Saturday, May 17, 2008

How now, eyebrow?

So I'm at one of the thousands of nail salons in my 'hood the other day, getting a $5 manicure when the nail technician (and I use that term loosely here as I'm sure she's an indentured slave on loan from Vietnam) says, "you wan eyebrow wax too?"

"Um, no thanks. Why? Do I need an eyebrow wax?"

"You try. You like. Eyebrow wax make look better."

"No, I like my eyebrows the way they are. Thanks for offering, though."

As she put the finishing touches on my manicure, I kept thinking about her offer. Were my eyebrows in that desperate need of trimming? Was I that offensive to look at?

The nail drying machine was, of course, situated right in front of a mirrored wall so I had plenty of time to contemplate the eyebrows while my polish dried. No, I concluded after careful inspection, I was not Groucho Marx. The nail tech offered it, I rationalized, out of some forced labor agreement with the head salonista.

As I drove home, I kept looking in the rearview mirror at my brows, thinking about their evolution from wild untamed redwoods as a youth to landscaped lines of auburn as an adult:

When I got home, I found a photo of me pre-plucking (damn you, Tweezerman!) p.s. how is it that I was pastier living in South FL than I am now in NYC?

And now, at the urging of my man, I've been trying to return the brows to their natural state. But like the Florida Everglades at the incompetent mercy of the Army Corps of Engineers, it's hard to restore something that's been fucked with beyond recognition.

See, I was blessed with the burly British genes of my father (who has one large caterpillar on his face for eyebrows) so unlike many women, my brows grow thick and fierce. I'm incredulous that I now have to pencil in what was once naturally there. And yet I'm still addicted to plucking -- in my plight to grow them back, it's hard to resist the urge to remove stray hairs.

Why is it that as we grow into adult women, we feel the need to remove what's natural and add what's not? I never saw my Mom plucking her eyebrows and yet it's something I eventually came to do in my early 20's. How did facial hair get such a bad rap? Men? Media influences? [shrug]

Don't get me wrong: Although I shop at health food stores and eat flax seed regularly, I'm no Birkenstockette. I'm not about grow the unibrow back. There are some things I can't allow to grow on my face. With a Dad whose beard rivals the Gorton Fisherman's, I'm just grateful the nail tech didn't ask "you wan lip wax?" too.


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