by Teddy Sephina
One day, I thought maybe I should try to be a little more feminine. Even though I’m not exactly overly boyish, I’m not exactly magazine cover material either. In other words, not girly enough to be standing in front of a motorcycle with a Hell’s Angel straddling the bike, but not too tomboy either to be the Hell’s Angel straddling the machine.
I thought maybe I should try this eyebrow thing all the girls do these days, since apparently gone are the days when Brooke Shields’s eyebrows were sexy. I have Brooke Shields’s eyebrows. Not sexy at all. So I got a little mirror and some tweezers and I tried to do the old-fashioned plucking, since I remembered all the times Grandma would stand under the bright kitchen light, and pluck her chin hairs and eyebrows out. I used to think this a very odd morning ritual until I noticed my mom do it too, years later.
Now, in my mid-thirties, I’m having to do it. Cripes.
So, I laid out on the couch, angled myself in a way that the large lamp would shed enough light onto my face, and began the art of plucking. Unfortunately, not being educated enough in the trials and tribulations of being a cutesy girl, I plucked too much. Fed up with it all and too embarrassed to show my roommate at the time, I ran into the bathroom, and had a little freak-out session.
Then, I promptly took up a razor and shaved what was left off, thinking if Whoopi Goldberg could get away with it, why couldn’t I?
I couldn’t get away with it. It was now extremely hard to tell what facial expression I was using, and it was very disturbing. So I rooted through my roommate’s make-up kits and found an eyebrow stencil and eyebrow pencil and proceeded to draw on some eyebrows. Well, more like “colored in” a stencil I was holding over my hairless brow. Then, it didn’t look so bad.
…Or so I thought.
When my roommate showed up, wondering what I was up to, she started howling with laughter at my work of art decorating my lower forehead. I was humiliated. She asked what the hell happened and I told her, which again reduced her to a loud fit of giggles. When she finally could be mature again, she told me she would draw in the brows for me, as I definitely had no sense of symmetry in my work. I was offended. After all, I had gone to art school. But I guess I must be a Picasso, and if I wasn’t careful, I would next be drawing a nose on my chin.
So the next day, I forced myself to go to work, but not without first wearing a bandanna so low on my head, it came down to my nonexistent eyebrows, and I pulled out from underneath the bandanna some strands of hair.
Then I switched out my glasses to the bigger, chunkier retro black glasses, and I got away with it for a few days. Thank god my eyebrows grow quickly. I would have looked like Grandpa Munster if I let myself go a little too much. It’s really a darn shame.
Today, I let someone else do the eyebrows. I learned a painful lesson from all of that.
Another way I wanted to be more chic and feminine was to get highlights in my hair. One time I got it done, years ago, when I had shorter hair, and it looked really good.
So years later, with slightly longer hair, I decided to go for it again. I went to a decent salon and requested the “Highlights for Lowlife Hair Special.” When everything was finished, I looked in the mirror and recoiled in horror when I saw that my once dark brown hair was now black, and the highlights that were supposed to be a dirty blond color, were now in fact bright orange!
I looked like the Princeton Tiger! I was horrified.
I told them to do something. They said they couldn’t. I refused to pay and tore out of there and ran to the car as fast as I could, lest anyone would actually see this abomination that was my head.
I went home and cried. I thought how ugly I already was and this made it worse. I recalled that the lady who screwed this mane up told me to wait 24 to 48 hours, and then use a home coloring kit that was to be two shades darker than my natural color, and it would make all of my hair one good, darker brown color. So I tried this. I followed the directions, after wearing bandannas or hats for two days, and when the time came to see how it looked, the black was still black and the orange was even brighter!
Well, I hung out that night with a bunch of girls, lamenting my latest stroke of bad luck, with intermittent fits of giggles on their parts– certainly not mine– and by the end of the evening, the girls had shaved my head.
I now had no hair. Not one strand of long, dark brown, wavy hair graced my naked head.
Man, I have to break out the bandannas again. After a while, I had a crew cut look as the hair was growing back in, and I very briefly had a serious case of gender identity crisis.
Years later, today in fact, I have long dark brown wavy hair that will never ever get a coloring job done again by a salon or even a barber.
I put make-up on myself, and I look like I work at a fair, giving face painting jobs to little kids’ faces.
I pluck my own eyebrows, and I look like a white Whoopi! It’s not a pleasant look.
I try to get a nice hair dye or something done, and I look like I’m wearing a rainbow wig that is usually only donned by professional clowns.
I finally had to face it. I’m a tomboy. Through and through.
And I’m finally okay with that.