When I was 15 years old, my love of words helped me to decipher an interesting conversation going on around me.
Picture it, 1994, a suburban high school: a 15 year-old sophomore is sitting in her Sports and Entertaining Marketing Class. She is sitting quietly, which is how she is able to hear the following, paraphrased conversation:
Girl 1: I mean, can you believe it? Does she even see her face?
Girl 2: She obviously has a unibrow. Someone should tell her.
Our sophomore immediately wonders if they are talking about her. After all, the laughter seems to be pointed in her direction. And when she turns around casually to glance at the girls, they quite obviously avert their attention. She then thinks to herself: “‘Uni’ means one. One brow. One brow? Do I have one brow?” (See where the breakdown of words came in? This was and is how I think when it comes to words. Etymology at its best.) Later, when she gets home and looks at herself in the mirror, it’s quickly confirmed that yes, there is one continuous, thick brow growing above her eyes. She is more confused than embarrassed. Was it so bad? What was the big deal? What is worthy of laughter? (It should be added that our sophomore was so used to being laughed at by now that these things weren’t that shocking anymore.) Nevertheless, rather impulsively, she finds one of her father’s razors and proceeds to shave straight down the middle, turning the unibrow into two very thick brows. There. Done.
That was my first experience with removing facial hair. From there began my many, many, many adventures with said removal, including fun with hair creams that burned unremittingly and waxing strips that got stuck on my skin. Good times. The fact was that I was–and am–one hairy girl, and was way too willing to come up with my own ideas on how to lessen it/get rid of it. By age 19 and now in college, a few of my similarly hirsute friends mentioned that they went to professionals for hair removal. After realizing that the nail shop by my house also specialized in waxing, I decided to try it. Micki, who has been waxing this face for a whopping 17 years now, basically destroyed me that first time in her room. I wanted to scream. She was unrelenting. She was waxing me everywhere. Lip, sideburns, under the lip, neck, forehead, hairline (yes, you read that right), etc. I nearly wept. But guess what happened afterward? I looked like a newborn. I mean, my face was 10 pounds lighter. Needless to say: hook, line, sinker.
17 years later, through the cast of characters that have been given free rein to this face, let’s note the following two things I’ve learned, shall we?
1. I now have two, count ’em two, ladies who provide me with my monthly pain. First is Julia, who works by my job and is the very best at what she does. She’s so good that I find my time with her relaxing. Like, while she’s pulling hot wax off my face, I fall asleep. Second is my old friend, Micki, whose shop is by my house (basically one by work, one by home) and who knows all the intricacies of my face. After 17 years, I trust her.
2. However, I still have to be clear with both of them on what I want. Because, frankly, they get a bit trigger happy with all the hair I give them. (I don’t know how many times Micki has giddily exclaimed, “you have so much hair! So much hair!”) So hairline waxing went away quickly. Stay away from the super sensitive areas on my face that respond to waxing with major breakouts. Weird creams after the wax? Nope. You get my drift: gone is the 19 year-old teenager. Wax me right, lady. With new people who sub when Julia or Micki are unavailable, I make sure that I thoroughly explain what I want. That doesn’t mean they always listen. And what can one do when hot wax has been placed on an area you didn’t want? Le sigh. Needless to say, they lose my business indefinitely.
So when I explain to some of my friends that I get a facial wax, they don’t understand. Not just your eyebrows? they ask incredulously. The whole face? But weeks after the last wax and all that very dark and very curly hair starts re-infiltrating my skin, the necessity of a facial wax becomes very clear. It typically starts at the chin. Then the mustache. Then my old friend the unibrow begins to peek around the corner, ready for its arrival. Believe me, they understand then. (Even my mother once asked if I had a thyroid problem. I replied, “Nah, it’s called genetics, Mom. In other words, I blame you and Daddy.” Specifically, the blame goes to my Dad, who had all the hair. My mother doesn’t have a speck of hair on her body. Not.one.speck.)
Do I blame those girls from yesteryear from talking about me and laughing over the unibrow? Nah. I forgave a lot of those insensitive people a long time ago for being ridiculous. I’m pretty sure that as I got older, I likely would have noticed it, even though they kind of forced my hand. In the end, wax on, wax off. (See what I did there?)
p.s.: I may be trying threading soon. For you ladies who thread, how do you like it?