02 August 2011

just the eyebrows, please

My face smells like vanilla wax.

Not because I dipped my face in a Yankee Candle. No, that sounds dangerous.

Also, it's too hot to be burning candles just for the smell of it. If you want a pretty scent when there's a heat index of 105, I hope that you really, really like the smell of sweat, because that's all you can smell.

You walk outside from your office to your car—a distance of about 20 steps {I felt like saying 20 paces, but that made it sound like a duel}—and all you can smell is sweat.

My face smells like vanilla wax because I just had my eyebrows waxed, something I get done approximately every four years.

Actually, let's think about this: the last time I had my eyebrows waxed, I went straight from there to see the movie Australia.

Do you remember that movie? It had a Gone with the Wind feel to it but with Australian accents and nobody said, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

IMDB, that great warehouse of movie knowledge and trivia, says Australia came out in 2008, so I will now amend my statement to "I get my eyebrows waxed every three years."

This is mostly out of laziness. In between waxings, I half-heartedly tweeze.

And unfortunately, I whole-heartedly pick at my eyebrows when I'm nervous or stressed or worried. If you ever wonder why I'm trying so hard to control my stress level, it's because I like my eyebrows to stay on my face.

Except for those stray hairs that make me look like a unibrow. Those I'm fine with pulling out.

Tonight, the woman at the salon pointed me to a chair.

"You sit here and relax. Just the eyebrows?"

I may have been reading into things thanks to my fears that my beauty routine isn't up to par, but I'm pretty certain she was taking in every other stray hair on my face—this woman who did not have one misplaced hair on her body, I'm sure.

She said "Just the eyebrows?" with a tone that meant, "You do realize that you have chin hairs sprouting, thick like little oak trees and while it's usually good to be sturdy like an oak, it is not a positive in this case? And you do realize that you have a hair coming out of that thing you think is a freckle but, let's face it, probably isn't a freckle? And with all those other hairs, you really just want the eyebrows?"

"Yes, just the eyebrows." I tried to smile with confidence, but mostly I was thinking of that scene in The Truth about Cats and Dogs where Janeane Garofalo goes to the beauty counter at a department store.

The woman working the counter makes her feel so insignificant, so not desirable, so likely to end up alone and with nobody but her 42 cats to discover her body after she has a stroke in her studio apartment.

And she does all that simply by pointing out Janeane's pores and making her look in a magnifying mirror.

This is cruel.

This is the commercialization of beauty.

This is a movie, I know, but I can't help but think of it whenever I step into a beauty situation, be it a salon or even the cosmetics section of Walgreen's.

I start to feel like I could be doing more, like I should be doing more. All these products exist for a good reason, right?

Maybe I do need to use a rejuvenating night cream so that my smile lines aren't as visible, but then how will people know that I like to smile?

Maybe I should use essential oils on my cuticles every night before bed. They're called essential and so they must be.

Maybe I should get a personal electrolysis machine to take care of that forest of oak trees on my chin.

It's exhausting trying to keep up with what the world thinks is essential to beauty and so most of the time I ignore it.

I look for beauty around me—in literature and conversations and music and people—and I stick to a simple routine of washing my face, using sunscreen, and wearing mascara.

On the whole, this keeps me happier. Inner beauty is more appealing than any marketing scheme, if you ask me, although it can be hard to remember that these days, what with a Kardashian telling you how you should look every five minutes or so.

However, this ignorance-is-bliss approach to the beauty department doesn't mean I don't experience that moment of self-doubt when the waxing lady asks, "Just the eyebrows?"

Just the eyebrows, yes. But thanks for noticing the rest of me beyond the eyebrows.

And I'll see you in three years, lady.


  1. Such a timely post! I'm scheduled for an eyebrow wax on Friday and I'm dreading that question myself.


  2. Your salon and my dentist's office could be in cahoots.

  3. I l-o-v-e this post! They try to shame you into spending more money by making you feel self-conscience. Try Sally Hanson at home wax that you warm up, spread on, and peel off yourself. Wax at home. It's great.

  4. Beth! Good luck with the waxing :) Just stay strong and stick to the eyebrows -- don't let them make you feel bad...!

    Alyssa, I think they may be in cahoots. I don't know how you put up with so many questions about beauty and what's "necessary" throughout your wedding planning process.

    Stacey, I'm scared that I will pull off my entire eyebrow if I wax myself. You do this? Successfully? I'm impressed :)

  5. Awesome, Kamiah! This is the 1st of your blog posts I've read, and I love your writing style & sense of humor. And of course I relate all too well to these travails. Thanks for making me laugh today. :)



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