Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Hairy Times

So I spent nearly two and a half years working on Brave.  As you can tell from the trailers alone, hair was a big deal in this film.  There was a lot of hair, fur and feathers.  When we finish a film, we have a huge celebration where we get to see all the work everybody else did along with our own in the finished product.  Sometime last year I decided that I would be wearing a kilt to the party (Brave being set in Scotland).  I wanted to go all out with the scottish feel, so I decided to grow out some "Friendly Mutton Chops".
For those that don't know, Mutton Chops are really big sideburns that cover the cheeks.  The "Friendly" part means that you have a mustache that joins them.  Speaking of sideburns, do you know how they got their name?  There was a Union general named Ambrose Burnside who sported some friendly mutton chops.  He was known for his impressive facial hair,  and the name was adopted.  Well General Burnside was one of my initial inspirations.

I decided to stop shaving my mutton chops at the first of the year and not shave them - or even trim them until after the Brave party, six months later. 

Initially, I was going to grow my mustache out too so that I would have an impressive Handlebar mustache to go with the massive chops.  After two months, The mustache was long enough that I had to start styling it everyday with wax.  The wax would wear off after a couple of hours, so I had to be persistent with the maintenance.  It was really too much work.
Eating was a pain because I had to wipe my mustache after every bite.  One day I was eating a sandwich. As I took a bite, I didn't realize that a bunch of mustache had folded up between my teeth and my sandwich.  When I bit down I had the sensation of dozens of hairs being yanked out of my top lip.  Thats what it felt like, but very few were actually pulled out.  Facial hair is much thicker than head hair and stick in there really good.  But it hurt. A lot.  I decided I didn't need a handlebar mustache.  I would just shave the 'stache, and start regrowing it a few weeks before the party.
It was so much more pleasant to NOT have a mustache.  Valerie would even give me an occasional kiss!

I usually kept the chops combed down as close to my face as posible so as to not give away their full awesomeness.  But after four months, I decided to try styling them for church one Sunday.  I was certainly curious to see what it would look like, but I also hoped to ease the minds of the whole Relief Society with my effort at grooming.  They were quite concerned about my facial hair and what it signaled about my testimony.

I don't think it made much effect on them.  If anything, it let them know that I was fully aware of my own facial hair and that I was growing it on purpose.  I didn't bother styling it after that more than simply brushing it down.

Eventually the week of the party came.  I was tired of this thing and really wanted to get it off of my face.  Valerie could barely look at me.  The Ward was preparing an intervention. The only one who didn't seem to mind was Zoey.  She asked me every day "Dad, Where your mustache?" I guess she missed it when I shaved it.  She also would run her tiny hands through my beard and pet it.

I decided to try some creative styling that last week before I finally shaved it.  

I tried curls

I tried Braids

Finally it was party time.  I dressed in my kilt and brushed out my three inch long friendly mutton chops and celebrated with my beautiful wife.

It was well worth the hassle.  I don't plan on ever doing it again though.  When it was time to shave it, I decided to have some fun.  I shaved stripes into it, then shaved it into a Fu Manchu.

Afterwards, I was looking at the pictures of my chops and realized that my beard styling was my own twist on the Pirates of the Caribbean movies:


Sarah said...

OH Ben! I have to admit I'm glad I didn't have to live by you with all that facial hair and Val is a true saint to let you do that! Can't wait to see you facial-hairless in July.

Valerie said...

You didn't put how the next day after we cut your hair, Zoey wakes up and ask, "Who u?" Because she couldn't recognize you.

Or. . .when they had a petting zoo at your work and you went in to pet the animals and someone on the outside of the fence decided to pet you!

Oh, the memories you have made! Memories I hope because I hope that you never have the desire to do it again! And. . .if you do, I will stop shaving my underarms and legs and play along!

I love you and am so glad you have no more facial hair!

Kathy said...

Nice to have you back Ben. Joe cut his hair and now you are well groomed, but Caleb still has a mullet. The Porter boys have hair issues.

Cousins said...

i was really happy when you shaved but now i miss it do it again ;D i love you