How To Pluck Your Eyebrows
A Short Story by Nicole Krueger
Written using the suggestion "Tweezer"
Originally featured on 04-13-2010
As part of our series "On Not Splitting Hairs"

Step 1: Approach the tweezers with respect—do not be fooled by their small stature. They are all that stands between you and winning your boyfriend back at the office cocktail mixer from that thieving, two-browed bitch from HR.

 

Step 2: Find a secluded bathroom, preferably one with soundproofing, and lay out everything you will need: a pair of chopsticks, two cotton swabs, a topical anesthetic, an eyebrow pencil, and a bottle of Plymouth gin. (Do not bother with a glass.)

 

Step 3: Stare at yourself in the mirror until your face becomes a random jumble of parts that no longer make any sense. Using a magnified mirror, focus in on the space between your eyes, just above the bridge of your nose. Do not be distracted by any crater-like pores; the black hairs are your target.

 

Step 4: Repeat the following affirmation five times: I will be beautiful, brilliant, classy, and have two eyebrows tonight. Take one swallow of gin for courage.

 

Step 5: To measure your brow, hold one chopstick vertically along one nostril and the other chopstick from the outside of the nostril to the corner of your eye. (For extra accuracy, stick a cotton swab in each ear, attach claw clips to your lips, and make quacking sounds into the mirror.)

 

Step 6: Remove the claw clips and take another swallow of gin. If you are religious, now is the time to say any last-minute prayers.

 

Step 7: Pick up the tweezers, pinching them gently between the thumb and forefinger of your dominant hand. Click the ends together a few times to get a feel for their power. If you’ve never tweezed before, practice on a less conspicuous part of your body, such as the big toe.

 

Step 8: To help pull the skin of your brow taut, form your mouth into an O as if you are surprised. If you have trouble achieving the proper expression, relive the moment you caught your boyfriend kissing that two-browed bitch in the third-floor stairwell.

 

Step 9: With the tweezers, grasp an offending hair as close to the root as possible and yank. Note: Be careful not to include any skin in the tweezers, which could result in loss of blood.

 

Step 10: Try to get the tweezers away from your face before you sneeze.

 

Step 11: Tweeze any hair that grows outside the boundaries of the chopsticks, or any hair that refuses to lie flat in conformity with the others, or any hair that otherwise looks shifty. Pluck only a few hairs from each brow before switching to the other, in order to spread the pain as evenly as possible across the face. Apply topical anesthetic as needed.

 

Step 12: Step back from the mirror to survey the result: two nearly naked brows with slight, crooked patches of hair, like adolescent facial growth. You may wish to punctuate the moment with a double take, a string of expletives, violent tears, or all of the above.

 

Step 13: Grasp the bottle of gin by the neck, crawl into bed, and turn off your cell phone. Begin strategizing how to avoid all contact with your ex for the next month while you wait for your eyebrows to grow back.

Read More By Nicole Krueger

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Portland Fiction Project

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