated, close-up selfie to display exactly how manly I am by showing the progress of my facial hair growth. It was already noticeable by November 27th!
It was fun to begin each comment with a Movember (or No-Shave November) reference, then try to creatively tie the facial hair progress in to some current event (World Series, Presidential election, Veterans Day, death of Leon Russell, Thanksgiving, etc.) or just make some other sarcastic beard-related comment. From there, I moved on to provide some sort of men’s health content that I hope was helpful, or at least read. I included #UticaParkClinic to let my local friends know where to go if they don’t already have a health care provider and to subtly communicate to them that, sorry bro, but don’t look to me for your testicular exam needs.
Have you grown out a beard before? Does it bug you?
Before this, the longest that I can recall going without shaving was 24 hours and one minute. (I woke up late that morning.) It occasionally itches just a bit, but it’s not a big deal. My Australian Shepherd has been checking me for fleas weekly. I drew the line when he asked for a stool sample. He thinks he’s so funny.
Why did you want to grow a beard in support of Movember?
Utica Park Clinic urologist Dr. Dae Kim is very passionate about it. We started participating in Movember at Utica Park Clinic last year because of Dr. Kim’s encouragement and I jumped on board this year. We cranked it up a few notches and went very public with it with the help of 103.3FM The Eagle, and the hashtag, #ShareTheHair.
The problem is that most of us guys are morons when it comes to taking care of ourselves. No, that’s too generous. Most of us guys are complete and utter buffoons when it comes to taking care of ourselves. We could get hit by a bus and think it’ll be okay if we just rub some dirt on it.
The fact is that without good health, many other areas of our life (relationships, family, work, finances, etc.) suffer. We need to look at our health in the same way we look at other major aspects of our life. If we invest, many of us hire a professional investor. If we’re religious, many of us go to church. When we need a car worked on, we go to a mechanic. When we’re due for a prostate exam, yeah, we should go ahead and see a professional for that, too.
What have you enjoyed?
I really appreciate getting some strong support that wouldn’t have even occurred to me. By November 2, one of my buddies at the office told me that if I’d keep it up, he’d do it, too. So, yeah, it took me a full year to get involved. It took him one day. He’s kind of a show-off like that.
Also, I went to my parents’ house in North Carolina for Thanksgiving. When I showed up, my brother was sitting there with a few weeks worth of growth on his face and told me, “I saw that you were doing it, so I thought I’d do it, too.” The cool thing about that is that we’re not a particularly mushy family, but he did that anyhow. In fact, we’re more of a “You’re a doody head!...No, YOU’RE a doody head” kind of family. He’s 51 so you can bet I grilled him about getting his first colonoscopy. He’s going to get it done and he’s very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very excited about it.
What have you learned from this process?
Based on how manly the growth has been, I think we can go ahead and safely assume that I’m part bear.
Movember and No-Shave November were organized by two similar, but different organizations with different goals. Suffice it to say they both strongly encourage you to take care of yourself and stay up-to-date on recommended screenings, you knucklehead.
My wife liked the beard (did NOT see that comin’! I don’t think SHE saw it coming either.) But let’s face it, I’m just one handsome dude with or without the equivalent of a small cat on my face.
I absolutely did NOT expect the emotional roller coaster. On Day 3 of Movember, I learned that a family member’s husband has been dealing with prostate cancer for a while. On Day 4, he was declared cancer-free! At the other end of the spectrum, that very same day, I learned that a good friend of nearly 20 years - and it’s hard to say this - received a prognosis that is not good. In fact, it’s the worst prognosis you can get and I’m having a tough time with that.
Will you participate in Movember again?
I hope this was beneficial to somewhere between one guy and a ga-billion guys. I’ll probably never know for sure, but it’s been fun and it’s highly likely that Dr. Kim can count on me again next Movember.
The truth is I know it was helpful to one guy. It’s been a few years since I’ve seen a primary care provider. I have an appointment scheduled for December 12.