Eyebrows 101

Now that's an eyebrow job

Now that’s an eyebrow job

My middle kid is beginning to think a bit less about hoola hooping and a bit more about looking pretty.  She asked for a hair straightener for Christmas.  It’s basically an iron – I use it on my shirts sometimes.  I’m afraid of it.  It’ll burn the crap out of you.  And where do you use it?  Right near your head and face.  I wouldn’t use a chain saw to cut my hair.  Why use an iron to straighten it?  Dan-ger-ous!

Recently, we were at Belk and went to their glass eyebrow closet.  Very, very interesting.

We thought it might be time to shape up the little devils.  I decided I’d watch carefully so that I could do them next time and save $20.  If I have to fund six ten-dollar brows a month for the next decade, that’s $7,200.  I wonder if we let them grow together in the middle if she’d just charge me for one.  Oh, and you gotta leave a tip.  Maybe they could rotate months – left brow on the evens and right on the odds.

Stephanie sat on a tall pink stool while the lady inspected her face with a big magnifying mirror.  Why would anyone look at their face with a mirror like this?  It accentuates your ugly.  I held it up to my eyeball, and it scared me to death.  My eye looked like Uncle Festus from the Adams Family.  Huge dark circles helped frame the droopy bags.  There is skin resting on the top of my eyelid.  It serves no purpose.  What’s it doing there?  It looked like you could have stored my spare change in the pores.  Don’t look in those mirrors.  A glance in a full length on the way out of the door is as close as a 47-year-old should get to their own reflection.  I look much better from a distance.

The clinician then used Stuart Little’s comb  and scissors to trim Steph’s brows.  It was like a mini  Supercuts.  I told her to take plenty off the sides but to leave enough in the front for a solid part.  I could do that; it didn’t look very hard.

The woman then pulled out a honey jar full of hot tan wax.  She slopped a blob above Stephanie’s left eyebrow.  When I was a kid, I loved hot wax.  I couldn’t wait until the Christmas Eve service at church.  Excited about Jesus’ birthday?  Nah.  I was pumped that we got to hold lit candles and drip the wax on our hands.  My brother and I would turn the candle on its side and wax the inside of our palms.  It was painful but in a good sort of way.  My late night church services and shoving my hands in my mom’s candles after a dinner party would surely be enough experience for me to take on this task in the future.

“This might sting a bit,” our Belk employee warned.  She grabbed the end of the wax and RRRRRIIIP!  Those little hairs didn’t have a chance.

I think my girls are beautiful with or without eyebrows.  But if they want to spiffy them up, I’m game.  Gonna dig in the church supply closet on Sunday to find the box marked Christmas candles.  Once I find them, we’re good to go!

My Strategic Savings Plan

The very first blog post I wrote over two years ago was about learning to braid hair.  It took Stephanie and me thirty minutes to pull off one small strand on the side of Michelle’s head.

I was so proud!

But now, now I’ve learned to French braid!  And not only  regular French braid, but reverse French braid.  I call it Hcnerf (Huk – nurf).

Two weeks ago, Stephanie walked in the kitchen with a head of wet hair.  “Dad, can you do the Katniss braid?”

“The cat nip braid?  What are you talking about?”

“No.  Katniss from The Hunger Games.  It’s a reverse French braid.”

“The backward French braid?  Oh, you mean the Hcnerf?”

Blank stare.

“Anyway, no.  I can’t do a forward French braid, much less a reverse French braid.”

“Will you try?  I can tell you how.”

I’ve found that braiding hair is sort of like juggling:  two hands, three clumps of hair.  It’s more difficult than riding a unicycle while tossing bone china in the air.

For those who want to learn, here’s how you do it:

Step 1:  Grab three independent clumps of hair from the front of the head.

Step 2:  Hold two clumps in one hand but keep them separate, they CANNOT intermingle.  Hold the third clump in the other hand.

Step 3:  Take the clump furthest to the left and tuck it under the middle clump.

