Feb. 22, 2008 :: Bert (but not Ernie), Frida Kahlo, and me. Six Feet Under, Grant Park.
For most of my life, I have been a blonde. Ranging from between the "honey" and "caramel" spectrum, in my younger days I found it a spectacular point of pride. I was a smaller version of my beautiful flaxen-haired mother--a 6-foot tall hippie-homemaker goddess in a white '76 Monte Carlo. I had silky, straight hair, then puberty-induced pre-Raphaelite curls that still bounce around on my knoggin today. I dodged the "blonde jokes" in elementary school, feeling fortunate that I was not also a "pollock" (and that most kids don't know how close Germany--my family land--actually is to Poland and then maybe see fit to lump me in). But as I got older, my apparent future as a mere chocolate-chip-cookie-dough haired adult began to creep up on me. It started on my face.
I've always had sort of dark eyebrows and copious auburn lashes that probably seem a bit strange filtering kind of translucent, hazely eyes. But in my senior year of high school, as I rode home after posing for my senior pictures (Red poet sleeves! A bolo-tie! 4 inches of spikey, claw-like bangs! I was a winner.), my friend said to me, "Dude, you've got a uni-brow. Get some tweezers. Geesh."
I was crushed. It was true. My dark, heavy brows had recently crept together across my forehead and in between figuring out how to use makeup to cover up zits and offset the occasional skiing injury (nice ones that year included a broken nose, two black eyes, and a cracked brow-bone), I had found little time to groom the massive caterpillars nesting up top. When I got home, I asked the closest feminine role-model for help: my mother. A woman whose own eyebrows are little more than babywisps of spun gold, plucked to razor-sharp perfection daily. A woman who once caught her acrylic nails on fire at Thanksgiving. The woman who also once attacked my ear with the back-end of a bobby pin because I had an apparently juicy zit that needed popping. An aesthetic maven.
She was thrilled. Got out an ice-cube, and went to town, numbing, wiping, and tearing follicles out of my face ten at a time. When she was done, i was a gruesome scene. Blood, swelling, and red, raw skin--a seething mess between my eyes that was exposed to the light for the first time in years. I almost cried.
Fortunately, I got over it. I pluck regularly these days, because once you start something like that, you can't go back. If I forget, I get little black cow-licks sprouting over my eyes. People stare. I've fought with airline employees over tossing my favorite tweezers. I have also reconciled with my darkening hair. Now, I'm a little milk-chocolate, a little dishwater, a tiny bit sunset in some places. Last weekend, my mother asked me what color I was dying my hair these days (she's been platinum since 1950 and we'll likely bury her with a bottle of peroxide).
"Nada," I said. "This is just the way it grows these days."
"It's nice," she said. "But thank god you're still plucking those eyebrows. Those were just awful."
(oh yes...the walking part of this entry. Picture above at Six Feet Under, where Blake (in the red shirt with the little guy on it) and I had dinner this evening. Great stroll, that is from C-Town to the Cemetery. It was our first trip back since we decided to get married while there last month.)