Eyebrow Musings


Nora Ephron felt bad about her neck (I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman, 2008). I, of late, feel bad about my eyebrows. Or not bad so much as curious. They are disappearing. We humans spend so much time and money encouraging or discouraging hair growth. We never seem to have enough in certain places, and suffer abundance in others. We are never happy with how hirsute we are.

Maybe it’s my own fault. Maybe I tweezed them too much. Beauty magazines told me it would open up my eyes and take years off my age. But then, with eyes wide open, I could clearly see Brook Shields with hers, thick and bushy. What’s a girl to do? I was getting mixed brow messages.

Yet, oddly, it’s not the hair that I tweezed that’s thinning.  It’s the stuff that I’d left in place. That I wanted there. That prevents dust from falling into my eyes.

So I’ve explored replacement options. Cosmetically speaking. No prescriptions or surgery. I am a relative naïf to all of this. At 56, I only started dying my hair a few years ago. That whole thing was a mystery to me, too. I bought my first bottle of foundation two weeks ago (I’m a face powder girl). How to sketch on skinny brows stumped me.

Go with what you know, right? I gravitated immediately to what I knew: the red Maybelline pencil that I can still see my mother holding in her right hand, her left pulling her skin gently taut, her face is close to the mirror as she sculpts her 1960’s brows. But despite trying several colors, my brows just look orange. I remind myself of Bozo the Clown. I try myriad other options: hard pencils, soft crayons, gels on mascara wands, powders, and pastes. Who knew the world needed such an array of brow-tending tools?

I settled on a nice, small NYX Cosmetics compact with a powder, a paste, a little fixing gel, and a brush and wand for application. I’m still working on my technique. I try not to look like Martin Scorcese, no matter how much I admire his work.

As I enhance what’s left of my eyebrows, I reflect. And I realize that I don’t feel so bad after all. Both Nora Ephron and my mother are gone. I lament that Nora will not produce any more of her signature insightful, quick-witted humor. I miss my mother every day in every way. However sappy it sounds, I am happy to have brows, to have a face to sit them on, and to be able to see all of it in the mirror. Learning to color them in has proved amusing. So I fully embrace my waning eyebrows, and move on to fret about something else. Like whether waxing my legs makes any sense.


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