I have eyebrows. To the best of my knowledge, I’ve had them my entire life. I don’t really know what they’re for. I get eyelashes and the whole “keeping sand out of your eye” thing. That makes sense. Eyebrows though? Wikipedia says that they are used to keep sweat, water, and other debris from sliding down into the eye socket, but it also says that there’s a citation needed, so I’m not going to push the “believe” button on that one just yet. Whatever they’re for, I have them.
For most of my life, I’ve been fine with my eyebrows. They were there, and I used to think that was about the only requirement for them. They’ve always been dark which looked a little weird when I was young and had blonde hair, but once my hair faded to brown, even that distinction went away. They were just there, and if they were a little on the bushy side, I was fine with it. Who really cares about eyebrows anyway?
Then…I got married. Maybe, I was just naive and all women really care about the shape and maintenance of eyebrows. Maybe, there is actual cultural importance to this strip of body hair that never evolved away. Whatever the case is, CinC HOUSE actually cares about my eyebrows.
It all started off innocently enough. She would walk by me in the kitchen and grimace. She would gently reach up and smooth down one side while saying, “You should really let me take care of that.” I would smile and say something like, “No way in hell, dear.” (By the way, you should be very careful in our house when ending a sentence with “dear.”) She was persistent though. She would mention that it would only take her a couple minutes and how much better I would feel afterwards. When I kept telling her no, she would respond with, “Go get the *#$(&%@ tweezers before I decide to use them on other body parts!” Since this very coherent, relevant, and well-articulated argument really resonated with me, I decided to give in.
PAIN!!!! She proceeded to redefine the word for me. It was like Satan was stabbing me in the forehead with his flaming pitchfork from hell. I swear that some of those little hairs were rooted in the bone. It was eye-watering, nose-running, prayer-inducing pain. The only thing equal to the pain was the amount of joy that my wife was getting from inflicting it. If you were able to drown out my screams for mercy, you could actually hear her laughing (dare I even say cackling?). She was honestly loving every second of it. She would say things like, “You are such a wimp. I go through this every day.” To her, that meant that I was an incredible wuss who couldn’t stand to be in pain. To me, that just said, “If you have to do it every day, it doesn’t *#$(&%@ work!” That argument fell on def ears.
Just like breaking the seal during a drinking binge, there’s now no stopping the flood. Every month, she will walk by, smooth down a brow, and say, “It looks like it’s about that time.” The only difference between now and the first time, is that it’s no longer a grimace on her face. She now smiles in anticipation.
You would think that after going through this a dozen times a year for almost a decade the pain would have dulled, but it hasn’t. I’ve tried meditating and finding my happy place, but there’s just something about having pieces of hair plucked directly out of your brain that keeps drawing your attention back. There was a horrifying experience in a Chesapeake barber shop where the lady didn’t speak English and by the time I figured out what she was doing, the wax had already been applied. Even that moment of shear torture didn’t dull the pain that I feel when CinC HOUSE grabs those tweezers (nor does it dull the sheer bliss that she achieves while using them).
The worst part is that I think I’ve finally been broken. I’ll look in the mirror and find myself thinking, “I should have CinC HOUSE take care of these.” Once I realize what I just thought, I’ll usually go sit in the bathroom and cry. My only consolation is that she has never once had to pull a hair out from between the two brows. They may climb all the way up to my hairline and start to creep down my cheeks at times, but I’m proud to say that they have never met in the middle. I also realize how sad it is that I’m proud of that.
After much consideration, I’ve finally figured out what eyebrows are for. They are used to torture the poor souls who long ago lost the ability to tell their wife no. (I’ll get on Wikipedia to change the definition shortly.) If I was in some interrogation room, and I saw my wife walking towards me with tweezers, I would beg for waterboarding. I would confess to crimes that have never been committed. The mystery of who killed Kennedy would be solved because I would admit to a shooting that happened 10 years before I was born. Then, after my forehead was completely bald, she would start on the nose hair.