Sideburns

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Ambrose_Everett_Burnside.jpg
General Ambrose Burnside, whom sideburns were presumably named after

Sideburns are facial hair in front of the ears. They were originally called burnsides, probably after General Ambrose Burnside. His hairstyle, now commonly known as mutton-chops, connected thick sideburns via the mustache but left the chin clean-shaven.

Sideburns may end at mid-ear level; they may end at the earlobe; or they may extend downward and follow the jawline, nearly meeting at the chin. They can be slender or wide, clipped closely or allowed to grow bushy. They can end in points, or bluntly, and be either cut squarely or flared wide, following the hairline on the upper cheek. They can be worn alone, or in combination with a mustache or a goatee. However, when they extend from ear to ear via the chin, the sideburns are merely part of the beard, and thus are not known as such.

Indigenous men of Mexico, who shave their heads and wear their sideburns long, as well as Colombians, who wear their sideburns long and typically do not have any other facial hair, are said to be wearing balcarrotas.

Today

Sideburns are stereotypically associated with redneck culture. David Spade's sideburns defined the trailer trash style of Joe Dirt (2001). For most of the 20th Century sideburns were very rarely seen, until they surged in popularity in the 1970s, usually complementing the longer hair styles of the period and sometimes accompanied by moustaches--all influenced by the hippie fashions of the 1960s. Sideburns also made a brief comeback in the 1990s from the television show Beverly Hills 90210. In an amusing parody of New York Yankees policy, in The Simpsons Mr. Burns repeatedly ordered Don Mattingly to "get rid of those sideburns", even though he doesn't have any. Eventually, Mattingly shaves a ring around his scalp from one ear across to the next, anywhere a sideburn could possibly be. Mr. Burns reacted as though Mattingly was insane and threw him off the team.

Men known for their sideburns

See also

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