Monday, March 7, 2011


Ah, the price of vanity. Earbaby says she is not a girly-girl (she has the black clothes, skull and crossbone accessories to prove it), but the day after her 12th birthday, she decided she wanted to get her eyebrows waxed. She has seen me have it done several times, and I told her very explicitly of the pain of having hair ripped out of your face, but she wouldn't let that deter her. "See how bushy my eyebrows are," she pleads. The day of her birthday was exciting. Three friends at school made her birthday cards, she looked forward to dinner out with her dad and me (sushi is her favorite food, so we went to a nice Japanese restaurant) and her first present came after school with a mani-pedi at our favorite place.

We both like having manicures and pedicures and it had been awhile for both of us. So we head out after school. The owner of the shop wasn't in, so we had to forgo the eyebrow torture for another day, but she was still determined 24 hours later. As soon as she gets into the car after school, EB, all of 12 years and 1 day old, says, "let's go now and get our eyebrows done, then I'll come back and do my homework."

Now, when she first broached the subject with me, I warned her that it hurt. A lot. And I was actually surprised EB wanted to do this. We had been watching (and ridiculing) the show Toddlers and Tiaras about the youth beauty pageant scene, and were appalled at the sight of these little ones having their eyebrows waxed. We were appalled by several aspects of the whole show, but some of our guilty pleasures include "reality" shows like Hoarders, Animal Hoarders, and other types of shows that celebrate the saddest of the human condition. All right, I'm not a perfect mom, shielding my daughter from these hideous shows, disguised as "helpful." But I don't pretend they appeal to anything more than the car-wreck rubbernecking type of viewer. I do draw the line at letting her watch any graphic violence, sexual content and suggestive dialogue, much of which is on network television. I'm not going to pretend just because there's violence and hate in the world, watching it as entertainment is somehow "educational."

But back to gratuitous cosmetic torture. EB dismissed my (multiple) warnings. I ran the idea by my husband, just to make sure he had no objections. He had none, and so, I decided, that I could bend on this one. We've already made rules on multiple piercings in the ears (no), tattoos (not until I'm dead) and ridiculous hair colors (not while she's in school, where it's not allowed anyway, and absolutely nothing that's permanent). In short, nothing that is irreversible or expensive to reverse.

Our mani-pedicurist uses honey instead of wax. We marched in, and I volunteered to go first, giving her one more chance to back out. Unfortunately, she (and I) liked the results. Ana was very good with  her, didn't make her eyebrows too thin and they looked natural, just neater when all was done. I gave her a $20 for the $16 service, and we were on our way. EB, as always, was a trouper. She didn't flinch, cry or complain. She liked the result.

And she laughed as we got back in the car. "Ouch! That really hurt! I was almost tearing up. I like the way it looks, but that hurt! I don't think I'll do that again!" I joined in her laughter as we agreed the plucking of the little hairs after the warm honey and then ripping off with the cloth strips added to the torture. And not in a good way. Even though Ana had put some soothing gel on afterward, the area was still inflamed with nice angry pink stripes outlining her eyebrows. "Toldja," I said.

When we got home I pulled a booboo bunny out of the freezer. We've had them since she was little enough to get booboos that required more than mom's kiss to heal. On her petulant days she objects to calling them "booboo bunnies." But today, the cooling little rabbit on her eyebrows was just what she needed. Will she do this again? Oh yeah, I'll be surprised if she doesn't look at her beautiful face in a few weeks and decide yet again that she has caveman eyebrows. And I'll take her again for the mani-pedi with the optional eyebrow torture. I'll warn her again that it really hurts.

The price of vanity. Ouch indeed.

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