No, that isn’t a double-entendre joke. She literally means your testicles. Rossum is worried about them, and how you might not be taking care of them, or checking them regularly for signs of testicular cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2015, there will be about 8,430 new cases of testicular cancer in the U.S. alone. And because guys are often reluctant to visit a doctor, many of them will wait until it’s too late to seek treatment.
This is why Rossum—who returns in the Showtime series Shameless this January—joined forces with The Movember Foundation, a global charity devoted to men’s health issues, to raise awareness this month not just about testicular cancer, but also prostate cancer, poor mental health, and just a general lack of physical inactivity.
In other words, the things that kill men that shouldn’t be killing men.
We called Rossum to talk about these serious issues, but also mustaches and the awesomeness of naps.
Men’s Health: Congratulations on being Movember’s least hirsute celebrity ambassador.
Emmy Rossum: Well thank you. And I didn’t even have to grow out my mustache.
You can do that?
Oh sure. It gets crazy.
What kind of volume? Can you grow a full-on William Taft?
No, nothing like that. I can do maybe three whiskers, tops. Which I tend to grow every three months.
Let’s review all of the major mustache styles, and you tell us what you like and don’t like. Give us a general overview of your personal mustache preferances.
What are your thoughts on the Chevron? Are you a fan?
Is that the very skinny one?
No, it’s the big, bushy one.
Like a Burt Reynolds ’stache?
No. I’m into it. I’m into Burt Reynolds as a person and actor, but not that mustache.
Is it the girth involved, or—
I’m a hypochondriac. So I imagine the things that are trapped in the mustache.
Well what about the handlebar mustache? Or the horseshoe mustache?
Are those different things?
They are. But I forget which one goes up and which one goes down.
Here’s my thing with mustaches. I’m into them on other people, just not if I have to touch them with my mouth.
Okay, that’s fair.
I’m into the way they look aesthetically for sure. I’m just not into the feel of them on my face. Nor am I into the incredible acne allergic breakout that I will have on my face from making out with that.
What about something thinner? Like a Dali mustache? Or whatever John Waters has on his face?
I’m into my dog’s mustache. My Yorkie has a mustache that is extremely handsome.
Are you making out a lot with your dog?
No, that’s disgusting.
Sorry, just trying to figure out your mustache perimeters.
I don’t make out with my dog. We’re closed mouth kissers.
What about the toothbrush mustache? Is it ever socially acceptable, or has Hitler ruined that mustache for everybody?
I’m a Jew, so that’s going to rub me the wrong way every time. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that at the end of Movember, all of the guys who shave their mustaches and beards, they’ll definitely walk around their apartments for 10 minuets with the Hitler mustache, to see how it feels, before they go clean shaven.
For Movember, you’ve pledged to do some sort of physical activity every day for the entire month. How are you doing so far?
I think I’ve probably skipped two days. But there hasn’t been a day when I was completely immobile, just laying on the couch. It’s just about creating some small changes in your life that leads to a healthier lifestyle.
How many times would you rather have put metal spikes in your eyes than go to the gym?
Just this month or in life?
ER: Probably three or four times. It can be excruciating. For me, the battle is always about standing up and driving to the place to start the exercise. That’s my problem. Once I get there, I actually feel better. The endorphin rush from working out is amazing. But it’s the getting there part that’s horrible.
How do you force yourself to do it when you really, really, really, really don’t want to?
It’s easier if I have a friend to hold me accountable. If I’m on my own, I can put it off for a half hour and watch one more episode ofThe Affair before I go to the gym, or maybe I’ll just finish the series and then I’ll do it. But if it’s “Oh I’m meeting Katie at 5 o’clock on Tuesday,” then I would be extremely embarrassed if I cancelled on her. I like having a workout buddy who’s going to hold me accountable.
I’ve heard you mention that your new motto for Sunday is “less brunching and more crunching.”
I have my own Sunday motto. It’s “Stop your creeping, daddy’s sleeping.” Convince me why I should be working out on Sunday morning instead of sleeping in.
