The MAD Goddess writes out loud with candor and humor about the changing landscape of life for women with retired husbands,
adult children, and grandchildren. It's not always a pretty story,
but it's usually pretty funny.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gray Hair Is Not The Problem

“My eyebrows are falling off and landing on my upper lip.”

I laughed hysterically when my mother said that to me more than 20 years ago. My mom always went for the laugh. She was good at it too.

Still, her comment isn’t as funny today as it was back then. I am of south-central European heritage. The women in our family don’t have eye brows; they have great, hairy black beasts growing in a line across their forehead. I learned the finer points of plucking and waxing at an early age (and not just eyebrows).

Lately I’ve been thinking that my eyebrows have finally surrendered to the near 40 year assault. I foolishly believed the propaganda telling me that repeated plucking would result in less re-growth.

Mom was a woman of the 30’s and 40’s Hollywood glamour school. She had a real vanity, with mirrors framed by graceful wooden curves and a matching bench. As a young girl, barely a Saturday went by that I didn’t watch my mother, with fascination and admiration, sitting at her vanity to apply her makeup and style her hair before going on her standing date with my father. In later years, a triple magnifying mirror with a long, curving goose-neck took its place among other essentials on the vanity top.

Recently, I purchased just such a mirror and to my utter horror I realized that it’s not hair follicles I’m losing – it’s my eyesight.

Okay, the hairy black beast has been thinning a bit – but not nearly as much as I thought. Anybody who can still read a menu in a dim restaurant – scratch that. Anybody who can still read a menu without holding it at arm’s length in an outdoor café with the high-noon sun over their shoulder, can plainly see that I need to schedule a waxing appointment. The sooner the better.

Worse yet, mom’s great joke is on me. Like dandelion fluff that blows in the wind and plants a million seed on the lawn, the eyebrow hairs that have fallen off have landed on my upper lip and taken root! And on my chin, and worst of all, around the edges of my nostrils.

Certain benefits accompany age – like a larger income to spend on great accessories. If you live in the north, where I do, you might flaunt your discretionary spending status on fur-lined, kidskin gloves, or maybe a fur-lined full length coat. But a fur lined nose? – HELL NO to that!

When mom grew older, she worried about spending her final days in a nursing home. She asked if I would, please, at least pluck her eyebrows and her moustache regularly.
Oh sure, I thought. I’d be holding her down with one knee on her chest while ripping out facial hair with a tweezers and she’d be begging me to stop. Behind my back, she’d tell the nursing staff not to let me visit because I hurt her.

The other day, my 19 year old daughter told me she wouldn’t be wiping my drool when I was old and feeble minded. I can’t remember how we arrived at that particular subject because I’m already old and feeble minded. I’m not too worried about the impending drooling, though. I’m sure the chin whiskers will wick it right up.


  1. Brought a smile for identifying but too true for hilarity!

  2. I hear you. Parallel lives.

    Except it's warm in Australia; mostly.

    Just in case you're interested, I offer the following 'hairstory'.

    Cheers again.