I was blessed with a natural abundance of eyebrow; two thick, black and shapeless masses of hair hovering over my eyes. When I was in high school, I tentatively suggested that I should pluck them a bit.
My mother was appalled. In her opinion they were beautiful, perfect, dramatic, grown-women-would-kill-for-such-eyebrows-don’t-touch-them!
Well, I was flattered. Personally I thought they were excessive, but goodness, if such things were so desirable for the feminine face, far be it from me to argue! So instead of plucking, I brushed them one-hundred strokes a night, and found a clear grooming gloss to hold them in place each morning. That’s right, they were so luxuriant they required hair gel to keep them from taking over my face. I think one of them even had a cowlick.
Several years later I learned that perhaps Mom’s perspective of my eyebrows was biased.
I was with a girlfriend, enjoying a makeover. The woman providing the makeup–I’ll call her Lorinda– was temporarily silent as my friend and I practiced the application she had just demonstrated. When I put down the eye shadow brush to smooth an eye brow back into submission, Lorinda spoke up, “K, you have such beautiful eyes and nice dark brows. Have you ever considered shaping them up a bit with a professional wax job?”
Now, in my experience with make-overs, when the make-up lady begins a sentence with, “You have such beautiful…” she’s about to make a suggestion for improving said feature and it usually begins with shelling out at least $38.99.
But Lorinda’s advice had nothing to do with the products she sold. She was actually urging me toward another market.
My friend–you can call her Shelby–spoke up rather quickly, “You should give it a try, K. I’ve been waxing and plucking for years to keep my uni-brow at bay!”
Together they continued to exalt the benefits of eyebrow shaping, playing off each other’s comments as if they’d rehearsed this persuasive dialogue. It was like being back in high school and somehow discovering that all of my friends and acquaintances secretly hated my fabulous new haircut but no one had the courage (or kindness) to say anything, willing to let me saunter through school halls looking like a walking mushroom.
That’s when I began to suspect that I should have solicited a second opinion when my mother declared my eyebrows beautiful.
So I had them waxed. For a week I felt like my face was bald. But I liked it! My eyebrows were thin(ner) and shapely. And my morning cosmetics routine was more efficient by five minutes.
I’ve never gone back to the natural look and, until recently, I had forgotten what I used to look like before I welcomed wax into my life.
Three months ago when my husband and I began packing up our home to move out-of-state, I took a good look at some old photos before I shoved them into a box. There were snapshots from high school graduation, my wedding reception, and family gatherings. I was shocked at what I saw.
My eyebrows took up more space on my face that my actual eyes. I am telling you the truth. I had more eyebrow than eye!
Clearly this fact had escaped my mother’s notice. She’s not the sort to let her daughter walk out of the house looking like a muppet, or a feminine version of John Madden. I think her vision was simply blurred by motherly affection.
I couldn’t help wondering if I’ll have similar ocular difficulties as my children grow up. I have a three year-old whose exquisite blonde curls have never been cut. Will I still throw myself between her hair and a pair of scissors when she’s sixteen? Will I want to lock my children in their rooms if they suggest marring their beautiful skin with a tatoo?
I don’t know the answers to those questions. But I am certain of two things. First, my daughters can wax their eyebrows as soon as they can bear the pain. Second, love really is blind. I’ve had the eyebrows to prove it.