Well, it doesn’t have to be at the crack of dawn on Sunday. I generally get moody and kind of sad on Sundays, because the weekend is over. So for me, getting up and doing physical exercise makes me happier, gives me more energy to get more done. It can just be taking a walk around the block with your friends. It doesn’t have to be a full-on spin class to be considered physical exercise.
If I can be the devil’s advocate for a minute, let me tell you some amazing things about beds. Beds are soft and non-judgmental.
Hey, hey, hey!
If you have enough pillows, you can make a mini fortress that completely blocks out the sunlight, so you never know what time it is.
I’m not arguing with any of this!
I think I speak for all Men’s Health readers when I say, “Come back to bed, Emmy.”
We’re on the same page here. I’m with you. I’m a nine hours a night kind of gal. You don’t have to sell me on beds and sleeping.
You’ve pitched the idea on Twitter of a NAPtember. Do we have to wait till next fall to do this?
Not at all. I think every month should be NAPtember. I’m a huge napper, and a huge advocate of napping. My fiancé can’t nap at all. And he’s an insomniac, so that doesn’t help him. I can nap anywhere.
I can nap sitting up in a taxi cab. I can sleep before the plane takes off with my feet in the upright position. I could be an Olympic napper.
Let’s get back to Movember. The whole point of this thing is to get guys thinking and talking about their health. Why do you think men are so reluctant to take care of themselves?
I just think guys have a hard time talking about their feelings.
How is their health about their feelings?
It’s about being vulnerable. Women talk about this stuff all the time. I just don’t think that when guys are sitting around, having a few beers, watching the Patiots game, they’ll say things to each other like, “Hey, can you check out this mole? Does this look weird to you?” Or stuff like, “I’ve been having chronic headaches, I wonder what that’s about. What do you think that’s about, Dan?” I don’t think men talk about these things like women do.
I don’t think a lot of guys even discuss this stuff with their wives or girlfriends.
And they should be! Listen, for straight men looking to pick up a chick or keep their girlfriend or wife, the sexiest thing is when you talk about your feelings. Tell us everything.
Just health stuff or—?
Anything. “I’m scared of marriage. I’m excited for marriage. I’m scared that my parents are going to die. I have a stomach ache. Do you think this color looks good on me? Am I getting fat?” Literally anything. As long as we feel like you’re being vulnerable, it’s a huge turn on.
Trust me. For purely selfish reasons of just you getting laid, I think that would help.
I don’t know. I’m not entirely convinced that my wife’s idea of a sexy night begins with me saying, “I have a stomach ache. Could we talk about how I’m afraid of dying?”
Try it. Even if it’s not for her, you need to talk about these things. Women are much more in tune with their bodies and much more comfortable talking about what can go wrong with them. There’s no good reason why men should have a shorter life expectancy than women. It’s because they don’t talk about symptoms until they’re much further along, when they can’t ignore them anymore. It’s because they don’t go to the doctor.
Have you pestered boyfriends or guy friends to go to the doctor?
All the time.
What’s your tactic?
I usually just go with annoying repetition. “Did you do it yet? Did you do it yet? Did you do it yet? Did you do it yet? Did you do it yet?”
And that works?
It does. A lot of women are like that. We just pester until it happens. I don’t care if they just go to the doctor because they want me to shut up about it. That’s fine, too.
If you called me up randomly and asked me to go to the doctor, I think I’d be more likely to do it.
Yeah. And I suspect a lot of guys feel the same way. Can we start that initiative? “Emmy Rossum Calls Every Guy and Reminds Them To Make a Doctor’s Appointment?”
Not in the world. But, you know . . . every guy in the U.S.
Is that something you might consider?
It might be more efficient to do a pre-recorded message. And then just text them out in mass.
I really think the personal touch, counts. We need to hear you say our names, if that’s okay.
Well, then let’s at least break it down by name. We’ll start with all the Davids. Then move on to Charles, and then Greg, and then Peter, and then Joshua. We’ll go through the list.
This is going to be great.
Nobody with a quirky name, though. I don’t have that kind of time.
Of course not. You have a job.
That’s right. (Pause.) But I’m free around Christmas though, so I could make some calls.
(This story originally appeared, in a slightly different form, in Men’s Health.)