Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Don't Whack That Mole

I don't usually read articles about Beauty. They can be hard on your wallet. Still, the one in the paper recently about achieving lush brows caught my eye.

There are lots of beauty articles. They're there to keep the ads for beauty products from running together. I ignore them. Play Up Your Cheekbones! Not applicable. I'd need joint compound and a Sharpie. Best Swim Suits For Your Body Type! Got it. Something in a split-level, with an awning and good foundation plantings. A Firmer Bottom In Ten Steps! No thanks. My bottom is plenty firm and it took way, way more than ten steps.

But I read the whole lush eyebrows article. I never had lush eyebrows, but at least I had eyebrows. My mom told me I was lucky to have them, because she didn't. Since I take after my mom, I should have taken that as a warning.

Because one day I noticed they had gone away. No note or anything. I don't  know if they got paler, fell out, or just rode the last estrogen bus out of town. One day they simply weren't there; I looked like Mrs. Potato Head between renovations. Now obviously it couldn't have happened overnight, but I hadn't noticed. That's kind of normal, that lack of attention. It's why some men spend more time on their hair the less they have. Bit by bit their hair falls out and doesn't come back, and day by day they attempt to patch things up, until after a few years they have a routine that produces an effect everyone finds highly comical. But they keep doing it. Don't they realize how it looks? They do not. When you're coping with hair loss one day at a time, every day requires a new affirmation that you have things under control. I used to work with a guy who parted his hair just above his right ear and glued the longest strands over the top of his head. It's his last battle. He parted his hair a little further down the mountain every year and sent the troops charging up, but in time the forces were depleted. Now they don't even make it to the top of the hill. One day all he'll have to send to the fight is mercenary ear hair.

Another fellow on my mail route was well into his dapper nineties and still spent the better part of each morning creating his coif out of optimism, red dye and back hair. He had eighteen long strands at the base of his neck and he motivated them with antique hair gel and sent them up his nape and over his crown, where they sat curled up on his forehead like a thin, damp rat. I admired him, I really did. He just wanted to look nice, and everyone who looked at him smiled back, hard, so he knew he was doing a good job.

I, too, for a while, was able to imagine I still had eyebrows, because if I rumpled my brow into little hills, the shadow they cast mimicked the original equipment. As a woman, I don't have that much of an eyebrow ridge. It's the men who have a prominent jutting forehead, part of the original gorilla kit they still enjoy. I've only got enough of a ridge to fluff my remaining eyebrows. For years now they've strung themselves out up on that hill, brave, thin little soldiers peering out over the landscape, only to be picked off by sniper zits from below. Who were probably tipped off by a mole.

And I know just which mole. It's hunkered right up there on the eyebrow ridge, and I've had it all my life. There was always a little nubble under the skin, but it wasn't anything anyone noticed. At least I don't remember it casting a shadow before. I don't remember it getting in the way when I watched TV, or sending out for its own pizza. The only thing I can conclude is that the mole ate my eyebrows. If we sliced it with a lancet, fur would fly. I'm afraid to have it removed.

So I read the whole article hoping for a revelation. Apparently the key to achieving lush eyebrow growth--you'll want to jot this down--is to quit pulling them out. You need to get all your brow hairs on the same growth cycle, because otherwise the ones you want will stay underground in case you were planning to tweeze them too. They're very sensitive that way. Mine are presumably so sensitive they react to other people's eyebrows being plucked, because I've certainly never done it. Also, in extreme cases, you can have a transplant of your own hair into your brow. This could work out. You know, depending on the source.

As far as I'm concerned, we missed a genetic bet not crossing Frida Kahlo with Martin Scorcese. Their descendants would have to mow their foreheads, but for the sake of humanity, it would have been worth it.

75 comments:

  1. My father had such luxuriant eyebrows that if bored (say at dinner parties) he could plait them as a subtle hint to my mother that she should evict the dinner guests or make noises about them leaving.
    I am grateful not to have inherited that gene.

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    1. I'm guessing some of the guests left on their own.

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  2. I never plucked mine but found within the last year or so that I have one hair on each brow that wants to grow long and go it's own way. I tried to tame them to no avail. They now get plucked when I notice them doing their own thing. Poor little hairs. :o)

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    1. Me too ! Only I only have one on one side that goes north. All the others are well behaved. I fear that the future will have all the behaviors dropping out and i'll be left with just the one.

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    2. And, as we have seen, if you have one long enough, you can train it right over the ridge. No one will know.

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  3. I was always satisfied with my eyebrows, groomed them myself, mind you. Then, while the chemo was making me as bald as the day I was born, they eyebrows disappeared. Everything I tried to re-create the look left me looking like Mr. Spock.

    Well, the chemo ended more than seven years ago, and the hair on my head made a modest reappearance. The eyebrows, for some reason, only partially returned. I can see where they are, so I can dab a little color in the bald spots.

