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Facebear

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Facebear in the making with Brent’s famous “You are a nutball”  face

My husband’s facial hair abilities defy time and hair hormones.  By the age of 12 he had a full mustache.  And he kept it.  Not only kept it but grew it into a handlebar mustache.  Despite what his friends said.  A head case for sure.  We suit to a “t”.

I met him at college in the chemistry professors’ office, the hang out for professorial offspring.  A BF of mine was Dr Dixon’s daughter and his office was large and warm and friendly with a huge study table.  A perfect place to fool around “studying” at night.

One day JaNeille and I walked into the office and a handsome guy with a big mustache was studying at the desk.  And, appalled, he sat quietly in the background when we bounded in the office, picked up the phone and began to loudly crank call boys in the freshmen boys’ dorm.  Every now and then I looked over at him.  A quick peek.  Always a firm frown between his brows.  We were bothering him.

JaNeille and Brent were Arch Enemies.  Lots of bad baggage between them.  He dated her sister, who was tandem seeing a guy who lived in Japan.  Brent lost and she married the guy from Japan 6 months earlier.  JaNeille blamed Brent for her sister’s current unhappiness.  She barely introduced me to him.  “Lori-Brent”. Brent lifted his eyes and nodded and returned to his studying.

We left after a hilarious half hour.  Over the next several weeks Brent and I morphed from barely nodding acquaintances into a relationship.  While he originally thought me a Flake, my fun sense of humor and “slightly” nutty outlook won him over.  We dated for a couple of months then I found out he was still writing love notes to his ex-girlfriend, JaNeille’s sister, unhappily married and lonely in Japan.   Brent was devastated over her unhappiness, and was trying to get her to leave him and move back to the States.

I found out and ditched him.  I was the second girl in a year who “broke his heart”. He told me that he made a mistake and I was the only girl he would marry.  He was convinced that it would happen someday.

He didn’t date anyone for five years.  We stayed friends, since we were tightly intertwined in the same social circle.  Then I left college for my first job at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.  I returned to Missouri several times a year for weddings and to see people, and two years later Brent and I were in a wedding together.  At his insistence, I stayed with Brent at his apartment for the wedding.

Over the five year period Brent had morphed into a model gorgeous hunk.  Perfection.  Except for that dratted mustache.  I could tell he was dying to get back together.  It was the glassy eyed unfocused stare and slightly tipsy look he had whenever he looked at me.  I did NOT want to get together.  One night, while we were hanging out in his living room, I shocked my shoes off myself by blurting out “Brent do you like me?”

“Well, of course I do.  Why?”

“No.  I mean, do you LIKE me?”  I sounded like a sixth grader, but I couldn’t ask it any other way for some reason.  I think it was all our baggage.  And why I was pursing this was completely unknown to me.

He turned me around, put his forehead against mine, looked me in the eyes and said,  “Always.  Don’t you remember what I said when we broke up? I would marry you or no one.”

My eyes swam with tears.  Here was what I searched for in front of me all along.  But I couldn’t see it without looking at that irritating mustache.  So I said, “Shave off your mustache and I will go out with you again.”

You gasp.  Heartless witch.  Yes, it was a gambit.

I really didn’t know what prompted me to start our relationship again.  I was so shocked when those words popped out.  Maybe I was trying to put us to rest.  I hope I realized that here was a sweet soul who would perhaps heal my aching heart.  I’m sure I would have backed down if he refused to shave it, and duct taped it with a lightning fast move one night when I got him all warm and happy.

Now “We”, the social group We, had tried all kinds of stuff to separate him from his mustache for the last six years.  Holding him down.  Tying him up.  He was a martial arts guy, way too slippery for the B team.  So I was haggling to do something We thought impossible.  Get The Guy, without the mustache, and Take Credit For The Demise of the Mustache.

Win-Win-Win. A triple high fiver.

He got up without saying a word and I thought I had offended him.  He went to the bathroom and was in there for longer then I thought necessary to collect himself.  Then, out came Perfection.  Mr Mustache was a coat of hair in the trash.  Brent had lips.  Beautiful full lips.  And perfect teeth.  Wow.  I went gooey, and we rather quickly got engaged.  And no more mustache.

Cruise Brent and LoriBrent and parents 1993 004

Until……

Seventeen years into our marriage.  It was winter and cold.  I don’t remember why he began to grow a beard.  But it looked good, so I VERY GRUDGINGLY said he could grow it for a couple of days.  He did, and it looked great.  He was made to wear a beard.  We admired and it went away.  Of course I never took a picture of him with it!

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My favorite, no Facebear in sight!

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This is happy medium, slightly scruffy

Now and then it would suddenly appear for a couple of days.  Brent has sensitive skin, and generally the re-appearance was due to “shaving issues”.   But one day it appeared and did not go away.  Full mustache and beard.  Here to stay.  It was novel, so for a couple of weeks I put up with it.  We even named it Facebear.  Then I said it was time to go.  I received the WHATEVER face.  “I’m keeping it.”

The three words I never wanted to hear from him.  My mouth dropped open.  “You know I hate mustaches.  That beard is like a brillo pad.  I can’t even kiss you with it.  It needs to go.”

“I like it and it keeps my face warm and I don’t have to shave. I am keeping it.”

“I will not kiss you while you have that thing attached to your face.”

THE WAR WAS ON

Every winter is the war.  He grows it.  I don’t kiss him.  Well, I push my lips out as far as they can go to just barely touch his without any contact with the brillo pad.  A  couple of times each winter he shaves it off, gets my ecstatic kissy fix,  then we return to our stubborn sides.

But it is FINALLY HOT! Facebear has Left The Building! When he shaves it off, he doesn’t tell me, just does it then waits to see my reaction, which is to leap on him  with squeals. So for a time I will have a beautiful set of lips to smooch.  And then we will go back to our winter arrangement.

Contract re-negotiation.

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4 comments on “Facebear

  1. You keep confirming what a zany broad you are. That is a compliment. :0) Great story. And, you may not like to hear this, but great beard too. I’ve grown one several times when I was younger and the beard was dark red or brown. Now it’s all gray and white. Marie hates it. I can never get past the “this itches like hell” stage, so I don’t grow it any more. In fact, the less hair on my chin or my head, the better. I haven’t bought any Brill Cream or Vitalis in decades. And when I wake up in the morning, I look just like I did when I went to bed. BTW, Marie and I belong to a NAMI Family to Family group. We meet to support each other as we deal with our family members with mental illness. Marie’s son, my stepson, is bipolar. I guess that’s another reason I am drawn to you and your wonderful writing. You are a real encouragement to me and I really appreciate you. Just thought I’d let you know. Hope you’re doing well.

    • I am very fortunate in that mostly my symptoms affect myself but I am excellent at hiding it. Having a riotous sense of humor has saved me time and again. One cannot get too depressed when one sees the funny in life. Although, the last two months have been hard. I have hid from life, not that WP knows as all these posts were pre-scheduled a long time ago. I only dip my head in for a couple minutes a week then go hide again. But it is getting better now, and my pre-post line up is slowly dwindling, so I will come back to life in the near future. I love this story, and it has certainly made the rounds. Brent is a good sport to tolerate me poking fun at him.

  2. Aww in loved that! My Mum always goes on at my Dad to shave his moustache and beard but he says no. Its part of who he is now and its all I’ve ever known him as 🙂

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