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Raising eyebrows
editor's notes

I hadn’t been in the barber’s chair for more than five minutes Saturday when the lady barber whirled me around and asked: “You want me to trim those little eyebrows of yours?”

I answered politely but in the negative.

“No thanks. I’m trying to set a record,” I said.

And I am. None of this manscaping nonsense for me. I want my eyebrows to grow ever more full and fulsome – i.e., of “large size or quantity, generous and abundant,” so they’ll look like giant hairy caterpillars and I can waggle them fiercely at people who say things like, “want me to trim those little eyebrows for you?”

Besides, did Ghengis Khan or George Patton have their eyebrows trimmed? Did Vince Lombardi? How about Paul Bear Bryant?

I don’t know, actually. But I sure don’t remember reading anything about it in school if they did. My guess is they were probably too busy taking over Asia Minor or winning the Battle of the Bulge or whipping Auburn and everybody else to worry about eyebrows.

That said, my father trimmed his eyebrows once that I’m aware of – he was 79 at the time and one of them went rogue and got on his nerves. He began whacking away with his electric razor and next thing you know one was longer than the other, or wider, maybe, and he tried to even them up. By the time Mom found him Dad had about a third of one eyebrow left and a ninth of the other.

Mom, being a woman of course, long ago dispossessed herself of her eyebrows so she could draw some on to suit her, and still does.

Once, years ago, after coming out of a surgery and high on whatever they’d inflated her with, Mom sort of stage whispered asking whether she had her eyebrows on, which still cracks us up pretty good. That’s because unlike TV news people and the ever-growing peanut gallery of online know-it-alls, us rumpled weekly print journalists are able to laugh at ourselves and our moms.

Anyway, I’ve done some research – i.e., checked out Wikipedia – and am not at all surprised to learn that eyebrows are good for you.

From Wikipedia, a copy and paste:

“A number of theories have been proposed to explain the function of the eyebrow in humans including that its main function is to prevent moisture, mostly salty sweat and rain, from flowing into the eye, or that clearly visible eyebrows provided safety from predators when early hominid groups started sleeping on the ground [1] ...”

See, eyebrows keep you from getting eaten by wild hogs should you accidentally fall asleep in a lawn chair after a beer too many. But there’s more. “Recent research, however, suggests that eyebrows in humans developed as a means of communication and that this is their primary function. Humans developed a smooth forehead with visible, hairy eyebrows capable of a wide range of movement which are able to express a wide range of subtle emotions – including recognition and sympathy.”

A little further down, Wikipedia says that “In Western societies, it has become more common for men to pluck part of their eyebrows.”


Oh, the horror. And then this bit of info.

You can get “an eyebrow transplant,” which is just the ticket for “people who have genetically thin eyebrows or who have over-tweezed,” says Wikibrow. Over-tweezed?

What’s more, how do you transplant an eyebrow? Duct tape? Is there an eyebrow waiting list, same as for kidneys and livers? And since I’m an organ donor, does that make me an eyebrow donor too?

If I get run over by a manscaped and overtweezed 40-year-old Luke Bryan wannabe in a pickup the size of a tank, will paramedics look at my license then rip my eyebrows off and put them in a cooler and load them onto a helicopter to fly off to someone who over-tweezed?

And besides, what does it cost to stick on some new eyebrows? I Googled it.

“An eyebrow transplant typically costs between $3,000 and $6,000, including the surgeon fee, anesthesia and facility fee,” said one website,

An aside: I have since learned that some people have to have eyebrow transplants because they were disfigured due to fire or accident – and I get that it could be necessary, and am with them 100 percent. I wish them well. I would look like a boiled peanut with no eyebrows. Or that guy on The Hills Have Eyes.

I have also learned after further research one uses one’s own pelt – usually from the back of leg or thigh or wing because head hair grows too long, I gather. And with anything there are risks. Google “eye transplants gone wrong” and you see some scary photos, kind of like me, maybe, though this line sort of stuck out: “As the new follicles are taken from the scalp area, where there is a higher and faster rate of hair growth, many patients express concern that their eyebrows will become unruly, with rogue hairs growing in the wrong direction, requiring constant maintenance.”

Nah. Just let them grow. And have a great week.

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