    On the other hand, I have these new hairs on my chin. Do you think they migrated from my eyebrows?

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    1. Absolutely. They went underground, lay low for a while, and then found a new place to mount an attack. That's why it's called "amBUSH."

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  4. Long ago I would tweeze my eyebrows, it hurt a lot, so I stopped. Now I notice they are a little on the bushy side but nothing like your new look. Very... interesting, Murr. How's it working out? :-)

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    1. Everyone's smiling at me, hard, so good!

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  5. Let me get this straight, bushy brows are now in...but bald or "landing strip" is expected down under. Who is making this crap up??

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    1. Landing strip. Nature took care of mine. Instead of the mohawk look in favor, I'm rockin' a Capuchin monk down there. TMI?

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  6. I have eyebrows, but they are so pale and thin that they are invisible. For a few months I spent money to have them dyed and shaped, and I liked the effect, but geese - it was MONEY and I was spending it on vanity. I could have been spending it on chocolate or yarn or fat quarters at JoAnne's.

    So now I use eyeshadow to darken the sparse, pale hairs on my brow. The good thing about eyeshadow is that you can blur the edges, so with a fair amount of smudging, I can achieve a balanced look. When I use eyebrow pencil, I always wind up looking like I just saw a rat.

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    1. Also, my dear, your eyebrows are so far off the ground that I can't even see them from down here.

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  7. I imagine one of these mornings I too will wake up to find that my eyebrows have taken a vacation without me. At present I have two half eyebrows crowned at the peaks by a tangle of longer hairs that give the impression of devils horns. Thanks Dad. There's no point in me trying to recreate the missing with a brush and powder, I'm just not that artistic.

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    1. In cases like that, you should play to your strengths. Get some gel on those babies and start staring people down.

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  8. In the '70's, I had a professor I liked a lot who had very thinning hair. One day, he came into class in a comb-over that darn near sucked the air out of the room. He must have heard us or felt it, as he never did it again. But, alas, it was too late. I was never able to imagine again what I had previously had no trouble imagining.

    May I maintain enough self-respect to never pencil in an Entire eyebrow that's gone missing. This is a practice that should be avoided. Perhaps my plucking of chin hairs will encourage them to move elsewhere. Places where they're needed.

    I wear bangs, which does have some camouflaging abilities.

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    1. I also remember a professor that I thought was real cute. He was a hippie, in his forties (older man!), and one day we went up on the roof of the physics building (don't ask) and the wind took his hair right off his head in one hinged piece. I had no idea it was a combover. Kind of ruined things for me.

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  9. I've had lush eyebrow growth for much of my life, which I never liked because it made me look neanderthalish. Thus, I have resorted to tweezing my eyebrows to better pass as a homo sapien.

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  10. I had a unibrow in junior high, and I fully expect it to wreak horrible revenge on me in later life for its plucking.

    And hey, you missed Leonid Brezhnev for the winner of the "topiary eyebrows" category. Back in the day, my friends and I used to say anybody with furry forehead foliage had "Brezhnev Brows".

    P.S. Do not Google that term unless you want to see a photo of a flabby, shirtless L.B. talking on the phone. True story. You can thank me now.

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  11. My husband told me that his hair cutter had asked if he would like his brows trimmed and he said NO....Good God, why? His look like cockroaches-they are so full and each brow has two even longer hairs sticking out---just like antennae on a roach. His grandfather once grew a mustache and it came in red, even though his head hair was brown. So his grandmother used her tiny needlepoint scissors and cut off one half of his mustache while he was asleep. He had no choice but to cut off the other half and never grow facial hair again. I'm tempted to do the same-just trim over one eye.

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    1. I'm tempted to have you do that too, and then come back and tell us what kind of reactions you get. Run along now!

      (PS if I took off one eyebrow, I'm afraid no one would notice.)

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  12. That is you, right in the first picture? You were/are adorable! What a beautiful girl ... ahhh youth

    I still have eyebrows and not only have I gotten chin hairs in m'old age but throat hairs? what in the living breathing hell has to happen to make one grow THROAT hairs? And... it's only when I'm scratching my throat and holding the chicken skin up that I feel something and blast! it a hair! ~ on my throat?! sigh

    But you know what's funny? I just realized that I no longer have toe hair.... I mean I used to shave the hair on my big toe as I shaved my legs.

    So... what does this mean? I used to have very thick head hair ~ it is now thinning... I had thick eyebrows... they're thinning but still there... I had big toe hair --- disappeared ... I now have chin and throat hair.

    I think having a memory with hair in all its proper places ~ well, with the exception of toe hair ~ is necessary to survive in my old age. I get so tired of aging but I don't want to end it.

