In the arrogance of my youth I made what I call ‘The Eyebrow Pact’ with my best friend Reba. By arrogance and youth, I mean in my twenties when I thought I knew everything and when all my body parts were where they were supposed to be, nothing was sagging, dragging, drooping or sprouting indiscriminate hairs. It was also when I thought that I had forever before anything would begin to sag, drag, droop or sprout. The pact went something like this: if ever I thought about shaving my eyebrows off so that I could draw them back on with an eyebrow pencil, I was to tell Reba so that she would talk me out of it and vice versa. It was something we pinky-swore over which meant it was serious. I mean really serious. You don’t pinky-swear over some itty bitty little thing.
What were the reasons behind making ‘The Eyebrow Pact’ you wonder? Well, I descend from a long line of females who, at some point in their lives, decided to shave their eyebrows off and then draw them back on with an eyebrow pencil. When I was younger, I could not for the life of me figure out why they would do that. It was one thing to shave leg and arm pit hairs because any mistakes made there could be easily covered up with clothing. But eyebrows? What happens when you shave one off and then discover that it was a mistake? You are then committed to shaving the other one off in order to even things out. There is no way out of this and no way of covering up any mistakes with clothing.
And drawing them back on? I could not even begin to understand that. Where do you start? How do you make sure that the brows are even? How do you ensure that the pencil lines stay on all day? It just did not make sense to me.
In addition to thinking that I knew everything back then, I also thought that it would take forever before I was the age at which my relatives began shaving their eyebrows. Remember when we thought anyone over 40 was old? Well, here I am now at the tender age of 52 and things are sagging, dragging, drooping and sprouting indiscriminate hairs. With this age comes the realization that I knew absolutely nothing back then (the jury is still out on whether I know anything now); I was never invincible and, well, if I had known then what I know now, then I more than likely would never have made such a flippant pact with Reba. Hindsight is, as they say, 20/20.
I remember Reba and me engaging in animated discussions about women who shaved their eyebrows. Why do they do it? Is there a template they follow to draw them back on? Do they stick with one eyebrow pencil colour or do they change colours to reflect their moods? What if they’re happy but have drawn their eyebrows on in an angry arch? Do they wipe them off and try again or do they just leave them that way? What if they drew them on in an angry arch because they were angry at the time but now are happy? Do they run to the washroom and wipe them off and then draw them on in a happy curve? What is it that they don’t like about their eyebrows that drives them to shave them off in the first place? What purpose do eyebrows even serve? And so on.
Since then, I have shared my “Eyebrow Pact” with other friends along the way. Some wanted to join the pact, others just laughed at me thinking that it would never happen to them (Ha! I bet they are rethinking the pact now). Some, like my friend, Missy Doodles, also descended from a long line of eyebrow shavers and were terrified of following in their footsteps. Others, like Waltzing Matilda, just wanted to belong to a pact; it didn’t really matter what it was, she just wanted to belong. “Will there be monthly meetings?” she once asked. Another friend wanted to know what kind of safeguards would be set in place to stop someone from shaving off their eyebrows. “Do we have a sponsor we can call?” By the time we were all approaching our fifties, the pact was getting very serious.
This is not to say that I have anything against those who shave their eyebrows. As I get older and wiser (hopefully, anyway), I am more of the thinking that ‘to each their own’ is how it should be for all of us. You want to shave your eyebrows off? Have at it. Just don’t expect me to follow suit. From what I can tell, the reasons are varied why some people shave their eyebrows. For some, it serves as a form of expression. For others, they get tired of plucking, tweezing, waxing, threading or whatever method they used to maintain their eyebrows and just say ‘to heck with it, I’m shaving these hateful jeezers off!” Some have over plucked and, ‘poof’, the eyebrows were gone before they knew what had happened. One person I knew preferred to have her eyebrows tattooed on for posterity while another person was just plain unhappy with what God gave her so she decide to start over for herself. And then there’s me.
I now fully and completely understand why some of the females in my family have shaved and continue to shave off their eyebrows. They were driven mad by the hormonal changes menopause threw at them and, in particular, the effects those changes had on their eyebrows.
Here are the changes that I have noticed to my hateful jeezers since menopause began laughing in my face:
- The eyebrow hairs are wiry and uncontrollable. How eyebrows suddenly have a mind of their own, I do not know. They are like strong-willed children who do what they want regardless of how many ‘time outs’ they have had.
