When she told me she was leaving me I almost cried. The fact that she was ripping hair out of my face was probably a contributing factor. All the same, it was a shocking revelation to discover that the woman who managed to keep my eyebrows from uniting (like the soul mates they are) had quit and was moving to a new city.
There are people in this world who get to see us vulnerable, there are those who get to make us vulnerable and there are the ones who we pay for the privilege. This last option is a trait shared by a select few – therapists, gynecologists, and the noble brow technician are among them. But my Brow Girl is deserting her post. Anyone with any sort of troubled brow past knows how hard it can be to learn to trust again.
My rocky brow history began at boarding school, that haven of teen beautician disasters. It’s the kind of place where piercing ones ears merely involves a needle and an apple, and haircuts and dye jobs can leave a girl looking like a pink gerbil who’s just discovered the true meaning of static electricity. Despite these clear warning signs, I continued to allow fellow students near my face with a pair of tweezers. To this day, my mother still marvels that I came out on the other end with any eyebrows at all.
After embarking on a re-growth program, I then had an unfortunate run-in with a trainee beautician. You know any brow job is going badly when after half an hour the trainee has to request emergency assistance. Did you know a brow job is a team event? It’s rather disconcerting when two, then three women hover over you, and one brushes one of your eyebrows while uttering in a hushed tone, “If we comb it this way it’s not as bad.” The same trainee later burnt my sister with hot wax.
Then there were the wilderness years – spent being a shift worker, then backpacking. In both instances I sipped sangria, saw few familiar faces and avoided mirrors at all costs. It was a haggard time, and the closest I came to a uni-brow.
I finally re-surfaced, mature and seeking a strong, dependable brow relationship. It took time. One woman, upon my second visit, critiqued whoever had done my eyebrows last. When I pointed out it was her, we reached an unspoken agreement that I would not be returning to her establishment. But when you live with a man whose eyebrows are as finely crafted as Mick’s, giving up the search is not an option.
Brow Girl hasn’t been all smooth-sailing either. We’ve had to over-look each other’s flaws. She’s had to overcome a lot – the fact that my eyebrows have the hardiness of weeds that refuse to be budged, my pain threshold being lower than that of a whinging 4 year old, and my clear disdain for her taste in films. I’ve had to overcome the fact that Brow Girl is the purveyor of the most inane conversational stylings in the known world. This meant biting my tongue when she expressed shock and sorrow at my lack of Valentine’s Day plans, giving up on puns and double entendres all together (explaining my own jokes got tiresome), breathing deeply as she described why Clash of the Titans is her new favourite film and feigning interest when she told me where to find the crazy antics of yet another precocious baby on youtube.
When I was in that room, she didn’t just have the power, she had Brow Power. The Brower. I was at her mercy. But now she’s gone, and all she left me with was one last session of painstaking plucking and horribly stilted banter, and a final, evenly balanced, perfectly expressive set of brows.