Step 4:  Look for some random hair on the right side of the head.  Just a little.  Pick it up.  Incorporate it into the original right clump while still independently maintaining full control  of the middle and left clumps.  Then tuck the new right clump (original plus the small random piece) under the new middle piece (which used to be the left piece).

Step 5:  Repeat Step 4 on the left side of the head.

Step 6:  Continue doing Steps 4 and 5, adding little bits of hair each time.

When you get to  the top of the neck, or when two hours have passed, whichever comes first, combine all clumps of hair into one mumbo clump.  Pray to the good lord above that you remembered to grab a rubber band and that it is within arm’s reach.

Now for the hard part.  Hold the clump in one hand while you twist the rubber band around the bottom of the braid.    Do this until your child screams in pain.

Take a quick picture before your kid moves her head, and the entire thing falls out.

Hcnerf on Stephanie, by Danny

Hcnerf on Stephanie, by Danny

My dad used to give my mom a permanent in our kitchen.  He did this because we were poor.  I don’t know why they call it a permanent because it isn’t.  It should be called a temporary.  Right after the procedure, my mom’s hair would be tight as a tick, boofed up like John Travolta’s doo in the movie Hairspray.  Four weeks later she’d look like Squeaky Fromme.

When my dad gave my mom this treatment, our house smelled like a combination of formaldehyde and a nuclear reactor leak.  If I took a deep breath, it would burn the hair out of my nostrils and my lungs would sting deep down inside.  And when it was over, my mom would feed us in the same room.  Meatloaf with a chemical aftertaste, mmmm.

It’s a wonder I don’t have seven toes.

Lisa would not let me do her hair.  “Chris” did it.  I never met him but given the choice of me or him moving from Raleigh, I’m not sure which she would have chosen.  I don’t know how much it cost to dye her hair, but I know it was well over $100, and it seemed like she went once a week.  I tried to convince her that gray hair was sexy.  She disagreed.  If I would have taken over Chris’ responsibilities, like my dad did, we could have purchased a beach house with the savings.

Fortunately, I’m building trust with my daughters.  I have a plan.  It starts with braiding.  Before you know it, I’ll be giving them a wash and set, maybe even highlights right in the kitchen.  With the money I’ll save, I’ll send them to college.  Thank goodness permanents are not in style.

More Questions for Dad

This Christmas season has brought about more questions than answers.  One would think that with time I’d be more up to speed on girls, teens, and young ladies.  But the longer I live without a woman as my guide, the more I just do not understand.

Help!

*Why do you need regular bras and sports bras?  Is it not like boxers or briefs?  Make up your mind and stick to it girls!  They don’t even play sports –

*And what’s up with the ones that just stick to your bosom?  It’s peel and stick – like a “To/From” tag on your Christmas present.  What good does that do?  How can that help?  Why do we need those?

*Any why do they wear out so quickly?  I was told recently that two bras in this house “died.”  Should we have a service?  Are they just pulling my strings?  I have boxers I’ve worn for twenty years.  They may sag a bit, but who cares?  That just makes them more comfortable.  No one sees them but me.  A nd that’d better be the case for them too!

*When should a girl be allowed to wear mascara?  Stephanie and Michelle put some on when they got dressed in their costumes for the play.  It must have been Maybelline’s “new volume” brand cause they looked like a tarantula had been emblazoned on their eyelids.

*That same night I learned that soap will not remove mascara and that turpentine hurts when it gets in your eyes.  That’s what I use when stuff won’t come off.  Is there a chisel to remove that stuff?

*Why is it that I can’t get the girls to press their clothes and yet they’ll spend hours on end ironing their hair?  Yes!  They iron their hair.  Not with like an ironing board – its with a $100 mechanism that cooks stuff on both sides – sort of like a waffle maker but without the little sqaures.  I’m tempted to use it for grilled cheese sandwiches.

