Hanging on by a Thread: My Quarantine Eyebrows

by Akanksha Aurora
Akanksha Aurora

I’ve prepared for a lot of things in my life.

When the Independence Day earthquake rocked LA last year, I stocked up. I ordered a four-person family earthquake kit – for myself. When my apartment almost got broken into this winter, I bought a baseball bat in the hopes that that adrenaline would give me the strength to bash a  prospective  assailant over the head with it. I have flashlights, first aid kits, batteries, charged-up power packs, emergency edibles. I’m nothing if not prepared.

But girls, I have to confess: I’ve never, ever been prepared for a scenario in which I couldn’t get my eyebrows threaded anymore.

When the lockdown began in earnest, I made a promise to myself – of course I’d do whatever it took to honor the mandate for public safety. I’d be a perfectly good citizen, I’d mask up, glove up, bathe in hand sanitizer, whatever.  You wouldn’t catch me complaining about the indefinite hold on dick appointments, the closed bars, months of canceled shows. I’d keep my roster of boys hooked with thirst traps. I’d drink at home. I’d tell myself jokes in the mirror if it came down to it. I was good. My promise to myself was to sit tight and weather the storm.

And that’s when it happened.

One day, about two weeks into quarantine, I rolled out of bed and sauntered into the bathroom to start my day. It was a normal morning like any other – a good morning text from the guy I wished would just disappear into thin air, last night’s Instagram thirst trap viewed and not responded to by the skinny white dude I’d been crushing on for months. I looked up from my phone to do my morning skincare routine –and that’s when I noticed it.

The unibrow.

Slowly but surely, my once perfect arches had begun to undulate. My eyes roamed across the mirror, clocking one stray strand of hair on the temple, one above the brow, and finally – the dreaded, prickly bridge between my brows. I gasped as the realization hit me – isolation had officially turned me into a monster. This was the ethnic girl version of Kafka’s metamorphosis.

I dialed in to the Zoom call for work at 9:00 AM on the dot, but didn’t dare show my face. Instead, I half-listened to the boomers talk about their stocks and kids while frantically googling how to thread my own eyebrows. My fellow, more resourceful brown sisters smiled at me as they patiently explained the process on YouTube, repeating over and over that it would take time to learn.

Learn? A skill? Slowly? With Corona-levels of anxiety? No chance.

So, of course, I did the next best thing. I went back to the bathroom and stared at the tweezers I once got in a makeup subscription box and never used. Well, okay. I’d used them to pluck the one insistent chin hair that makes an appearance every three weeks or so. But as a lifelong eyebrow threader, I’d always scoffed at those mere mortals who resorted to plucking.

And here I was.

Gingerly, I grabbed the cursed object and got to work. Just some harmless plucking, right? Wrong. Ten minutes later, I was unrecognizable. I looked in the mirror and found brown Ronald McDonald staring back at me. If I didn’t have all this acne from being horny in solo quarantine, I’d have done a full-face of clown makeup just to complete the look. The perfect arches from just two weeks ago were long gone…a distant (and fond) memory.

For the duration of the quarantine, I’m doomed. This is a lost cause. When all this is over, I’m going to slow-mo Bollywood run to my eyebrow lady, throw the doors open, and cry in relief. Oh, and I’ll get my eyebrows and self-esteem back on track, obviously.

Not to be dramatic, but, if you have ethnic girls in your lives, please send thoughts and prayers for our eyebrows. We’re going through it over here. And if we end up on the same Zoom call, I’ll be self-aware. I’ll go ahead and change my Zoom background to the PlayPlace faster than you can type “Akanksha McDonald.”

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