Eyebrow Problems In Middle Age


I went through another of those middle-aged duty calls in order to meet the aesthetic expectations placed upon womankind the other day – the utter onerousness of a waxing session. I shouldn’t grumble really, hair-care it is the only beauty treatment I pay for to meet society’s expectations of beauty so that I don’t terrify small children. And as men probably say, no pain no gain!


And what a true pleasure it is, lying on a bed in the hands of some aggressive Asian while she hacks out clumps of hair from the most sensitive parts of your body.


It really hurts, waxing. In my experience, it’s an old wives tale that it gets easier the more often you do it or that over time the hairs stop growing back quite as fervently. On a pain scale of “one” being someone running their clammy hands through your hair and “ten” being childbirth, the upper lip wax is definitely an eight. 


But it’s either that or turning into a man.


In the same way that my menstrual flow seems to be defying the biology of my age, I appear to be accumulating more hair in my brows, and they now include a selection of grey, wiry ones that spring out at odd angles and at odd times of the day and are, as you can imagine, particularly attractive. Many of my friends have the opposite problem, and have been forced to invest in eyebrow pencils (with interesting results) or are considering tattoos with which to frown at their entitled adult children more convincingly. Eye brow pencils remind me of my paternal grandmother, who thought that her purple tint coordinated perfectly with her orange brow line.


I could plait my eyebrows if I wanted to and the only reason they have to be yanked out by the Thai psychopath down the road is that I can’t see them, thanks to that other life-changing disability of middle age – long-sightedness. One day I think they look fine, the next day, the look of horror on NC’s face at the sight of the two hairy caterpillars crawling across my forehead, tells me everything I need to know.


How come men can get away with bushy brows? The old man has his own set of salt and pepper eyebrow curtains, yet they look quite distinguished on him – although nowhere is nature’s cruel sense of humor more evident than by that mass of tangled hair that frames his eyes rather than his head.


I know that big brows are in! – thank you Cara Delavinge and Lily Collins – and that you can sculpt them, tint them and even turn them into the Golden Arches if you really want to make a feature of them. Recent styles have included bleached brows, dragon brows –which I assume we can blame GOT for – feather and plaited brows, and now there are even squiggle brows.


The way forward is “micro-blading”, apparently, for those of you that need a bit of help with “filling”. Alternatively, I could donate – at a price.

Romance Goals And How Sometimes It’s Best To Say Nothing At All

‘Have you farted?’ the old man said to me as he brushed past me to get into my bath water.


underwear-2613034_1920Not exactly the three words I hoped to hear when we said our vows nearly twenty-five years ago. But if he’d said ‘I love you’, I would probably have worried that he was hiding something. Not that we never say those words, but we tend to reserve them for special occasions like Christmas or for serious negotiations over the last cube of chocolate or drop of wine.


‘What’s for dinner?’ ‘let’s watch Netflix,’ and ‘can you unload the dishwasher?’ is our language of love these days. ‘Take off your panties’ – not so much – the sultry words whispered by Christian Grey to Anastasia Steele over dinner in Fifty Shades Darker, the viewing of which, (NC and I decided yesterday afternoon) counted as slightly more of an achievement than sleeping for two hours on the sofa.


Anastasia obliged immediately because she’s that kind of independent, modern woman that woman starved themselves for, who does exactly what she’s told, whereas I would probably have reacted with ‘YOU take off your panties,’ (more M&M than S&M) or the simplest words, ‘I’M EATING!’.


Even more entertaining was when she managed to inch down the itsy-bitsiest lace g-string over six-inch strappy heels which she obviously couldn’t take off first because a) they were sat in a restaurant and b) I imagine they took two hours to do up. Let’s get serious here: there is no way you could inch a g-string down your legs – no hands – without them getting caught on sandals with enough straps and buckles to look like an S&M torture device. I couldn’t help imagining my version of the scene and the camera’s lingering focus at the end on my huge granny undies caught up in my Hush Puppies to the crooning of Barry White.


Yep, romantic gestures change with age and the longevity of relationships.


