Raising an eyebrow

Time for a new topic. Why do so many women pluck or wax their eyebrows?

I find this really hard to understand. By definition, pulling hairs out by their roots has GOT to hurt. A lot.

So why is this a well-nigh universal female practice?

(Except for people like me, blessed with such a depth of vanity that we assume we are naturally close enough to perfect. And would, at least, need some damn good proof to the contrary before we underwent some painful beautifying process. )

Everybody wants to look acceptable, at least to the degree that strangers don’t stare and point at you in the street.

I’m not an eyebrow purist. If you have an embarrassing novelty eyebrow, I can’t see any problem with correcting it. It would seem perfectly reasonable to me to shave off the middle of a total unibrow. If your eyebrows were growing into eye moustaches and reaching your cheekbones, fair enough. Cut the buggers.

I’ve been carrying out an unscientific survey of men’s eyebrows. (This involves looking at brow ridges quite a bit more than would be considered polite if they were other body parts.) Even in this groomed-within-an-inch-of-its-life world, men’s eyebrows are still allowed to grow as they choose. And I haven’t seen more than – oh, I don’t know – one in a hundred men of any age who have eyebrows far enough on the outlying edges of a conceptual normal eyebrow-size-and-distribution curve to warrant a second look. Let alone a shriek or an instant gagging response.

So, do a disproportionate percentage of women suffer from gross eyebrow deformities? Perhaps there’s a bizarre tendency for women to grow comedy eyebrows, that can only be kept in check by pulling hair out at the roots.

All the same, I shudder to imagine a natural eyebrow growth of such a luxuriant excessiveness that it would be weirder than the eyebrows that I see on women every day. (Some of which actually do make me want to point and giggle. At the least, my eyes are inexorably drawn to the novelty eye furniture, to the point of being unable to take in anything the wearer says.)

My favourites include the one where the browridge has been depilated to the bone and the eyebrow replaced with an approximation of a eyebrow. Drawn on. Using a jet black pencil. Even when the wearer’s head hair has been bleached to a brilliant yellow. What do I mean “even when…” . The correct phrase is “especially when…”

This artwork is based on the “incredibly surprised” model from “Drawing cartoon faces 101”.

More sedate eyebrow models include simply plucking the hairs until the eyebrow is about 2 mm thick and starts to sprout just above the pupil. This also tends to make the wearer look constantly surprised, if slightly more mammalian.

(When I was at school, there was a brief fashion for girls to shave their eyebrows completely and then draw an unskilled approximation of a curve onto their newly-blank forehead canvases. This was initially quite impressive to a 14-year-old me, until the impressionist sketches were seen to be nesting in a visible lawn of brow prickles a week later.)

It’s hard to see what possible advantage this brings anyone, in terms of attractiveness. Do men really think “Well, I quite fancy her but she doesn’t look surprised enough?”

7 thoughts on “Raising an eyebrow

  1. It’s hard to see what possible advantage this brings anyone, in terms of attractiveness. Do men really think “Well, I quite fancy her but she doesn’t look surprised enough?”

    Well, it does save women the trouble of having to act impressed when they’re not.

  2. Q. How do you tell the difference between Italian women and Spanish women?
    A. Italian women have two eyebrows.

    Of course, the above is rather stereotypical, but I’ve found it to be more accurate than not (and I live in a town with a very large tourist population at any one time).

    Personally (not that I usually have a ‘type’) I do find myself more (relatively speaking) attracted to those with a well-shaped eyebrow, especially when accompanied by a nice pair of black rimmed spex.

  3. I’m with you 100% on this one. Why these women can’t grasp basic anatomy and realise that the eyebrows live on the eyebrow ridge.

    Apart from the surprised look, there is also the angry wasp look.

    Perhaps they suffer from a kind of blindness, in the same way that some X-Factor contestants are incapable of hearing that they can’t sing, these eyebrow abusers must look at themselves in the mirror and think “nice”.

  4. I was wondering if it was a youth thing. People get hairier as they get older, so limited amounts of hair on display could give an impression of youth. I’m not sure. I haven’t spent any time examining young girl’s eyebrows and I can’t afford the time at Her Maj’s pleasure that would follow such a survey. The fact you notice nothing odd about men’s eyebrows is not itself evidence of none grooming. It could just be that we’re all going for a carefully crafted ‘natural’ look.

    There’s also the association of hair being unhygienic. This could make a big difference to practioners of frydiophilia.

  5. Plucking of eyebrows is not new. If I remember correctly, Dante placed women who plucked their eyebrows in hell, with demons forcing red hot pincers into their foreheads.

    My wife keeps offering to make my eyebrow into two. I prefer the cro-magnon look (plus I can’t stand to have hairs pulled out of my skin (it hurts!)). My son, daughter and wife all ‘correct’ that center section. Four people, seven eyebrows.

    As to why people do it? I have no idea.

  6. Null
    I now picture you in some reverse 1940s film, saying to the previously plain secretary/librarian character with unspectacled eyes “Put your glasses on, Miss Brown .Now, you are beautiful” 😀
    It seems to me that people plucking out their eyebrows at the roots are probably already experiencing the Dantean torments of hell. in miniature (From a position of ignorance. I tried to pull a hair out by the roots on an experimental basis. I didn’t manage it and it really did hurt like the proverbial hell. Maybe, it hurts less over time. Or I am just a wuss. Or both.)
    I have to admit that a unibrow is a special case, though.
    You must be right with the idea of it being a “youth” thing.
    I was captivated by your suggestion that men may just be better at achieving a natural look. I am now covertly staring at men’s eyebrows for evidence of really expert eyebrow grooming. Still, if it was really good, I wouldn’t know.
    I’m with you there. (X-factor self-delusion, etc) The “angry wasp” is a great image. I think I’ll try to categorise novelty eyebrow styles.)

Comments are closed.