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A meditation on eyebrows.

April 24, 2010

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=funny+eyebrows&iid=214393″ src=”0210/97c7619d-8add-451c-bdb8-ef5837154202.jpg?adImageId=12643635&imageId=214393″ width=”234″ height=”351″ /]A few months back one of our assistant pastors went through breast cancer treatment and, as a result, she lost her hair. During a sermon she scanned the congregation and said, “Look at all those nice heads of hair! I never noticed them before I lost mine.”

With this round of chemo I initially lost about 60% of my head-hair — down to the 80-year-old grandpa level — and then it’s slowly come back to about 80% of normal. Very slowly. I also lost my eyelashes and eyebrows. You might not know this, but eyebrows and eyelashes don’t grow as quickly as the hair on your head. Sometimes they never come back. Fortunately, mine have started to come back, but now they’re pure white! There’s makeup to darken said facial hair, but what a pain. I’m not much of a makeup person.

I’ve ignored eyebrows pretty much my whole life, but because of my loss, like our assistant pastor, I’ve become an observer. Most of you have nice eyebrows. Some are scary. The most startling sighting was in a grocery store where a woman of a certain age was shopping in one of those motorized scooters. She looked up at me and she had four eyebrows. Two of them were her normal eyebrows and two were drawn on in bright red (to match her dyed hair) about an eighth of an inch above the natural brows — in a high, long arch extending practically to her ears. I think this woman wanted to stay in fashion with her decade, but didn’t want to, or no longer could, continue plucking or shaving the old brows.

So, here I am walking around wishing for at least two eyebrows and this woman taunts me with four. How fair is that?!

[picapp align=”right” wrap=”true” link=”term=egg&iid=251377″ src=”0247/a3790620-0f69-4389-8ec7-3d7962aa3d5b.jpg?adImageId=12643621&imageId=251377″ width=”234″ height=”299″ /]I don’t know if you know this, but if a woman is an eyebrow styler you can often tell which decade she came of of age in by the style of her eyebrows. This particular woman came of age in the 1930s when it was the style to pluck your eyebrows very thin, or sometimes even shave them off, and then re-draw them in a very high arch that ends way past the outside edge of the eye. Then the habit was to make them shine with a little application of petroleum jelly. No wonder their natural eyebrows sometimes never grew back. If you’ve noticed women in 1930s movies look a little “surprised” most of the time.

You might want to date your own eyebrows using this chart: Eyebrow Styles. This of course assumes you pay attention to them at all. If nothing else, thank your eyebrows today for just being on your face. You’d look like an egg without them.

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15 Comments leave one →
  1. Bemused Boomer permalink
    April 26, 2010 12:36 am

    Love the egg pic. I’ve noticed that people tend to date themselves with their choice of eyebrow shapes–and their hairdo’s. I was a hairdresser in the 1960s and I can tell you that shaving eyebrows was no longer in fashion toward the end of that decade. Too bad you’re not a make-up person. For an expenditure of only about two hours a day, you could sketch fake eyebrows the way that picture shows!

    I’ve only got about 12 eyebrow hairs on each eyebrow, from all that plucking and styling in my youth. And now 7 of those hairs are white. I share your discomfiture. And your reluctance to do much about it.

    Your observations are humbling and amusing (how do you do that?) More power to you (and your white eyebrows!)

    • April 26, 2010 4:03 pm

      Ah yes, hair. My fifth grade teacher had a gen-u-ine 1940s side roll hairdo. But I think she’d have looked funny in the hair styles of my 10-year-old era. I don’t remember what her eyebrows looked like. I spent too much time trying to figure out how she kept her hair from moving.

      • April 27, 2010 8:26 am

        Did you have “the fat Mrs. Johnson” in 5th grade? (For those who didn’t go to Sunnyside Elementary with us, we also had “the skinny Mrs. Johnson”.) Or maybe it was me who had her in the 6th grade. She had dyed jet black hair always done in some kind of up-do, and bright red lipstick that was always a little smeared, and on her teeth, and also always had saliva strings between upper and lower teeth and lips. I don’t remember her eyebrows, but she must have been my teacher if I remember that much gory detail. How do they let scary people teach little kids?

        • April 27, 2010 8:49 am

          You had Fat Mrs. Johnson. I had Skinny Mrs. Johnson. You were in sixth grade and I was in fifth grade. It must have been confusing for Mom to keep track of which Mrs. Johnson we were talking about at a given time.

          Fat Mrs. Johnson was much more scary than Skinny Mrs. Johnson. I didn’t have her as a teacher, but I remember the hair, lips, and teeth. I was very very glad she retired before I entered sixth grade.

          Skinny Mrs. Johnson, though, was a big one on providing us with strange details of her life. For example, she brought in her robe once to show us how she’d almost burned herself to death when she reached above her stove to get something and the sleeve caught fire on the gas burner and to warn us to be careful about stoves. That would have been fine if she’d been one who who wore a heavy terrycloth bathrobe, but nooooooo; it was a sheer neglige with long floaty sleeves. I still can’t imagine that woman in that robe. I guess Skinny Mr. Johnson was a lucky man — or maybe not.

