I, tweezer.

Publishing success frequently lies in a niche that goes something like this: X Tells You What the Experts Won’t. Vicki Iovine, a clever writer who married a rich recording executive and could have retired to a life of indolence and manicures, hit a succession of books out of the park, all with the title, “The Girlfriend’s Guide to…” etc. I read the pregnancy volume cover-to-cover and skimmed the rest, but they all had the same idea at their root: Screw doctors and nurses, they lie. I will tell you the truth.

There’s something to this. Not all doctors lie, but I do wish more would use plain language, which would help a lot. Say “pain” rather than “discomfort,” for instance. “You will probably” beats “you may experience.” And so on.

Lately I’ve been thinking I should write a girlfriend’s guide to aging, although it would have to be more like The Old Crone’s Guide. I could spend an entire chapter on eyebrows alone. It would be called “When You Look in the Mirror and Andy Rooney Looks Back,” or just “Eyebrows: WTF?!?” Of all the mysterious, horrible, humiliating changes connected to aging, I’ve never read about eyebrows, at least not in women. No one told me about these long eyebrow hairs that appear out of nowhere (I call them “Andys”) and must be banished. No one said I would turn into a schnauzer. I’ve taken to screeching, “Goddamn Andy Rooney eyebrows!” in the mirror as I do battle with tweezers, which prompts Alan to reply, “What the hell are you talking about?”

I should add: For men, this is the only permissible response. That is to say: blindness. The wife of a friend of mine had three babies in five years and idly asked while she was getting dressed one morning, “Do you think we could afford a little work on these?” Indicating her breasts, of course. “Nothing drastic, just a lift.” He said, “Well, I suppose we could figure something out,” and was instantly rewarded with a metaphorical shoe to the head. He didn’t realize the question being asked wasn’t about cosmetic surgery but about their enduring attractiveness, and his scripted answer was, “What are you talking about? They’re perfect the way they are.”

The Old Crone’s Guide to Marital Chit-Chat While Dressing. There’s my title.

So, how’s your week going so far? I’m sitting here knitting my Andys together, scowling out the window. The closed window. The temperature will not reach 70 degrees today. It didn’t reach 70 yesterday. It briefly reached 74 the day before, when the wind changed rather abruptly and imported some air from Arkansas or something. But then it changed back and, well, it’s June and I expect the windows to be open by now, but we’re still walking around in sweatshirts, being grumpy.

Speaking of eyebrows, let’s kick off the bloggage with this short piece, “The Tragedy of Susan Boyle,” by John Wright. (HT: Wolcott.) A taste:

The world which celebrity promises those who embrace its life affirming narrative is a world absent of pain, poverty, boredom, and sadness. It is a fairytale lived in three dimensional splendour, replete with the adulation of millions, more money than you could ever spend, along with untold glamour and excitement. More importantly it offers the only freedom worthy of the name – the freedom to be the person you always dreamed of being, rather than the person you are.

Susan Boyle was one of the anointed few to be allowed entry to this fairytale. This unfashionable, unglamorous, poor woman from an unfashionable, unglamorous, and poor town in Scotland was plucked from obscurity, stuck centre stage, and celebrated by millions of adoring fans around the world. Dubbed the ‘hairy angel’, here was the archetypal ugly duckling with the voice of a swan.

But then something happened, something unscripted and completely out of kilter with the expectations of a world weaned on the promise and the dream of everlasting happiness through fame and fortune. Susan Boyle let the world down. Instead of playing the part of the ‘hairy angel’ with the sonorous voice and thus fulfilling the myth by which we escape the drudgery of our daily lives, to be sure a prime time TV version of the ‘Hunchback of Notre Dame’ or ‘The Phantom of the Opera’, she committed the crime of pulling back the curtain on the myth to reveal its ugly truth – human despair.

Ah. Sigh. I haven’t really been following this story, but it doesn’t surprise me.

Some comic relief from Gawker: Watch the Fox & Friends Bunch Try to Process the Bruno-Eminem Stunt. This may require more pop-culture awareness than many of you have, so a thumbnail of the story so far: Sacha Baron Cohen stuck his bare butt in Eminem’s face at some MTV event. There was a flying harness involved and two people with hot product to sell in the entertainment marketplace, and that’s really all you need to know, but it’s still funny to watch these three clueless souls try to figure it out. I had a boss once who was gay but only sorta out about it, and even though everyone knew he was gay, there was one staff member who simply wouldn’t believe it, because he had once been married, and so that meant he couldn’t be gay, didn’t it? Didn’t it? The Foxies remind me of him.

Off to pluck something. Also, edit. Wish me luck.

