Friday, 6 May 2011

Just brows-ing

While I'm awaiting dates for surgery,  I've decided to go all girlie for a while and talk about brows-ing. Nope, no typos here. I'm not talking about the activity that spontaneously occurs when you've got a free afternoon and you decide to hit the shops for a bit of retail therapy.

Brows-ing is the pursuit undertaken when you've noticed how non-existent your previously taken for granted average-looking eyebrows have become, which then leads you to start noticing the hirsute abundance of others'.

Now I can honestly say that when it comes to important facial features, eyebrows have never really been very high up on my one-to-ten scale. We all notice someone who has huge, expressive eyes, or better still, a smile that just seems to light up their entire face. Personally, I'm a sucker for big noses. But brows ?  Aren't they just an aesthetic addition to the human face ? Designed to make us look a little less scary to each other and therefore more willing to go forth and probably multiply ?  Apparently not. One look at my often consulted (sometimes unreliable) font of information, wikipedia, tells me that brows once upon a time performed the evolutionary function of keeping pesky insects and dirt away from our eyes. But now that we're no longer hunting wildebeest on the Savannahs, what exactly is the point of them ?

I'm guessing that most make-up artists would tell me that in modern times, they serve to beautifully frame a woman's eyes. Which is why, I suppose most of the women deemed to be the most beautiful goddesses of our time seem to have thick, lustrous ones, not the single, harsh,pencilled lines that I remember growing up with in the eighties. Now that my own have more or less vanished, I find that the addition of a wig just seems to accentuate the fact that I am have much less hair down below (wait, not that far down - well actually now that you come to mention it...).

But anyway... this is why I took the opportunity to pay a visit to my nearest Bobbi Brown make-up counter. After explaining my predicament, the girl on the counter swiftly patted on some dark-grey coloured eyeshadow, followed by a brush of something else, followed by some more powder. Her face looked tense and deep in concentration. I began to feel more like an artist's model than a regular girl who had just walked in off the street. This got me thinking about famous 'browless' women. Having an absence of eyebrows hadn't affected Mona Lisa's illustrous albeit short model career. Though granted, she was around a good few hundred years ago and I acknowledge the fact that trends have obviously moved on since then...

When she'd finished, the make-up girl showed me the finished result. She'd given me thick, generous almost jet black wedges, with not a trace of patchy hair or asymmetry in sight. My brows had never looked so healthy. My brows had never looked so scary. But so, what's new ?  By now, I'm used to 'almost' there hair. While I thanked her, she gave me a leaflet advertising their full face consultations and I left, promising to return. On the tube home I started to contemplate my new hobby - my growing pre-occupation with hair and beauty. In my pre-chemo life I'd been a life-long tomboy who'd lived in jeans and wore at most, a bit of lipstick and some eyeliner. I'd often sneer at women who seemed to live for the latest hairstyle and snarled my way through conversations about weaves, wigs and whether it was better to be born beautiful or intelligent (brains always won out every time). Now here I was getting excited over powders, brows and blushers. My bedroom is overrun with synthetic hair and before I leave the house, I always make sure that I'm wearing a full face of make-up in case I run into someone I know. What can I put my transformation down to ? a new found chemo-induced insecurity, or simply the self-absorption that comes with worrying too much about how one now looks to the outside world ?  Maybe it's a mixture of both. Whatever the reason, this much I know - my new found hobby is an expensive one.

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