It was late August, the last stretch of summer sabbatical before my 7th grade year. My first year of junior high. First impressions were of the utmost importance for a novice middle schooler like me. It was junior high for goodness sake!
That year, the dog days of summer were dripping with shenanigans. The commandeering of my mom’s Virginia Slims from the fireplace mantel. Frolicking and fishing in Mary’s Creek. Tearing up the trails on four wheelers until the sun dipped down behind the lanky pine trees making navigation ambitious to say the least. Dressing in black on any given night and sneaking out with movements akin to teenage ninjas with a house wrapping goal in mind.
My summertime running buddy was a feisty female named Beth. I have no idea where that crazy comrade is today and it’s probably best. Tomfoolery seemed to pursue us relentlessly. She had the knack of convincing me to do just about anything.
We spent many summer afternoons trying to execute the perfect, blonde, summer locks that beautified the faces of the fashionistas who appeared on the cover of Seventeen magazines. Sun-In was our chemical weapon of choice on this particular day. Other days, lemon juice or peroxide would aid us in our summer hair goals.
All too often, our hair looked nothing like the aforementioned magazine fashionistas. Instead we were left with straw like, orange, fading to yellow manes.
One afternoon after our Sun-In spritzing ceremony, we decided the sun would take entirely too long to transform us into the blonde beauties that we so longed to be.
If heat was the catalyst, why not use a blow dryer to speed up the process. We didn’t achieve the exact look we were going for but that was the least of my worries. After some thought, Beth brought me around to believing that our eyebrows, meaning my eyebrows should receive the same Sun-In sanctification. “You do it first, Juls.” Oh, how many times I heard those five words during my adolescent years. Oh, how I had obliged under most circumstances. I was her guinea pig on more than one occasion.
I sprayed the contents of that magical bottle on both of my eyebrows and the heating commenced. The transformation was swift and extreme. This was the least of my worries.
All I could think about was walking onto the Pearland Junior High campus with eyebrows the color of Garfield’s fur. Beth had the perfect solution! She always did! She convinced me that shaving the comical cat colored brows would fix all of my problems. By convince I mean bet me that I wouldn’t.
My hand was shaking as I stood confident, looking in the mirror, clutching the old school razor that belonged to my dad. The razor that I was forbidden to shave my legs with. He seemed to have overlooked the shaving of the eyebrows disclosure.
I had full intentions of just knocking off the top layer, unearthing the brown brows below. A little here and a little there. You know what they say about good intentions. The road to hell is paved with them.
I started on the outside of my right eyebrow and made a slight swiping motion towards the center of my forehead. Folks, there is no such thing as taking a little off when you are using that kind of razor. At least not possessing the skill level or lack thereof that I possessed. In one fell swoop, my orange eyebrow was gone. We stood shoulder to shoulder in disbelief.
What was I to do now? My left eyebrow was perched above my eye looking like a flat cheeto. My right brow, missing in action. Beth would know what to do, she always did! She convinced me that shaving the left to match the right was the only solution. That antidote appeared to be the perfect cure for my ailment. Hands shaking, I knew in my heart what had to be done. Off came the other eyebrow.
I wish that I had a picture of that ridiculousness. It gets worse, as if being without eyebrows wasn’t bad enough. Like now, I maintained a summer tan year round and stepped it up a notch or two in the summer. My face was sunkissed to just the right degree of golden brown. My tan brow, however made the evidence of the once present eyebrows stick out like two sore thumbs.
I did start junior high with jacked up eyebrows. It took them until Christmas to make an appearance albeit a scant one. I survived. Junior high was an awkward time for all of us. My eyebrows were only a topic of conversation for a little while. To this day, I recall this memory when I get my eyebrows waxed.