*And the one with the curls desperately wants hers straight.  And the one with the straight hair is looking for curly.  Why didn’t God just give them what they wanted from the get go?  Some cruel joke.

*Someone recently gave me the name of a woman to see if the girls had “skincare” needs.  Their skin looks alright to me, I specifically looked.  I mean, I buy them soap and Target brand lotion – what more is there to the care of their skin?  I guess I could buy cucumbers – I think Mommy Dearest used them on her eyes.  Maybe they need a mud mask.  I have dirt in the storage room…hum.  I fear my inaction is gonna cause wrinkles or those brown spots my grandma had when Mary Kay was washed off.

*They all want their own stuff, why can’t they just share?  Do we really need more than one brush?  I remember Lisa freaked out when I ran out of deodorant and began using hers.  I sort of liked it – thought of her every time I raised my arms.  This must be related.  I think its selfish.

I just don’t want to screw up; I don’t want to do anything wrong.  And sometimes I think they’re just yanking my chain.  There are so many things I just don’t understand.

Another Year, Another Wrinkle

I’ve got a birthday this week.  I turn 47.  And yet I don’t feel a day over 46.

Do you ever look at yourself in the mirror and wonder what in the hell happened?

Since when did my hair turn white?  Not only on my sideburns and around my temples, but the stuff is taking over my chest.  Out with the brown, in with the gray!

It’s like old man kudzu.  And I’m not excited about where it might appear next.

The older I get, the more grooming I do.  As if showering and shaving isn’t enough every day, I now have to hunt for rogue hair all about my being.

Oh there’s a thatch growing out of my nostril.  A pompom of fuzz protruding from my ear canal.  And the one, only one, standing fully erect right on the top of my left shoulder-blade.

My eyebrows remind me of the fringe on my grandma’s handmade afghans.  I could serve spinach dip out of the crevices in my forehead.  Not only do I need glasses to read the menu at a restaurant, I also can’t see my food without them.  Imagine my surprise when the blurry “carrots” I bit into turned out to be rutabaga.  YUCK.

My grandfather, Woodrow, had a forehead the size of Montana.  And as Spurgeon, the other, added years to his life, his ears expanded like a Magic Towel wash cloth.  What a future.

I pee all the time, and there’s a 3″ x 3″ patch of skin on my back that’s as dry as a bone.  “Oooooo Dad!  What is that?  Scabies?”

“No!  It’s not scabies!!  It’s dry skin – it’s called eczema.”

“You need to get that checked out.  It’s gross.”

My girls are outstanding at pointing out all my flaws.

“You’re belly is jiggly!”  “You have warts on your feet.”  “I didn’t know you could get pimples at such an old age.”

I’m thankful I had the opportunity to develop a strong self-esteem before I had girls nearing the teenage years.

They haven’t discovered the vein that’s popping out around my right ankle although they relish the opportunity to discuss the volume of lint that collects in my bellybutton.  “Pull it out dad, I need a new scarf for winter.”

Where does that stuff come from and why is it in my navel?  I feel like a dryer.

I’m like an old house that needs major repairs.  I’m just not sure I could recoup the investment.

The Toes of a King

Posted by Danny

I am in love, truly in love.

It started with a gift certificate from my mother-in-law for a pedicure.  I’d never had one before, and I was scared to death.  I’ve had a massage and enjoyed it, but the nail salon seemed so…so…female. 

I prepped my feet before the girls and I headed over, trying to disguise the stench.  I was sort of feeling sorry for the employee who got stuck with my puppies.  The toe jam was difficult to clean out, but I did my best.

The first thing I saw when I walked in the salon was an elderly woman at the manicure table, the tips of each of her fingers were wrapped in tin foil.  Yes, tin foil – like baked potatoes.  I don’t know if she came in that way or if the manicurist intentionally did that to her.  Were they going to cook her?  

I wondered if my toes would see the same fate.  What if one of my buddy’s wives walked in and found me with a baking bag tied around my feet?  I’d never hear the end of it.  This was a mistake, I thought to myself.

