The other night my husband and I were watching Gator Boys. All those Downton Abbey fans are missing out. Guys catching and kissing gators are so much more fun to watch than a bunch of stuffy upper-crusters catching and kissing each other.
Anyway, a commercial came on, and the woman who was trying to sell me something had lovely eyebrows. Perfectly plucked and expertly colored arches. Just in case you didn't know, I kind of have a thing about eyebrows. Because mine are all mine. Original. Peer-pressure-lessly unplucked for the most part.
Sure, I'll pull out a few kooky ones on occasion. And though I'm blessed to not have a unibrow, I do yank a few out between my eyes now and then just to be certain.
I never thought much about my eyebrows until about 7th grade. I was walking down the deserted hallway in my middle school with a girl I didn't know too well. Don't ask me why we weren't in class or better yet, why we were together. It's classified information. But there we were, strolling along, when she says, "You know, you'd probably be the prettiest girl in school, if you plucked your eyebrows."
I laughed in an awkward I'm-not-sure-if-that-was-a-compliment-or-an-insult kind of way, and our conversation moved on. But I couldn't stop thinking about what she'd said. I would only be pretty if I plucked my brows. I wasn't pretty because I had eyebrows. I had a bushy, ugly eyebrow problem.
Don't go blaming my parents -- it wasn't their fault I had a bushy, ugly eyebrow problem. Sure, they are the ones who gave me the bushy, ugly eyebrow genes, but my mom had offered repeatedly to train me in the ancient art of self-torture. She was an eyebrow-fu master in her glory days. Except for that one time she accidentally plucked one eyebrow and not the other one before her yearbook pictures. Aside from that, she was a woman I could trust when it came to beauty tricks and tips.
But I didn't want to pluck. For whatever reason, I was attached to my eyebrows. They were part of me. It was like, I was that girl with the eyebrows.
There was this little rebellious side of me that said, "Hey, just because Seventeen Magazine says a girl should pull all of her eyebrows out, smile through the pain, and then draw them back on with a pencil, doesn't mean I have to do it, too." I didn't want to be everyone else. Even if doing so would make me the prettiest girl in the school.
Maybe it was Liz Taylor's fault. Or Audrey Hepburn's. Could be Brooke Shields. Or maybe it was the fact that boys still seemed to like me despite my upper-eye facial hair. I couldn't see what the problem with natural brows was.
So I said no. I still say no. Even though I'm certain that lots of woman today look at me and cringe as they think, "You'd be much prettier if you'd pluck your eyebrows."
When I saw this woman on the commercial -- the one with the perfectly plucked and expertly colored arches -- I said to nobody in particular, "She has really nice eyebrows." Because they were. And I can still admire them, even if I choose to let mine grow free-range.
"They're not real," my husband said.
I shrugged. "They're still pretty."
"But they aren't real," he said again.
"I know. But they are nice eyebrows."
"But they aren't real."
As the Gator Boys came back on, wrestling and kissing those alligators, I smiled. I don't have perfectly plucked and expertly colored arches. But man, I like keeping it real. It's much less painful.