    I don't like your feather eyebrows... too dark. Plumes! baby Ostrich plumes... ooooo like Animal on Sesame Street but use the whiter part.

    thanks for the morning diversion... ;)

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    1. CAROLYN SHAVES HER TOES! CAROLYN SHAVES HER TOES!

      Ahh youth indeed. I didn't think I was cute and now I'm wondering what I was complaining about.

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  13. Timely article... turns out this very serious medical condition came up on "The Doctors" TV show this very week! Turns out that plucking one's eyebrows causes them to NOT grow back after a while. The team of four doctors on the show consulted and conferred then agreed! Ain't science grand?

    Oddly enough, though, the cure for the plucked eyebrow lady was rendered by non other than a tattoo artist. Must be boring, but regular, work for practitioners of that profession.

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    1. Bleah. I have always thought it would be nice to have my ankles tattooed argyle, though.

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  14. I jealously guard my eyebrows as they are integral to my more interesting facial expressions. :-)

    Pearl

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    1. Don't get a guard mole, though. Can't trust 'em.

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  15. I haven't found that plucking hair out causes them to permanently leave. I have a few on my chin that I have been pulling out for years, and they just keep returning. They would be good candidates for eyebrow replacements some day, I suppose.

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  16. The crossing of Martin Scorcese and Frida Kahlo? I am thinking it would be something Scorched & Fried. (I feel so terrible today and needed that one pun to lift me off my deathbed.)

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    1. That one almost flu over my head. Feel better, sweetie.

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    2. The flu was last week, my recent terribleness was self induced, which I jokingly blamed partially on the pigs in the game Angry Birds. Yesterday I was a good boy though, and saved the day with my trusty sidekick carpenter friend as we replaced the nearly catastrophic hot water heater. At least our renters at the business can now get back to cutting hair, we wouldn't want to have a bunch of little old ladies running around town with their hair un-fixed-up-ward-ly, especially on a weekend. Oh, I did read the wikipedia article on Frida, quite interesting. She had a tragic vehicle accident that shattered her body, resulting in so many operations, pain, and eventually no children.

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  17. The lady who cuts my hair also trims my eyebrows which tend to stick out in all directions. She also trims my ear hair. Nose hair is left to me. I braid it.

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    1. I won't ask what you use for the little clamp-beads at the ends.

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  18. Mine tend to be like Andy Rooney's were. My wife insists I trim them, but if i didn't I know they would keep my feet dry in a rainstorm.

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    1. Yeah, she's right though. I didn't think Gregory Peck would ever start to look bad, but he was undone by rampaging eyebrows. Did you ever see that BodyWorlds show where they plastinate people? They usually leave in the eyeballs and stick the original eyebrows and lips over the musculature. I think Andy Rooney would be completely recognizable.

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  19. Brow-beating yourself and your readers again in your blog? Elaine M.

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  20. *snork* Ah, I envy your faint and whispery eyebrows. As I've gotten older, mine have gone from "really-should-tweeze bushy" to "WTF thick and scraggly" to "where's my weed-whacker?!? bristly" - no one ever told me that gals could suffer some of that Andy Rooney effect. On the positive side, my husband's close-up vision ain't what it used to be, so he still thinks I'm cute. ;-)

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    1. So do I. Maybe they'll develop a thatcher?

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  21. Eyebrows, chins, necks, ears. What millions could be ours to determine the secret of that growth in order to replace that comb-over/up. Let's write the grant proposal. I'll donate the eyebrow and chin hairs. Husband has the head available for the top testing.

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    1. Not to be a One-Note Nelly, but can we start the research with ground CEO penis?

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  22. I'm aghast. I never knew I had to worry about my eyebrows disappearing. I used to tweeze, but only that middle bit, and sure enough eventually it stopped growing back across the bridge of my nose. Now I'll be peering into the mirror every morning waiting for the horror of bare brow ridges to strike me. Nobody has mentioned armpits---it could stop growing there and I'd never miss it. (Why do we have ANY hair, now that I think of it? Its distribution pattern in most humans isn't of much use, is it?)

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    1. Well, the various lice colonies are fond of it. (File under Personal Ecology.)

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  23. It's the men who have a prominent jutting forehead, part of the original gorilla kit they still enjoy.

    We do NOT enjoy it! That's why we only date each other when each other looks like you guys.

    P.S. No offense intended to those who do wish they had the gorilla kit or to those who do still enjoy it, or to those who envy it.

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    1. I don't guess I envy it. All I have is the shambling gait and the butt-scratching.

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  24. I have eyebrows but the hair is close to clear so what good are they??

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    1. I'm trying to come up with a function for see-through hair. I'll get back to you.

