I have been feeling seriously left out. Everywhere around me, there are such intriguing conversations around how to deal with the surge of body hair that people, mostly women, are witnessing courtesy the lockdown. So, I had to make a confession. I am not facing any such challenge. I have never ever plucked my eyebrows, but I can thread my upper lips, chin, et al. Some days ago, I even gave myself a haircut.
Ok please close your mouth now!
As someone in the office compared their growing eyebrows to caterpillars, I made this confession to my editor who called me a self-sustaining alien and suggested I write this story down. However, I am sure if she were in front of me she would have looked at me like I had confessed a crime.
I have never ever plucked my eyebrows, but I can thread my upper lips, chin, et al. Some days ago, I even gave myself a haircut.
So, now I know for sure I have a privilege during this lockdown. Perhaps the only one, as I cannot make Dalgona coffee, have given up on attending the online yoga classes and I haven’t ticked off anything on my reading list. I am not exactly acing this mop, clean, cook, feed, eat, work, repeat schedule! But I need to celebrate!
Back to my confession, the privilege is part genetic and part my reluctance in entering a salon or parlours as we used to call them while growing up. When I was growing up, womenfolk in my family, during most get-togethers always complimented my eyebrows and convinced me that I don’t need them plucked they are "perfect". I took their word for it. As a teenager when I first entered a parlour I decided I hated them. I detested the protocol of getting sized-up at the door, then getting ushered in, asked questions about what cream, which shampoo, when was the last haircut, and so on, I still do. So, I decided to take matters in my hand. And things have been mostly like that except during the trap called ‘pre-bridal treatment’ when the stylist convinced me to clip the stray brows.
I detested the protocol of getting sized-up at the door, then getting ushered in, asked questions about what cream, which shampoo, when was the last haircut, and so on, I still do. So, I decided to take matters in my hand.
Every once in a while when I have to enter a parlour and tell the people not to touch my eyebrows I see their jaws dropping. Personally, the idea of shaping my brows as per a trend is a very repulsive one.
As of threading my own upper lip, it was in eighth or the ninth grade when a friend had taught me how to do it. There were no DIY videos then as YouTube had still not seen the light of the day. It is painful, but a very handy skill to keep your upper lip fuzz-free. And I have a newfound appreciation for this skill under the present circumstances.
Every once in a while when I have to enter a parlour and tell the people not to touch my eyebrows I see their jaws dropping.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not shaming anybody for deciding to show off their body hair. It’s about choices, and the freedom to make them. I love all the conversation about how women are owning their body hair and talking about it. It brings me to the only reason I love Delhi winters because you can cover yourself up in layers and skip your waxing appointments.
We have seen several celebrities flaunt body hair in an attempt to normalize the conversation around it. However, in real life, it is still not a common site that women walk around with body hair. Can this pandemic situation actually help us change it? It is something I think we all need to think about.
And for those of you who are going to meet me in person once this lockdown is over, please don’t let me catch you staring at my eyebrows.
The views expressed are the author's own.