Posted at 9:59 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

102 responses to “I, tweezer.”

  1. Cathy D. said on June 3, 2009 at 10:24 am

    Maybe because it’s because I’m also ‘of an age,’ but this might be the funniest post you’ve ever written, Nancy.

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  2. brian stouder said on June 3, 2009 at 10:44 am

    He said, “Well, I suppose we could figure something out”

    Hah – rookie mistake! (All the more striking when a veteran makes it).

    If anything, anymore I’m overly careful of tumbling into a marital Idiot Trap like that one – but I used to pitch into them all the time!

    Anyway – my lovely wife tells me that my brows have the magical ability to suddenly sprout this way and that, so that they bristle like the antennas on an aircraft carrier.

    Of course, I’m oblivious to this, but like all good mothers she’s a plucker from way back – so when she detects an eruption of ‘Andys’ (great term, btw!) she’ll pin me down and pluck me like there’s no tomorrow

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  3. LAMary said on June 3, 2009 at 10:50 am

    Not only are there mysterious long hairs that seem to grow an inch overnight, they are, in my case, translucent. All my eyebrow hairs are now. Not gray or white, just nearly invisible. If I don’t augment the color I look like I don’t have eyebrows, just some oddly textured ridge above my eyes. The amount of eyebrow maintenance I do now is far above what was required even a couple of years ago.

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  4. Susan said on June 3, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Yes, Mary – I have a bunch of the translucent ones now (white, too). They are extremely hard to see/pluck. I love to go occasionally to the eyebrow threading spots (although I don’t too often because it seems pricey to me). That whole process amazes me … Somehow, they’re able to see and lasso even those little translucent boogers.

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  5. John said on June 3, 2009 at 10:56 am

    My barber corrals the Andy’s for me. I am particularly vain (for God knows why) about ear hair, a subject woefully lacking in my high school health class’ thumbnail guide to life. I am on a vigilant tweezer patrol for any sprout as a week of neglect produces a bumper crop.

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  6. jeff borden said on June 3, 2009 at 10:58 am

    The errant eyebrow hairs are indeed a sign of aging. They’re even a different diameter and consistency, so they really stand out, particularly when they are gray.

    All this “plucking” talk sounds painful. I use an older Norelco beard trimmer, the same one I use to keep myself groomed between barber visits. Set it on `1` and buzz it across the brows. Problem solved. No tweezers. No pain.

    As a very bald guy, there’s a certain irony in the appearance of hair in my ears, on my back, and other places where it never grew until I reached middle-agedness. It’s like my genes flipping me the bird.

    We try to avoid the reality and talent shows with the exception of “Survivor,” which consistently entertains. How the producers find the right mix of participants to propel the show from week to week would be a great story I would love to read. Where do you find someone like “Coach,” the villain of the most recent “Survivor,” a self-worshipping buffoon who dubbed himself a “dragon slayer” and claimed to have survived live or death circumstances “at least six or seven times.” This loon claimed to have survived BOTH a shark and an alligator attack. What’re the odds?

    Otherwise, my stance on reality programs is that every single one of them takes away opportunities from professional writers. They are my brothers, albeit better paid.

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  7. Connie said on June 3, 2009 at 11:03 am

    I get my eyebrows waxed every six weeks or so when I get a haircut, and that’s it. On the other hand I have a dozen or so white whiskers on my chin that require regular plucking. Ick.

    My husband has monstrous eyebrows with some hairs many inches long. He gets very upset if his stylist trims his eyebrows without asking. If they ask he says no.

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  8. mark said on June 3, 2009 at 11:04 am

    As an admittedly shallow male, I’ve always thought there is a market for relationship advice books for women, written from the perspective of a shallow male.

    Working title for the first of the series: “Hide Your Baggage! A Guide for Women in Search of a Relationship”

    As for eyebrows, they fall under the shallow man’s Rule 12 for married women: Unless you are announcing a miraculous breakthrough, your husband doesn’t want to discuss your personal hygiene issues.

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  9. brian stouder said on June 3, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Jeff – while Survivor is OK – Amazing Race is the one that pulls me in. But we did catch Jeff Probst on Larry King (or whoever) once, and he explained that when they sort through potential contestants, genuinely eccentric people get a ‘red dot’ on their index card; whereas genuinely insane people get two red dots. Apparently the magic is getting the right mix of single-red-dots onto the show, while weeding out the truly crazy people. (and, not for nothing, I’m sure that these shows have a fair amount of crafting [if not outright writing] stirred into them)

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  10. 4dbirds said on June 3, 2009 at 11:20 am

    “Where do you find someone like “Coach,” the villain of the most recent “Survivor,” a self-worshipping buffoon who dubbed himself a “dragon slayer” and claimed to have survived live or death circumstances “at least six or seven times.” This loon claimed to have survived BOTH a shark and an alligator attack. What’re the odds?”

