how to get your eyebrows on fleek (or why I went to India when I was seventeen)

This piece has very little to do with eyebrows and don’t worry if you don’t know what the term “on fleek” means. If you are here for style advice your google algorithm has been hacked.

Today I went to the South Asian woman who uses the technique of threading to shape eyebrows. My first time at this shop a young woman was laying back with paste on her brows getting them tinted. It has been a year since that moment and in that time all the magazines have declared – Eyebrows the new lips! Sexy Eyebrows, will he even recognize you! The only facial hair we swear by! As the year comes to an end, my birthday arrives, and the predictable existential reassessment hits, I inquire with the philosophy oh what the hell as she applies black dye to my newly shaped eyebrows. The last time my eyebrows were subjected to the philosophy of what the hell was when I tried to pluck my own eyebrows.

This is when my eyebrows act as a portal sending me through a time wrap, just like the scenes in movies I fly through some vacuum hole until I am floating invisible around myself at seventeen.

That summer I had graduated from high school and would be heading to college in New York City, except my acceptance was delayed by a semester. As August ends my friends go off to start their adventures and I stay home. Due to an unfortunate make-out session with a punk rock activist person I had a long ignored lice infestation that leaves me few options other than to simply chop off all my hair. This was to be the first and last time I sport a short hairstyle; I cringe at the few pictures I allowed from that time.  My curly dark brown hair bounced free of the oppressive weight of length to create a full cumulus cloud atop my round face. I sported my first pair of eyeglasses and looked like the Saturday Night Live skit character Jacob the Bar Mitzvah Boy.  I’m searching for the pic of me to post as proof but the universe is hiding it from me, attempting to  protect my image.

With that catastrophe permanent I retreat a depressed hermit state in the guest room – my bedroom having been dismantled for a massive renovation job. My only outings are to the apartment of a friend to drink and smoke weed and stalk his roommate who I am infatuated with.

I read in a magazine that the way to find your natural brow line is to raise the muscles and pluck any hairs that grow out of that line. This magazine must have had the most vapid women who never expressed sincere doubt and scrutiny over someone’s bullshit because when I as I finish I see strange square arches over both eyes. The lines aren’t symmetric and now the only thing to look at is the happy hair dancing atop. Misery loves company and I had made a new friend for my self-esteem.

Then my childhood friend explains the details of her upcoming trip to India. This trip is a graduation present her mother has organized and I blurt out “Can I come with you?” I have no specific interest in India, I know only very generic facts about it- big, Ghandi, saris,  food; and no details about my mother’s time there in her wild youth. But in my calculations I will not have to be concerned about what my friends are doing, how I look, the rejection of my crush, or the filling any more unbearable days. I use all the birthday money I’ve saved since I was seven and the money from graduation to pay for that plane ticket. And then the planning for being in India for over a month begins.

Since then I have read many stories about the life changing trips to India, all beginning with soulful words about pilgrimages made to holy sites, or holy gurus, or holy long harbored fantasies; tonight I admit that my real motivation for tagging along on that trip to India was because of a horrid haircut and misshapen eyebrows.

Today as the woman wipes away the dye she had painted onto my eyebrows I hope to see – in truth I have no clue because other than pulling some straggling hair I have no vision for what eyebrows are suppose to look like. What I see looking back is the brows used on those Groucho glasses – not in shape but in obviousness; two dark arcs stand out so people  see eyebrows and then a face, instead of a face with nice eyebrows.

This time my eyebrows will not send me fleeing the country, but I have decided that I will not explain myself to anyone, rather I will simply tell them to read this story because ALL I WANT FOR MY BIRTHDAY IS FOR PEOPLE TO READ AND ENJOY MY WRITING.

to fail or not to fail, what is your response

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