          I think kids get revenge on scary teachers by giving them nicknames. You just have to remember not to slip and actually say the nickname to the teacher.

          And it was SunnyDALE. I think you’ve been living in the Great White North for too long. 😉

  2. April 26, 2010 1:10 pm

    Hair, I used to have that. I actually noticed I was getting Andy Rooney eyebrows, and thought for the first time I should actually trim that forest back a bit. I suspect it is the only place I actually grow hair now, well, except for the migration to my, well, okay lets not mention that part. Lets just say my back could use a bit of a wax.

    I have seen those oddly painted on eyebrows, and wonder what is going on in their mind that the require putting eyebrows where none were meant to exist. The curious dog look on my face might give away that I have noticed something odd but am afraid to say anything.

    That reminds me of our now gone dog Coco, he had one of those dog things where they get an inner ear problem and just fall over dizzy for a while then get better. Except, he got better with this head cocked to one side so he always looked like he was asking you a question. Ah, I should have taken more pictures of that, no end of hilarity there.

    -Scott

    • April 26, 2010 4:01 pm

      Well, as long as you don’t get a uni-brow we’ll cut you some slack. Poor Coco! Well, he was charming so he spent his last days being cute and charming.

  3. April 26, 2010 1:48 pm

    Yep, Scott, bushy eyebrows are a sign of aging. I have to trim Bill’s or they hang in front of his eyes and he keeps trying to brush away an “insect”. He actually has almost no eyebrows because he singed them off when he was a kid playing with the campfire. But the few hairs he has get really shaggy. Women, on the other hand, can get thinning eyebrows with age. That’s where mine are going. And they’re getting pale. So one of these days I might have to use an eyebrow pencil. Or not. I don’t really care. My glasses create an arch over my eyes. Good enough. I’m so used to not wearing any makeup (because it makes my skin crazy) that I’d probably absent-mindedly smear it all over my forehead, and wouldn’t that look choice?

    • April 26, 2010 4:04 pm

      It’s amazing how hard it is to grow eyebrows back. If people only knew. Or maybe Andy Rooney and Scott can share some of the wealth!

  4. Denny Wilson permalink
    April 26, 2010 9:56 pm

    Jill, I’ve lost most of my eyebrows during the chemo process. I have no eyelashes but hey, I’m still vertical. I hope I didn’t overpower you the other day when we met in the chemo lab. The Wilson gift of gab is sometimes too much. I didn’t notice your eyebrows or eyelashes were missing, guess it was your kind personality that shone through. Keep up the fight Jill, we’re all cheering and praying for ya.

    Denny

    • April 27, 2010 8:51 am

      Not overwhelmed at all, Denny. It was good to meet you. I guess my painted-on brows must be doing the trick if you didn’t notice them.

      We’re cheering for you hear too. Get in some good golfing before the thunderstorm hits today.

  5. Dawn permalink
    April 27, 2010 8:31 am

    When my daughter was going through chemo (at age 16) she lost every hair on her body–except her eyebrows and eyelashes. After chemo was done, the eyebrows and eyelashes fell out. She was so depressed. It didn’t take too long for them to come back. They aren’t as long and lush as they were before, but they did come back. I’ve been blessed with dark, heavy eyebrows and I’ve always hated them. (Brook Shields made me feel somewhat better about them) My mother used to accuse me of using pencil on them! Brother! I recently found a white eyebrow hair! YIKES! Guess we are never happy! Here’s to your white eyebrows! May they keep the dust out of your eyes!

    • April 27, 2010 8:54 am

      Dust. Yes! People don’t realize how useful brows and lashes are at keeping your eyes safe and moisturized. I went through a period where I was getting all kinds of things in my eyes and they were watering constantly. You’re right; the color doesn’t matter as long as they perform their intended functuion.

      You have great eyebrows. Enjoy them.

      Trivia: Daniel used to call eyebrows “eyeprows,” which I think is really cute.

    • May 21, 2010 5:39 pm

      You never think of things like this! We must have evolved to have eyebrows and eye lashes for a reason!

      I think you should start a trend for white eye brows!

  6. April 27, 2010 1:21 pm

    I tried really hard to type Sunnydale but Sunnyside came out of my fingers. I went to Sunnydale, my kids went to Sunnyside. The great white north does things to your memory, I guess. Hey, you can now call your brows the Great White Eyebrows!

  7. E Lis permalink
    April 28, 2010 6:46 am

    My Mom has alapacia (I am not spelling checking that one, so bear with me). I probably have always been a bit too observant about hair due to that. She did not lose all hair, but does have very thin almost not there eyebrows. She draws them in.

    My Dad’s hair all came back pure white, but his head hair is now curly like when he was younger (it got straighter as he aged). The hair is so unbelieavably soft that my Mom and I pet it 🙂

    Continued prayers and good thoughts always! – Lisa

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