When I was a kid, my mum always used to tell me that skinny jeans would make a comeback. She didn’t call them ‘skinny jeans’ at the time – I think she used the word ‘drainpipes’ – but either way, she promised me that one day I would ditch my baggy Etnies knock-offs and embrace skin-hugging denim. I told her she was insane.
Fast forward a few years and there I was, using my grandma’s sewing machine to obsessively take in my H&M jeans. “Unless they cut off my blood circulation, they’re not tight enough!” I would say, and other people would laugh while I questioned my life choices and tried not to pass out.
Around this time, I spent about three hours a day straightening my hair. The fringe was the hardest bit to crack – any fringe-straightener, current or retired, will know the torment of trying to reach perfection and avoid that sticky-outy, 14-year-old-boy look.
As I stressed over my cowlick each morning, my mum would stand in the doorway and say “Give it a while and you’ll be leaving that natural. You’ll want wavy hair, you mark my words.” WAVY HAIR? My mum was clearly delusional, I decided. Wavy hair was the mark of a girl who’d been caught in the rain post-straighten, the sign of someone who’d slept in and hadn’t had time to iron out the kinks. Wavy hair was NOT something I’d want in years to come.
But you can guess how it went, probably because you ended up making the transition from super-straight to HOW-DOES-CHERYL-COLE-GET-SUCH-VOLUME?! circa 2009 as well. And I guess that the moral of the story is that mums are almost always right. Or that they had the same conversation with their parents at that age.
I always dreaded PE lessons when I was at school, because the girls I had to share them with were Satan’s daughters. The ringleader, a girl who is now actually very nice and always sends me ‘happy birthday’ wishes on Facebook, had a particular hatred for my massive eyebrows, as well as my lack of sporting ability/Jane Norman attire. Her brows were preened to perfection to mimic her idol, early ’00s J-Lo, and it became clear that she wished I would follow suit.
Having seen Grease and learnt that the only way to get the popular kids to like you is to change everything about yourself, I started trying to look a lil bit kooler at skool and asked my mum to book an appointment at the beauty salon on the high street for me. After the obligatory feminist chat about body hair she realised I wasn’t going to stfu until I looked less like Eugene Levy, so we went to the salon together and asked for someone to ‘shape’ my caterpillars. I walked home with bright red skin and prayed I wouldn’t see anyone from school.
It is now 2016, and years of hate-fuelled trips to get my eyebrow hairs ripped from their follicles have taken their toll. My brows are, in my own words, a GOD DAMN MESS. This wouldn’t be such a problem if my lifetime did not coincide with Cara Delevingne’s, but sadly it does, which means the world and its eyebrow pencil-obsessed wife are LOOKING AT YOUR BROWS.
Remember the days before Cara came along? When you were just beginning to calm down from all the teen angst and eyebrow plucking, and you sort of started to give your face a break? Then BAM, there she was. POWER BROWS! FILLING IN! 3D EXTENSIONS! FRAMING YOUR FACE! LILY COLLINS! Oh my god.
I am acutely jealous of people who have a really good, natural shape before they even start any Cara imitation. They are the people who will really succeed in this world. Year 8 PE champ uses Facebook to post selfies as well as guilt-induced birthday greetings to the people she once bullied, and I have noticed that she somehow managed to grow hers back between the years 2008 and 2012 and now seems to just ‘top them up’ when she feels like it. But I spent many years trying to make my eyebrows as small and un-noticeable as humanly possible, and I have been left with a less than desirable pair.
Waxing and threading and occasionally using my brother’s razor to do a quick job on my 2004 monobrow (DON’T YOU SAY A WORD) has managed to produce some very odd-looking things above my eyes. The left brow is longer than the right but still manages to start a good few millimetres further out, which both confuses and upsets me. The right has a MUCH better shape than the left, and I can’t seem to replicate it. My eyebrow hairs also have an irritating habit of STICKING OUT ALL OVER THE PLACE. They move around more than the average person’s. I wake up in the morning looking cross and my boyfriend will ask if I’m okay before realising it’s just my eyebrows, which have wiggled about a bit in the night and ended up furrowed.
I’ve tried ‘filling in’. I’ve tried brushing them up. I’ve tried not to scratch my eyebrows during the day lest I be left with one big and one smudged. I’ve tried to study other girls’ brows without creeping them out to see what their secret is. And you know what? I’m starting to come to the conclusion that maybe me and my eyebrows were just never meant to be pals. Maybe me and eyebrows are like Jessa and Marnie from GIRLS – we try to make it work from time to time but realistically we’re just too different and we’d both rather hang out with our mutual friend, Hannah. Who is Hannah in this situation? My face, perhaps. Are you confused? Me too.
Analogies aside, my brows are staying put until I can work out how to do them well. That, or I will hold out for a fashion wave where uneven, thin, disobedient eyebrows are in. I am going to go and ask my mum if it’s on its way.