Nina In New York: Me And My Brows: A Love Story
A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.
By Nina Pajak
I am fairly certain that my daughter has inherited my eyebrows. They are shapely yet full, bringing her bright blue eyes into stark relief and lending a preternatural maturity to her range of facial expressions. One day, she will be grateful to have been blessed with a lush canvas with which the right aesthetician can work her artistry, but there lies rocky terrain between now and then.
Middle school is going to be rough.
In case you missed it, bushy brows are back en vogue, and women everywhere are going to extremes to catch up. As The New York Times reported on Wednesday, they’re trying everything from Rogaine to pills to stimulate hair growth, to costly brow transplant surgery, extensions, even “eyebrow wigs.” These are the women who fell prey to that lamentable 1990s fad: the pencil-thin eyebrow. They plucked, they waxed, they penciled, and now they’re left bald-faced and broken-hearted. Curse you, Tragic Kingdom-era Gwen Stefani! Curse you, entire female cast of Beverly Hills 90210! How you led them astray.
They look at my daughter’s precocious brows with envy, but only I know the trouble that lies ahead. Before bushy brows can be a blessing, they must be a curse. Around the time that she hits her awkward stride, they will begin to grow unruly, perhaps even flirt dangerously with a forbidden meeting in the middle. They will weigh her down. They will make her feel self conscious. They will make her look like a middle-aged Armenian woman, as the father of my similarly afflicted friend once tactfully pointed out.
Hopefully, the bushy look will remain popular by the time all this happens to my girl. I was not so lucky, having come of age during the heyday of the tiny eyebrow trend. Girls all around me were plucking their faces clean and drawing in ill-placed lines that made them look beady-eyed and perpetually astonished. As much as I loathed my embarrassingly heavy brows, I knew this couldn’t be the route for me. I may have been weak when it came to neon polyester and the Spice Girls, but I stayed strong in the face of this particular overwhelming peer pressure and I will always be glad that I do not now find myself in need of a “face merkin.”
Unfortunately for my kid, I’ve made the advance decision to withhold information regarding proper care and trimming of eyebrows in case her awkward phase isn’t quite devastating enough. It’s not that I want her to suffer, it’s just that there’s a certain amount of character building that comes from looking like Shrek for a couple of formative years. It forces you to develop a personality, a sense of humor, a hobby or two. I couldn’t live with myself if I let my tween in on the mystical secrets of the aestheticians before she’s truly ready to use that knowledge responsibly.
Maybe I am eyebrow obsessed after years of complex and tormented self-loathing (I am). Perhaps I place too much importance on the role the eyebrow plays on the appearance of a person’s face (I don’t). But if the eyes are the windows to the soul, what does that make the eyebrows? That’s right, the curtains. The eyebrows are the curtains to the soul. Or perhaps more accurately, they’re the valances. But you know, the meaning remains the same. They are the treatments with which you decorate your soul-windows. That sounds important! It is important. These things cannot be taken lightly. Just ask one of the girls smearing Propecia on her face right now, and she’ll tell you the same.
Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!