The owner escorted me to a large chair with a miniature bathtub at the bottom.  She pointed to the least senior staffer she could find – I’m not sure exactly what she said, but I think it was:  “You, new girl, Nasty Feet is yours.”

My savior looked up and gave me the once over.  To my surprise, she did not flinch – perhaps she’d seen worse.  As the warm water started pouring over my feet, she gloved her hands, a very wise move.

I was watching her closely when she handed me the remote control to my massaging chair.  Vibration – MAXIMUM; Massage – MAXIMUM.  At least my back would be happy.

She gently lifted my right foot; she used no words.  She squirted blue Dawn dishwashing detergent on my toenails and with finesse rubbed each toe.  My breathing slowed; my heart palpitated – I was beginning to fall.

After a good clipping and the chiseling of dirt from beneath my nails , she pulled out a small pair of pliers.  My cuticles had no idea how to react.  I thought it might hurt, but she was so tender and loving that my toes felt nothing.  It was as if hummingbirds were dancing across my feet.

Her next move surprised me.  She took out a cheese grater and began scrapping the tough spots on the balls of my feet.  As the white skin droppings fell, I couldn’t escape the thought of parmesan.  I wondered if they had a deal with the Whole Foods next door – that place is all about recycling.

It was not long after that I could tell she was falling for me too.  I closed my eyes, and at one point, I’m fairly certain she briefly rested my foot on her breast.  I can’t be sure, but I think she was sending me a signal. 

We didn’t speak the same language – or did we?  Was it the language of love?

Finally, she pulled out toe Amorall and buffed until my nails glistened. 

As she drained the water, panic ensued.  Should I ask her to marry me?  I don’t want this to end.

And then she vanished – out the back – no doubt to deliver my shavings next door.

That’s OK, I’ll be back.  And I’ll request tin foil to extend my stay.

BEFORE

AFTER

Pedicure 101

Posted by Danny

My mother-in-law gave me a gift certificate for a pedicure for my birthday.  Eee.  I’m just not so sure about that.

I’ve been to the salon on several occasions – primarily to drop a kid off or pick one up.  Did you know they have this blow dryer for your fingers?  You stick your newly painted digits under these tiny Barbie fans and BOOM – you’re set to go!

Last year we had a birthday party there, not mine but one of the girls.  I really wanted to put my tongue under the fan, but I couldn’t find a time that someone wasn’t looking.  And the fans are in the front of the store, right beside the shopping center sidewalk.  I was afraid my mom might walk by.  She told me never to put my tongue near a moving blade.

I asked my mother-in-law if you could get a pedicure if you had planter’s warts.  She asked and they said yes. 

The salon near our house has staff who can all speak another language.  I’ll have to admit, it’s a little disconcerting to have all the staff talking when you don’t know what they’re saying.  They all speak English – so why would they use another language?  I’ll tell you why.  They’d speak in another language if they didn’t want you to know what they were saying.

“Oh, look at his nasty feet!”

“Un.  What did you do wrong to get him girl?”

“He’d better leave me a big tip.”

“I can tell from here he’s cheap.  Won’t even pay to get those warts taken care of.”

“Looks like he cuts his toenails in the Walmart parking lot.”

I told DJ I didn’t want to get my nails painted.  She scoffed – “You don’t have to get your nails painted when you get a pedicure.”  But I thought that’s what a pedicure was –

I do know this – after you get your feet worked on, they make you wear these flimsy yellow flip-flops.  But they’re no good at the beach – they’ll tear up in a minute.  I tried Lisa’s one time, barely made it off our pier before they fell apart.

I do think I’m gonna try this – I love to have my feet rubbed.  And  my mother-in-law told me it’s very relaxing.  What can I say?  I trust her – she’s never led me astray before.

I’ll let you know how it turns out. 