- The hairs like to stand up on end. Nothing I do will make them lay back down with possibly the exception of glue, lots and lots of glue. Not that I would do it but one never knows what they would do in a moment of desperation. (Note to self: make sure never to have Krazy Glue at my disposal. That would be BAD.) Also, plucking the ‘stand at attention’ hair is not an option for I cannot afford to lose another hair. My eyebrows are both losing and growing hairs where they should not be doing so.
- The hairs are growing above, below, to the side of, and in between the natural eyebrows themselves. In short, they have gone rogue. How can eyebrow hairs be growing over by my temples or well above the brow itself? Are they unhappy with their present location and want to relocate?
- Without plucking the wayward hairs, I could easily grow a uni-brow. I kid you not. This is a true story.
- By the time I finish plucking, tweezing, fine tuning the second eyebrow, the first one has gotten out of control again. This is not an exaggeration. Come spend a week with me and I’ll show you.
- I can only see said wiry, stand up-ish, out of control, wayward, rogue hateful jeezers when using a magnifying mirror. Not only are my eyebrows betraying me, my eyes are too. No longer can I see anything up close without reading glasses or a magnifying mirror.
Here are the options I see before me:
- Avoid looking in the mirror. Extreme but perhaps necessary. I also wouldn’t notice the peach fuzz growing along my jaw line nor would I notice the princess glitter look of blonde hairs growing above my lip. I will not explore this menopausal facial hair realm right now as it will provide much fodder for another post.
- Avoid letting anyone within an eyebrow radius of my face. I may lose friends this way but it is a risk I would be willing to take. I could carry a ruler guide with me pointing out the correct distance a person must maintain from my eyebrows OR I could have my own eyebrow security team who would ensure that no one cross over the eyebrow radius. (Personal message me if you would like to apply for a position on my eyebrow security team. Keep in mind that the pay is poor [none] but you would be guaranteed to go on one hell of an adventure with me.)
- Enlist the help of someone younger and with better eyesight to do a weekly check and pluck. I had first thought I would get Sauerkraut to help me but I had forgotten that he is five years older than me and his eyes betrayed him way before mine did. He is of no help here. (Again, personal message me if you would like to apply as my eyebrow assistant keeping in mind the aforementioned statement about there being no pay but an incredible opportunity to have some fun.)
- Google hair removal options such as waxing, threading, laser, gel wand eyebrow shaper, natural homemade concoctions and whatever else is out there for removing rogue hairs. Who am I kidding? This is not going to happen; it’s just too much reading about things that do not really interest me. I need someone to explain the options to me and outline the pros and cons of each option. (Hmmmmm, perhaps personal eyebrow assistant could research this for me??)
- Shave the jeezers off. While I believe the shaving part would be easy, it’s the drawing of the eyebrows back on that would be the challenge. Without a template to follow, I would be at a loss how to draw them back on. Add to that the odd MS hand tremor I take and, well, you get the picture. They wouldn’t be very pretty. Plus, I am fairly certain that I would forget that I had drawn them on and, at some point during the day, I would likely smudge the brow with my fingers leaving disjointed eyebrows, much like the lines on a highway signifying safe passing of another vehicle.
So what’s a girl to do? Well, honour The Eyebrow Pact, of course. Even though the pact was made flippantly some thirty years ago, I would never have made it then had I not held my eyebrows in the high esteem they deserve. Eyebrows have a serious function which is thought to prevent sweat, water and other debris from falling down into the eyes. If I were to shave them off, goodness knows what kind of stuff would be falling in my eyes. What if a bird was flying overhead and dropped a doodoo bomb onto my forehead and I only had a pencil line to stop it? There would be no stopping it, that’s what; the bomb doodoo would slide right down into my eyes which, as you can imagine, would be downright disgusting. The thought of that alone happening is deterrent enough for me.
I also believe that eyebrows are important for the sole purpose of communication and facial expression. A thin pencil line would not express the ‘evil eye’ that I like to utilize when I am trying to make a point. Imagine trying to express shock or surprise, anger or frustration, happiness or seduction, fear or confusion, boredom or intense focus, shame or disgust, contempt or embarrassment without natural eyebrows? It just would not be the same. And forget about trying to draw on those expressions with an eyebrow pencil; I am just not that talented.
For now, I think I’ll just be happy being me, rogue hairs and all. If you need me, though, I’ll be sitting in front of my magnified mirror every two weeks, plucking and tweezing those rogue hairs as well as educating my personal assistant in all aspects of “The Eyebrow Pact”.
Anyone else want in?
New stainless steel slant tweezers: 1
Urge to shave eyebrows: 0 (not yet anyway)