Ed. note: “The Miss Jobless Chronicles” is a weekly series written by Caitlin O’Toole. Read the rest in the series here!
Maybe I’m vain, but no matter how broke I am, I always set aside $12.50 every three weeks to get my eyebrows waxed. It’s just my thing.
I’ve done a lot of comparison-shopping and a lot of research. I know every eyebrow threader, waxer, plucker and mower in the borough of Manhattan. There’s a salon on the corner of 9th and 22nd called Happy 4 U nails and I’ve come to know the owner, Micky, as the best in the brow biz.
Micky lives in the back of the salon, and if you arrive early in the morning she’ll come to the front in her nightgown and slippers, stopping at each pedicure station along the way to turn on the water jets.
On a recent visit, I needed my brows done badly. BADLY. I looked like Martin Scorsese. Now, I’ve come to trust Micky’s work, so I no longer worry that she’s going to make me look like a clown. I just let her do her thing. But on this particular day, I should have been worried.
“Oh, good morning!” Micky winks. She’s a beauty even without make-up.
“Good morning! I need a wax,” I say, pointing to my brows.
“You do! You look like monster!”
Now, when you get your eyebrows waxed, you’re not just asking someone to lovingly sculpt the hair above your eyes; your entire expression is in their hands.
And this night was especially important — I had a Match.com date. I didn’t tell Micky that, I didn’t want her to feel pressured to make me look too beautiful, but I knew that I had to look extra sharp for my date and the Frida Kahlo eyebrows had to go.
She lays me down on the plastic-covered table and puts a fresh piece of paper over an old pillow and begins to painstakingly mix the wax like some special potion only she knows the recipe for.
Micky doesn’t have a soft touch, she grabs my face and pulls it towards her and brushes powder over each eyebrow and blows on the wax, which is on wooden stick.
“You’re no working today?” she says between blows.
“Yeah, I am, but I’m working at home.”
Micky seems distracted.
She blows on the stick a few more times with her not so delicious morning breath and smears the wax underneath my right eyebrow (she always starts there for some reason). Then she slaps a piece of fabric underneath the brow and 1-2-3 pulls it off.
“Ooops,” she goes.
And my heart sank.
“Oh, nothing,” she faintly chuckles, and pulls my face to her once again, slaps some wax underneath the next eyebrow, and rrrrip.
Then she does the tops of the brows. I am getting nervous. But I’ve trusted this woman with my entire face for two years — I can’t stop now. Everything’s probably fine.
When she starts plucking, she says:
“You have grey hair in eyebrow!”
“You’re kidding!” I say, as she plucks it out and shows me.
“Don’t worry — I have grey hair all over body.”
I’m not sure I need to know that, but we move on.
She takes the cool, antiseptic-smelling liquid, wipes the wax off of my brows and says “finish!”
She hands me the mirror.
I have Marlene Dietrich eyebrows! But they are lopsided! I have a permanent look of surprise on my face! Oh…. no… my date!
I would feel bad not tipping Micky even though for the first time in two years she fucked up. So I tip her two bucks. But I do tell her how I feel.