 

It Comes with Age

Posted by Danny

I’m getting older – a  birthday coming up this week.  In ways its difficult to believe I’ll be 46.  But at times it feels like I’m 78.  The changes in my hair are an indicator of my movement toward the AARP.

The most random hairs are popping up in the most unusual places around my being.  These aren’t normal hairs.  These are hairs on steroids!

They’re hanging out of my nose.  They’re poking out of and growing around the outside of my ears, one random piece at a time.  One day I found a rogue brow hanging down into my eye.  I discovered it when I thought I had a piece of dust in my eyeball.  But it was not dirt.  A strand from my eyebrow curled across my lid, through my lash and was resting on my cornea.  His lone brother was growing out of a pore on my left shoulder.   

When one pops up in my nose, I know I have to trim.  I’ve not had luck with my blunt end scissors – they can’t cut butter and the thicker ends won’t easily fit into my nostril.  Sticking a sharp pair of scissors into my nasal passage freaks me out!  I’m afraid a kid is going to run into the room, bump up against me and the blade is going to get shoved up into my cerebrum.

So, I shut and lock the bathroom door and pray that there won’t be an earthquake during my olfactory organ grooming session.

The grays are becoming more and more apparent, especially on my sideburns (the fact that I still think sideburns look cool is yet another indicator of my destiny).

This summer while on the beach, I noticed that about 25% of the hair on my chest weren’t brown – I feel like a silverback gorilla – except in the front.

I’m having to get up 8 minutes early each day to make sure I’m all cleaned up.  It’s like checking for ticks.  In a few years, I’m going to look like Cousin It. 

It’s as if I am taking hair fertilizer.  Do they sneak that in the aspirin I ingest each morning to ensure that I don’t have a stroke?  I guess if my body gets covered with hair I’ll be warmer.  My circulation is slowing down so that could come in handy.

Curly Brush?

Posted by Danny

The last few years of her life, Lisa had her hair done by a guy named Chris.  She said he could work wonders.  I remember her coming home and me saying “How’d he make your hair look like that?”  Looking back on it, I can see how that might have come across as your hair doesn’t usually look that great, although that is not necessarily what I meant.  He could just take an A and make it an A+!

One time she left home with fairly big hair.  When she returned, it was short and straight.  Again I questioned, “Are you wearing a wig?”

“No.”

“How’d he do that?”

“He put some expensive product in my hair and took a big round brush and blew dry it straight.”

“Can you do that?”

“Not like him.”

“Could I help you?”

“Seriously?  You’re going to do my hair?”

She never took me up on my offer and I actually preferred her hair more flowy, but the change was nice for a while.

Last week Stephanie’s Nana took her to get a haircut.  They decided to go with a shorter look and it is really, really cute.  It’s sort of “stacked” on the back and drapes longer in the front. 

But a strange thing happened one day about a week later.  On this particular day, the top layer of her hair seemed to rebel.  It grew bigger and didn’t seem to be in sync with the bottom layer. 

I’m not really sure what happened, and it didn’t seem to be a consistent phenomena.  My hair and Jesse’s hair seems to be fairly consistent.  It looks the same at 8 am and at 8 pm.  Our hair is similar in winter, spring, summer and fall – rain, sleet or snow.  But the girls’ hair has personality; sort of moody, like a child. 

DJ told me that if she brushed her hair when it was in curly mode she’d look like a lion.  I haven’t seen that but I’d like to. 

As I ran my fingers through Stephanie’s disobedient hair, the thought of Chris and his round hairbrush came to mind. 

“Steph, we’re gonna try something.  Do we have a hair dryer?”

“What are you doing dad?”

“Just trust me.”

“With my hair?”

“Yep.”

“DJ!  Do you have that stuff to make your hair calm?”

“I think I’m out.”

“Well look.  We’re trying an experiment on Stephanie’s hair.”

“As long as it’s hers.”

“Found some.”

“Do you have a round brush?”

“Yep.”

I collected my tools and we headed to the bathroom.  I scooped out some hair goop.