A romantic gesture from the old man these days is a take-out meal or a bottle of wine that costs more than ten dollars; mine to him is permission to watch the rugby. Flowers are a rarity, that occasionally appear on our anniversary if I threaten to leave him and the last time I told him I loved him was when I got two consecutive parking tickets in one morning.


If you want a cinematic delight of a trip down memory lane to those early, heady days of young love, I suggest you don’t watch Fifty Shades Darker – the tale of two robots with dialogue that was obviously written by two kindergarten kids who forgot that both characters need lines, leaving the female protagonist stuttering and sighing  with frustration through every scene – or at least I imagine that’s what all that groaning was about. Although she does still manage to score the top job in a publishing house at the age of twenty-one so maybe I should try whimpering like a dog next time I want to nail a job.


I can recommend a good old-fashioned classic such as An Officer and a Gentleman, though. We caught the last half of it at the weekend and decided that nothing beats the chemistry between Winger and Gere, who hiss like a Chinese sizzle dish on screen. An anti-hero like Christian Grey, don’t expect awkward declarations of love from Richard “Love God” Gere, but if broody, smouldering looks, a confident swagger, a very nice chest and defined peen lines stir those dormant embers – sorted!


In the words of Ronan Keating, ‘sometimes you say it best when you say nothing at all.’




Health Anxiety And The Ability To Identify When There IS Something Actually Wrong

Even though I have a massive health anxiety issue and spend most of my day counting the different ways I will contract cancer on Dr. Google, I rarely go to the doctor. 

The good news about having a potentially broken finger means that I can give the old man the finger whenever he asks me to do anything.



Because what if I find out there IS actually something wrong with me?


There should be a point system that people like me can fill out with pertinent questions such as:


Could this disfigure you for life?

Does Dr Google refer to the C word at all?

Can you wipe your bum?

Do your children scream and run away when they see you?

Any sightings of the Grim Reaper or crows yet?


That way we could gauge the necessity of a very expensive visit to the doctor and blocking appointments for people that actually require them.


“Anxiety” is a crazy mind fuck, particularly when it’s related to your health. It’s the sort of condition that gives you helpful advice such as its OK to drink tons of wine each day because you’re dying anyway. It tells you to ignore surgery because of that one person in Peru that had a pre-existing heart condition and was operated on in a makeshift hospital in the jungle, that didn’t wake up.


So I tend to ignore the potentially serious, life-threatening stuff.


I had a “work-related” accident a couple of months ago – one that I should have reported in hindsight, because … workplace insurance? – so that inherited “you’ll be fine”, “there’s nothing wrong” attitude – handed down to me by my single, working mother, who never let us miss a day off school unless we needed hospitalization, could prove costly now.


The accident happened when I was with a client in her new home and I opened the door of a kitchen wall unit, which fell off its hinges and what felt like the weight of an entire Amazonian forest gravitated towards me. In my desperation, the designer in me put the aesthetic of the newly tiled floor before my own safety and I broke the fall of the door by shielding it, super-heroine-style, with my middle finger.


At the time, it wasn’t that painful. I was in shock, I imagine. But pretty quickly my finger swelled to double its size, rather like a penis (if you’re lucky), with this huge lump at the middle joint. While it was swollen – for weeks – I convinced myself it was sprained and that “it would be fine” and in the meantime, I milked my injury for everything it was worth and held up my finger any time the old man asked me to do anything, with a ‘sorry!’


I’d heard somewhere that, medically, there’s nothing you can do with broken fingers – if it was broken, (which I assured myself it wasn’t) – and as time passed and the swelling finally began to subside, I tried to ignore the fact that my finger was blatantly bent in the middle and that I still cannot form a fist without reaching for a medicinal glass of wine.


So today I am going to see a very expensive hand doctor, who I assume will tell me there’s nothing they can do about my physical dysmorphia and because I am right-handed (and it will affect my livelihood), he will write me out a disabled parking sticker for the Aldi car park, so that I don’t have to sit there for an hour waiting for women to finish their conversations about Masterchef, and more especially because I’m now unable to tap my finger on the steering wheel or beep the car horn in frustration.


Obviously, there is a valuable lesson to be learned from this story, which is: never go in the kitchen.