There are some people in my life—my husband and my son—who would proffer that I surround myself with “Freaky” people. My daughter, who wants to be a lawyer, would advise that my friends are eclectic. I don’t usually like to categorize, but if forced, I might concede that typically my friends are “artsy” with artistic trends. Because of this difference of interpretation, my family always ask, “Who else is going” when I suggest an outing and therefore are often left out to suffer the doldrums of living in a beige, or at least ecru life.
Okay, so maybe once my friend pulled off her sweater in the middle of our meal at an upscale restaurant because the tag was seriously causing her anxiety. And to be fair I should mention that she never wears a bra. I quickly ripped the tag off the garment and she had her sweater back on before more than the closest tables noticed. I didn’t find that embarrassing and certainly not “mortifying” as it has been recounted and enhanced numerous times—there were no nuns sitting in the next table. And, yes, I do have a friend who has to eat at specific times each day. She is a 30-year member of Overeaters Anonymous and she is a triathlon athlete, which I admit seems a bit of oxymoron. This means if we are again in a 4-star restaurant-and the food is not out at precisely the right time, my friend will whip out a previously baked potato, a carton of imported figs, or a Tupperware bowl of steamed broccoli. Chefs, it seems, take this as a personal affront to their ability, but again, I wouldn’t call the experience “Humiliating”.
The truth is, I don’t seek out, or have a ‘Magnet for Mutants” as my husband puts it. When I meet a new acquaintance and talk about them at home, my family await the “and” as most await the pizza delivery person bringing the new offering of stuffed cheese crusts. I start with the typical facts: geographical, family, education, profession and I watch them stretch up, eyebrows starting the rise, as I add something like, “and they are animal communicators”, and “they walked to Alaska to protest diminishing national park land.” And then they High-Five and sing, “Another One Bites the Dust.”
I am not a vanilla person. I totally agree that French Vanilla and Pure Vanilla are fabulous but with so many other flavors to explore why settle for something so average. I am not one for the middle of the road. “How can you have no opinion?” I might ask my husband, “How is that possible”? He tries to shrug but has learned that is like waving a red cape in front of a lot of bull. “Well, I just haven’t thought about how ‘the Kindle will reduce our society culturally to the point of having the ability to only read bulleted banter. Perhaps I can work it in my thoughts next week”
I gave him a stare until he looked away; perhaps convinced I have a super power after all.
So, when my friends Karen and Deanna called to suggest we go the New York for a few days for the Westminster Dog Show, my husband was thrilled.
“I don’t have to go do I?” No, I said. You don’t. Please stay here and watch reruns of “Gunsmoke” and “Corner Gas”. The fact that it is his sister’s dog, the Doberman Pincher (who won the Working Group) had a possible chance for Best In Show did not sway him. “It’s almost like it’s your niece”, I said finally.
“Sometimes I feel like calling uncle,” he said, as he waved me onto the train.
What can I say. When together, we draw a crowd. Karen is one who likes to touch, she hugs strangers, she gets within an inch of their personal space, she chat-chats people at other tables, elevator operators, and cab drivers.
People like extroverts. We usually get a lot of perks--free drinks at the comedy club, free desserts at restaurants, gossip from cabbies—even ones who don’t speak English.
And so we found ourselves at Brow Bar at the Benefit area of Macy’s.
“We have to get our eyebrows done!” Karen announced. I looked at her perfectly arched numbers that she had recently had tattooed on. “Now?” I asked, we were on a break between morning judging and Great Danes at 2:00. “Yes, now!”
I didn’t know there was even such a thing as a Brow Bar. In the gene handout, my sister had been given the ones for “doing hair”, and all things conducted with a needle. She makes her own coats and crochets dishrags. She could arch eyebrows.
My cosmetic girl was already in Karen’s aura and was still laughing when she finally came over to me.
My eyebrows stopped that rather abruptly.
“I know that one of them is really only half an eyebrow, it kind of stops short. I’ve been told this is actually common.”
“It is.” Rebekka nods. “But most people then draw it in.”
“Well, I just came up on the train yesterday.” I answered and let that imply what it would.
Karen, in the mean time, had attracted a crowd. She had chat-chatted a few of the make-up artists who were working on her colors, gratis, before a large crowd who thought they were listening to a stand up comic-- sitting on the cosmetic stool. Deanna, holding our bags, maintained her own natural beauty while taking photos of our pluckings and shadings.
Rebekka applied wax and asked where I previously had my eyes “done”.
“Well, the nail salon does them.”
“And in between?” I was actually really in between. I hadn’t had my brows waxed since Christmas. “I check them sometimes…”
Rebekka came in close for fifteen minutes of precision work where she seemingly identified and lassoed each errand hair and eliminated it with what felt like a scalpel. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched Deanna take photos of Karen who at that point was putting gold eyeliner on one of the male artists. Rebekka continued my brow transformation by applying brown wax and shadow in tiny 1/32 inch strokes.
When finished, she handed me a brow kit that contained the required materials to maintain my “look”-- Wax, shadow, brush, and miniscule tweezers that looked Lilliputian in my hand.
“They’re small so you can throw them in your purse—you have to keep checking for stray hairs.”
I thanked her and handed over the required 120.00 for product and service as Karen gathered three bags of full product sized “Samples”.
“Wasn’t that Sweet”, she said as we swept through the doors.
“Aren’t they sweet?” I asked my husband two days later as I tried to replicate what the make-up artist did in 20 minutes to my shorthand version of 2. Okay, my strokes may have been a tad larger. And darker. And “blending in” is not as easy as it sounds.
My husband made that squinting face that he does when he is beyond words—last time I saw it, my son had knocked the driver’s side mirror off the car.
“You went to the dog show, right?” He finally asked. I nodded.
“Why do you let your weird friends talk you into letting a dog groomer do your eyes then?”
I gave him a look, hoping a super power kicked in
Brown Eyed Girl