I Done Been Shaped

I headed to the nail salon on my way out of town for a pre-BlogHer manicure. It’s like the pre-prom manicure. For one day a year it’s nice to pay $20 to your Korean fairy godmother and pretend that you are a dainty specimen of femininity who always has perfectly painted pink fingernails and has never heard of a cuticle.

I personally find the trimming of the cuticle very perplexing. Why has that portion of skin been determined to be unacceptable? No one goes around trimming off the spare wrinkly skin from their elbow pit every time it grows back. We just assume that if the skin’s there, it’s supposed to be.

Every time I go in for a manicure once a year I notice various “waxing” services on the price list. I begin feeling sad about my eyebrows. They are one part of my personal grooming that seem like they should be easy to take care of but I am terrified to start plucking or allow someone else to do it.

Since it was the day before I would speak at a conference and meet hundreds of new people, it seemed like a good time to make a drastic life and beauty change. Without looking up, I mumbled to my esthetician that I’d like to get my eyebrows “done.”

“Get them done” like it was something I did every day or every 28 years.

“Sure,” she said as she skillfully applied white paint to the tips of my nails.

I started to have second thoughts. What if they did something crazy? What if I ended up looking semi-permanently deranged, angry or quizzical? I looked up at the girl who had just helped me lose 3 lbs of excess cuticle and was about to transform the whole look of my face. She had no eyebrows.

Okay. That’s an exaggeration. She had a line of hairs above each eye, outlined with a single stroke of brown liner which was thicker than the actual brow.

I started to panic.

“Um… so I just want a little off my eyebrows. Nothing drastic. I’ve never done this before and I’m really nervous. I’d rather take off too little than too much. Let’s just go easy.”

“Are you saying that because of the way my eyebrows look?”

Awkward silence.

“Because I don’t like my eyebrows either. I’ve never had eyebrows. They just grew in like this.”

And I was quiet. And she shaped me and plucked me and they actually looked quite lovely for a few days.

At first I kept up with the lawn maintenance, tweezers in hand each night, quickly snagging up any little guy that tried to make his way back into the fold. But I’ve let it go too long and now I’m afraid, afraid I’ll pull the wrong one and end up lopsided or with the apparent derangement of which I spoke previously.

I remember Amalah once talking about how eyebrows were the one thing you needed to keep up because if you had nice eyebrows but no makeup you look like you’re running late but if you have crazy overgrown brows, you look like you just don’t care.

So for about 4 weeks of my entire life, I looked like I cared and now I’m wondering if I care enough to continue to look like I do…

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