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  25. I think one of the best comments I ever got was on a blog post about one of my Mohs surgeries with graphic photos. An anonymous guy wrote that I had the most lovely, lush Vulcan eyebrows he'd ever seen. And it's true- they are thick and look exactly like Spock's. So you see? There's something beautiful about every face and that's a right fine mole you have.

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    1. You do have one terrific face. And thanks about my mole. But should my mole have its own face? And underwear drawer?

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  26. Jumping jeebus jehosaphats. Fuck. I'm wheezing from the crud and you. So, mine have sort of blonded/grayed themselves into semi-anonymity, too. Except for the end parts which stick out rudely. Plus! I have a couple regrowing in the middle. What the hell? Do I remove the sticker outers? And then have those weird truncated brows? Or do I get another glass of wine?

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    1. That's good medicine. I think you know where I stand.

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  27. Mine have always been so blonde as to be transparent. When I was a teenager I drew them on with an eyebrow pencil that might as well have been a Crayola for the effect I got.

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    1. I was distinctly visualizing a saucy dark redhead here, but blonde you say? Is that the only part of you that's blonde? Inquiring minds want to tease.

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  28. Eyebrows...*sigh* I have always had the "Do you have eyebrows? Wait, Yes! I do see something there!" eyebrows.
    They hardly have any hairs and the few there are so light in color. I have never plucked them EVER!
    I like Roxie's idea and may try it!

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    1. Well. I've always avoided makeup on the theory that if you're trying to play up something you don't have, it sort of emphasizes that you don't have it. I have tiny close-set eyes and when I used liner on them it always looked like when the city spray-paints the little potholes it doesn't plan to fill in.

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    2. You mean the ones you just lost your car in? ...that go only halfway to China, since they're good-ole A-murr-uh-kin potholes?

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  29. I like this post. "Gorilla kit" got me. Also the part about the sexy prof whose roof lifted. That's some pic of you as a budding Murr. Lush! Use that as your FB and Blogger profile photo, see what happens...
    You have quite a misplaced hair confessional going here in the comments section. What a hoot your readers are!
    I was my dad's designated eyebrow trimmer. His spilled over top of his glasses in red and silver cascades if I fell behind. I think that's a Scots-Irish thing. I got the transparent brow thing. They're there but they're clear. Finding just the right shade of pencil so I don't "look like I've just seen a rat" is still tricky. Roxie, I love that!! and the tip about using eyeshadow instead of pencil is rat on.

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    1. I don't know. If I ever start taking the paint to my face, I'm going to be tempted to paint in a whole new person. It's better to just not start. Cheaper, anyway. Julie, you should meet Roxie. Kick in the pants.

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  30. I know what you mean, one day the brows are just gone. Or in my case, present but invisible from 2 inches away. Sadly, the same thing is happening to my lashes, and mascara isn't adhering like it used to. And mascara has always been my favorite bit of glam. Sigh.

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    1. Eyelashes are a whole different story. They really need to be in close proximity to each other to hang a legitimate slab of mascara on them. I have two per lid. All they ever did for me was remind me every now and then that I wore hard contact lenses.

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  31. I'm so thrilled that the latest, youngest trend is shaving eyebrows so they can paint them on. What a relief. I can skip to part 2 and be in style. Now if I could find furry paint.

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    1. Furry paint! You've got a winner there: start inventing!

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  32. I have bushy eyebrows, and the lady that cuts my hair always wants to wax them. I'm saying hell to the no after reading this!

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    1. You mean Snidely Whiplash eyebrows? Fire her.

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  33. By the time I reached "mercenary ear hair", I was smiling loudly indeed :)

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  34. Wow... and here I thought I was the only one! I have 7 hairs on one side and 11 on the other. And then there are the teeny tiny sparse eyelashes, maybe a total of 15 between the two eyes. I was wondering why I was looking paler and realized it was the lack of eye 'hair'. And no manner of pencils, goop or color changes to look for the better. Getting older and hairless is very humbling. And we won't even go onto feet, the one area I thought I had cornered the market on... thought I had the cutest feet... toe fungus! Geesh... lucky Jerry loves me the way I am.... Love the post Mary!

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    1. Well, you're still gorgeous, Anne. That could be it.

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  35. I recall my grandmother sharing conspiratorially that one day 'you just don't have to shave your legs anymore' like it was some great gift of turning 80. If this would come to my chin a little sooner I'd appreciate it. Especially since my close-up eyesight has to be coaxed into functionality with the removal of my glasses.

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    1. I use modern technology. I turn on PhotoBooth on my Mac and find the whiskers and pull.

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  36. In the photos with your "new" brows, you look remarkably like Jennifer Connelly. Since she's widely regarded as a beauty (comme vous!), there's no reason for me to tell you I'm always a little creeped out when I look at her.

    Because I wasn't AT ALL creeped out when I looked at those pix of you there.

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    1. Some people can pull off a look like that, and some can't.

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