“That stuff makes my hair stiff,” Stephanie complained.

“It’s magic baby.  Magic!”

It took both hands to get the hair around the brush so I had to hold the dryer under my neck.  It was a little uncomfortable, but we made do.

After just 10 minutes, her hair was dry and every strand was in place.  She went to bed and I held my breath:  what would tomorrow bring?

When she woke, to our amazement, her hair was calm, cool and collected – following all of the rules.   No frizz in sight!  The top layer embracing the bottom layer is if they were identical twins.

Where ever you are Chris, I thank you!  Another tool in our toolbox if needed.

The Navel Secret

Not My Belly Button

Posted by Danny

I don’t like people touching my belly button.  I don’t know why. 

It’s not that it makes me a little uncomfortable –  it sort of freaks me out.  It’s like something could push right through it to the other side.  It’s gross.  I don’t even like to think about it.

I’ve learned that a lot of people have something that really bugs them.  I have a family member who hates to hear people flick their toes together, it drives her nuts.  Another friend can’t stand someone to touch her knees.

I”m thankful that not that many people frequent my navel.  What if I couldn’t stand it to shake hands?  Now that would be a big problem.

My kids know of my weakness.  They have learned that they can control me by simply pointing a finger toward my mid section. 

If I try to tickle them, they pull  out Mr. Pointer.  They don’t often touch me, just the threat makes me cower.  Stephanie will come into my bedroom and immediately begin to wiggle her finger.  I know what that means.  I curl up in fear.

Why do they torture me?  What makes them want to see their father wince like a fearful little girl?  It’s cruel.

I figured out DJ’s vulnerability so she’s not as apt to threaten my umbilicus.  She knows if she does, there will be reprecussions.  But the other two are belly button blackmailers.  And it has to stop. 

I’m on the hunt for their compulsion.  And I intend to find it.  And when I do…they’d better watch out!

Hair, Hair, Everywhere

Cut them in the Fat Daddy's parking lot

Posted by Danny

I’m having grooming issues. 

This is a new problem.  Lisa always took care of that for me – sort of like a monkey caring for its young.

One day we were at the intersection of South Saunders Street and I-40 heading to my parent’s house in Fayetteville.  When the light turned yellow, I began our ascent onto the on ramp.  Simultaneously, Lisa reached over, without my prior knowledge, and yanked a hair from the top of my ear.  I swerved onto the shoulder.

“WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU DOING?”

“You had a really long hair growing out of your ear.  It was nasty!”

“Was I in imminent danger???”

“It was bothering me.”

“But I was fine with it.”

“You don’t want to walk around Fayetteville with a horse hair hanging out of your ear baby.”

“I guess I should say thank you?  Don’t do that anymore!  Especially when I’m driving!  It won’t matter if I have a horsehair hanging from my ear if I’m dead.”

She warned me about zits that crept up on my post pubescent face.  Why are females enamored by zits?  It’s like guys and sports.

She’d keep an eye out for nostril hair that crept, like an ivy vine, out of my large nose.  And she also reminded me to cut my toenails.

I can’t seem to remember to clip those things.  Four or five times this year I’ve found myself in the car, flip-flops on my feet, and realize it’s been weeks (maybe months) since I cut them.  I look like Howard Hughes. 

I finally put one of Lisa’s many pairs of nail clippers in the car.  I’ve given myself a pedicure in the Target parking lot, at the Y, and even at church one day this year.  I’d suggest everyone keep a pair in their cup holder.

My brother recently told me to get a haircut.  One good friend told me I needed a new pair of shoes.  Another that my sport coat might need to be taken to the dry cleaner.  Everything I eat looks good on me.  

I’m like my grandfather was at age 92.  I need assistance.  Jesse said he was willing to help me with a lot of things around here but he wasn’t touching the hair on my ears. 

I’d like to give each of you permission to pull me aside and discreetly tell me if you see something astray.  I won’t be offended.  I need your assistance.

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