I have a friend who made a new Year’s Resolution to master the art of raising one eyebrow. I value loyalty and discretion amongst my friends above all other things, except money, obviously, so let’s call this friend, who is in no way me, Sally.
“Sally” has been taking her resolution very seriously. She knows the value of a disciplined training regime. In
her quest for amused superiority, she rises before dawn and takes her eyebrow running round the park. On a
typical day she will do a good three miles and as she does them, she flexes her glabellar muscles vigourously. At this point in the training she doesn’t know which eyebrow will look most archly devastating when raised, so, for this early part of the day’s training, she’s working on muscle development in both. I think this is a good call and on many occasions have said to her “Good call” even on those days it wasn’t. I really feel a sensitive support-network is crucial for her at this stage.
Admittedly, it makes for a curious sight, a 30-something woman jogging around, her expression oscillating
floridly between classic mild runner’s resignation and apparent sudden astonishment at dustbins and squirrels and other wholly unastonishing things. This is why she trains so early, before many people are about. In the past, lunchtime jogs have left her tearful, and really quite dismayed by rude comments thrown at her by her fellow recreators.
“Ahooohooahhoo ahoo ahhoooohoo” She often sobs. And remembers every slight and slur. Some have been barbarous in the extreme.
“I never even knew that was possible with a stiff, wire brush!”, I recall her remarking to me, once, in quite genuine wonderment, about a particularly unseemly suggestion lobbed by an uncouth sort of fellow. There were not tears about that one though; she was more intellectually curious about it than shocked, as I remember. Her voice was very high and quiet.
Anyway, back from her workout, Sally showers, massages her glabellar region with stinky oils, recommended to her as “real professional-performance grade” and “highly illegal” by her friend, “Bill”, from the online eyebrow chat forum in which she often passes her evenings.
Next, she will usually breakfast on a lean protein item and some complex carbohydrates, from time to time
startling at the increasingly nervous cat the better to glabellarly tone. Off-schedule exercises are not mandated but she really is committed.
THE CARROT AND STICK AND FISHING-LINE APPROACH
After breakfast, the training begins in earnest. Sally favours a carrot and stick and fishing-line approach with her eyebrows, although other individuals will find other techniques are better for theirs. It depends on the eyebrow, its age, haircount, willingness to try new things etc. Sitting in front of a wall-size mirror, Sally’s eyebrows are given a pep talk. She tells them they can do it, they really can, if only they believe in themselves. This is America, she tells them, anythingis possible with hard work and a can-do attitude! She urges them to dream big and reach for the stars. At this point, if she feel her eyebrow is skeptical, she may show a video of Lance Armstrong or a particularly encouraging episode of Barney, who “really possesses a lot of life-wisdom if you know how to listen” (Bill) . This is THE CARROT part.
However, on some not-so-good days – and doesn’t the questionably good Lord know we all have those – she might fall to her knees and stroke her eyebrows cajollingly, pleading either one of them to rise independently, just this once, please! One eyebrow, hairier than its fellow, responds to this stroking a little better than the other, and some raising does indeed take place. Sally was once told by a seaside psychic that that eyebrow had a strong masculine aura, so this doesn’t surprise her but – ever hard on herself ho ho – she doesn’t count this as an actual bona fide eyebrow raise. At this point, wretched with shame at her lack of control with the stroking business, Sally, has often contemplating shaving her eyebrows right off and giving up, ending her battle. But someone once told her she had nice ones, and some small foolish vanity has never allowed her to go through with it because they said her eyebrows were nice too.
THE STICK is an actual stick, with which she beats herself about eyebrows if she suspects they are not trying hard enough. It’s quite tiny but it really smarts when thwacked by someone who means it. There is also a little whip, I’m told, but it rarely used; she is not a monster. She mentions it quite a lot though, just to keep these eyebrows on their hairy little toes.
THE FISHING-LINE approach consists mainly of hooking a fishing-line to the eyebrow and jerking it in an upward motion. This imprints a “muscle memory” according to Bill, and Sally trusts his advice implicitly – he has been in the Unibrowular-Lifting Training Program now, longer than anyone she knows, and has amassed a wealth of knowledge, despite not ever actually managing to raise just the one eyebrow.
A variation on this is the weighted eyebrow lift, where the fishing line is attached to a series of small lead weights and the eyebrow works to lift them; but that method is only really for actors, body-builders and the professionally supercilious. It is not advised for amateurs.
After a hard morning at it, Sally changes and readies herself for her part-time job as a basic-cable, viewer-send-in video-bloopers television show host. She was given the job despite her lack of formal eyebrow qualifications because she was sleeping with the producer at the time. That producer was later found slain in his car with the note “You shan’t have her, she’s mine!” stapled to his forehead. Investigators were led, via a fallen pair of used tweezers, back to “Bill” from eyebrow-group and he was questioned at length, but in Bill’s own triumphant words “They couldn’t get me for nuffing!” Even though nobody had accused him of nuffing anybody.
Anyway, the long and the less-long of it is that the new producer is demanding that Sally be able to raise one eyebrow or she will be thrown off the show. So you can see then, why she is so keen to acquire her eyebrow-raising skills as soon as she can. If she loses this show it is going to be a major setback in working up to being a MSNBC news analyst. It is Sally’s dream to one day replace Wall-Street whizzkid and famous beauty, Maria Bartiromo, as television’s most popular “Honey On the Money” or “Econobabe.”
And so, at the end of a busy day, Sally, her head swimming with theory, her eyebrows often aching, ignores Bill’s on average 14 texts with great new training ideas, and finally sinks into her bed. But there is no rest for poor Sally even now. Before she can sleep, she studies publicity shots of her idol, Roger Moore for his breathtaking artistry and sheer technical virtuosity. A small sigh will often escape as she contemplates the poetry of his rising arch, the profundity of his downward sweep. He is a Unilevitus Glabellar God. He is her Unilevitus Glabellar God. O to be born with such a gift!
Sally might weep hysterically a little at her own facial ineptitude before she sleeps, rending her sheets and tearing at her lovely hair, but let’s leave her there, shall we, friends? Trying to comfort her now would only lead to her screaming and continued distress over strangers off the internet seeing her in her nightie.
I leave you too then, gentle blogging types, with this question: for what goal would you sacrifice your mental health? And what goal would you sacrifice someone else’s for? (If you are now, or have ever worked at either Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo Bay, please do not respond to that last one. Also, if you are called Candy or Biff, it might be better if you don’t answer either.)