Friday, 28 November 2014

Raising eyebrows

This was what my right eye (opened as wide as possible) looked like in February 2009. My eyebrows were in a transitional state from 'very bushy' to 'completely over-plucked'. Nevertheless, I considered the look OK for a print of this shot that I inserted into the address tag on my posh Prada handbag. Anyone contemplating an attack on my person - or the snatch-and-grab theft of my very expensive bag - would see this 'evil eye' and hopefully think again! I was more than half-serious about the 'evil eye' bit. I felt very vulnerable in those days, and any little thing that might ward off molestation found a place in my defensive arsenal.

I still haven't achieved elegance with my eyebrows, but they seem to be in a much better state than they used to be. More on that in a moment. Back in the Old life I had thick eyebrow hair growth, low over the eye on both sides of the face. I became frantic to get rid of so much unwanted eyebrow hair, and arrive at something not only shapely but elevated well above the eyes. In doing so I plucked and plucked until one day there was next to nothing left. Indeed, by the end of 2010 I was pencilling my eyebrows on every day! Here, for example is a shot of me in the restaurant at the Tate St Ives, in Cornwall:

I soon decided that this look was too artificial, quite apart from needing a level of skill with a pencil that I couldn't always come up with. So I stayed with the fringe, and let it conceal the (by now) barely-visible eyebrow lines.

Pathetic they might be, but at least my eyebrows were entirely natural. And well above my eyes too. Something had happened to my face, mostly induced by the hormones, but at least partly by retraining my facial muscles to adopt a wide-eyed expression as often as possible. The entire eye area had opened up, so that the eyes looked larger, and oval (no longer like slits) - and with the eyebrows perched well above them. But they were higher than they used to be only because of savage plucking. I kept on plucking, pretty well daily, to discourage the old hair growth that would keep coming back. It didn't make the skin around my eyes look pretty. But at least the low-brow pre-transition appearance was kept in check.

However, the eyebrows themselves remained stubbornly insubstantial. They never got thicker in their higher position. This was because they were in fact on the upper edge of what had once been there, and therefore above the most active growth area. And the hairs that did grow were coloured blonde, grey or white, and therefore didn't show up well. There were very few dark hairs, which would have given my eyebrows definition and character.

But now, in late 2014, it seems that the eyebrows are beginning to grow properly at last! It's as if the main hair growth area has shifted upwards of its own accord. Perhaps the plucking has, after all, had its intended long-term effect. Dark hairs are starting to appear in quantity, and over the next few months I feel confident that I will acquire eyebrows I need not feel ashamed of. Here's a shot I took this morning, in my study:

There's definitely more lurking under that fringe than there used to be. Here's another shot taken soon afterwards in the better light of my lounge, with a close-up, to illustrate what I'm talking about more clearly:

Next year's pictures will, I hope, show even darker eyebrows. I will be very careful indeed about plucking these new brows into a nice shape. I feel very lucky that I'm getting a second chance to have something attractive.

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