A young professional’s take on the trials and tribulations of everyday life in New York City.
By Nina Pajak
I have a confession to make.
I’ve been cheating. On someone I care about. Someone who is genuinely important to my life.
It’s my eyebrow threader.
First, let me establish some facts for those unfamiliar with this particular facet of life:
Fact 1: As a woman of Eastern European descent, the artful shaping and diligent upkeep of my eyebrows is both extremely mandatory and just as delicate. An inferior brow specialist could cause damage that would mar my appearance for months until the mistake has truly grown out. On the other hand, a talented person can do wonders and is not to be taken for granted. They are rare and extremely difficult to find. Months and years can be spent searching for the perfect artiste. Most women will know what I’m talking about here.
See Also: NYC’s Cheapest Manicures And Pedicures
Fact 2: My eyebrow threader—let’s call her Annie—is a gem, hidden away in an unassuming storefront connected to a subway station. It has taken me a lifetime to find her. If you knew me when I was twelve and as-yet naive to the wonders of depilation, you would understand exactly what’s at stake here.
Fact 3: She only costs $8. I know!
I need Annie. I rely on Annie. I’m lost without her. But sometimes I have to cheat. I try my best to stay faithful, but schedules can be tough and occasionally I just need to go in for a quickie somewhere close to my apartment. Or I’m traveling and didn’t make it in to see Annie before I left. Or it simply makes sense to take advantage of eyebrow services at a different salon where I’m already getting a manicure or a haircut. It happens! Things happen! Annie, it doesn’t mean I don’t love you best. Honestly, I’m never as happy when I try someone new. I always regret not making the time to see her.
The worst part is, Annie is not the type who doesn’t notice or care. Oh, she knows. She always knows. Whenever I stray, I try my best to wait as long as possible before seeing her, so the other woman’s work is no longer visible. But I’m not fooling anyone. Her demeanor changes with these visits. She becomes cold and businesslike, non-receptive to my desperate attempts at friendly chitchat. It takes months before we get back to normal. Of course, her work never suffers. But I know that she does. And while we’re not exactly hanging out on the weekends, I like Annie a lot and I want her to like me. I want to be a favored client. This is a person who performs a painful and face-altering procedure on me. It’s not a good idea for her to think I’m a jerk.
I have no problem switching hairdressers. I don’t feel that a paying customer ought to be made to feel guilty for experimenting with other stylists. But this is different. This alliance is sacred, and if I break it for good I am going to be very sorry. I’ll do my best, but it’s so hard! Right now I’m going on four weeks with no threading because I saw someone else right before leaving on vacation. On the outside, I can barely stand the sight of myself. And on the inside, I’m consumed with guilt. It’s like the eyebrows on my soul are as overgrown as those on my face. I have to make this right. Forgive me, Annie! I’ll do anything. I can’t afford to lose you.
Relationships are so hard.
Dear Readers: While I am rarely at a loss for words, I’m always grateful for column ideas. Please feel free to e-mail me your suggestions.
Nina Pajak is a writer and publishing professional living with her husband on the Upper West Side.
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