    I used to run into these pathological liar types all the time in the army. My response to their stories was usually “That’s incredible”. Few of them if any got the hint that I was actually calling bullshit.

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  11. Julie Robinson said on June 3, 2009 at 11:29 am

    “The Case of the Disappearing Eyebrows”
    Along with Mary and Susan mine are losing color as well as thickness. But so is the little moustache that all women with dark hair have, and I only have to shave my legs once a week. So no loss goes uncompensated.

    It’s the third day of rain here and the high is forecast at 62. I ask you, 62?! But my wee garden is thriving and there are 6 zucchini plants growing. I can never get enough zucchini in the summer; go ahead and bring all your zucchini jokes.

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  12. Sue said on June 3, 2009 at 11:30 am

    I agree with Mark, and shallowness has nothing to do with it. If you don’t want your husband to step on a landmine, why plant a whole field of them and then blame him when he loses a figurative leg?
    One of my most-hated songs is that Eric Clapton “romantic” song about looking wonderful tonight. I call it the “does my butt look big” song and I swear I don’t know why everyone doesn’t find it really annoying. Lady, quit fishing.
    I won’t even get into the hair removal thing. I can barely stand to look at myself anymore as it is.

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  13. Laura said on June 3, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Don’t pluck the Andys. Place your index finger across your eyelid, just below the brow. Move your finger up, so that it pushes your brows straight up. Trim the errant hairs to the length of the others. My beauty tip for the day.

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  14. Danny said on June 3, 2009 at 11:47 am

    For eyebrows, there is only one gold standard and it is not Andy Rooney. It is Andy Echeberran, the former Baltimore Orioles’ catcher. Beware if you click this picture and are drinking hot coffee.

    Also, I’ve not been following this story closely, but the Brits seem to be having great sport with ridiculing the expenses claims of their MP’s (Members of Parliament). So much so that like 15 of them are stepping down before the next election.

    Of course, no such shame exists in the American body politic. They don’t typically resign until they are led away in leg irons like my old congress-critter, Randy “Duke” Cunningham.

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  15. jeff borden said on June 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm


    What’s really interesting about the mess in Great Britain is that it was precipitated by an American journalist. She started filing requests and all this moat-cleaning at the weekend estate and downloaded porno charged to the British government came tumbling out.

    Kind of amazing, actually, given the reputation of the British press for being such hard asses that it took a Yank to shine the spotlight on all this freeloading.

    I agree with you you, too, Danny, that the Brits are classy enough to just resign and go away. We rarely see this any more on our side of the pond as the idea of shame seems passe. Here in Illinois, Rod Blagojevich will still tell anyone with a pair of functioning ears that he is completely, utterly, totally innocent –regardless of those pesky audio tapes– and that he has been targeted by those who did not want him to help the little children and the older folks.

    Quick aside: Blago’s wife, Patti, who is on the celebrity reality show in Costa Rica, had asked that money she made be donated to a children’s cancer fund. Today, the fund refused the filthry lucre. Here’s the kicker: The charity is affiliated with Children’s Memorial Hospital, which was seeking state funds to expand services while Blago was in office. He refused to release them unless the CEO at Children’s wrote him a fat campaign fund check. . .either $50K or $100K. This is all on tape, btw.

    Shameful behavior that is beyond the pale, yet the Blagos feel nothing but self-pity.

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  16. Dorothy said on June 3, 2009 at 12:11 pm

    I’m so damned glad someone else brought up the chin hairs – now I don’t have to be the first to do so. When the hell did THAT become something I have to pay attention to?! My husband was mildly horrified the first time he saw me tweezing them. I just told him to look away if he can’t stand the sight of it.

    On the other hand, I can’t stand the sight of his ear hairs and the Andy’s that he has going on. And good LORD are those Andy’s thick! If only the curly hair on his head was still that robust, he could pass for 30! He allows me to trim them for him – we actually laugh and carry on high when it’s time for that. Which usually leads to … well… you know. You guys ought to try it. Nothing like laughing together to lead to some other kind of fun (which doesn’t involve laughing.)

    Cathy D. is right Nancy. This post made me laugh out loud a couple of times. Before the Susan Boyle stuff, I mean.

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  17. LAMary said on June 3, 2009 at 12:16 pm

    I had a little pair of scissors from Sephora that had a comb built in, and the idea was to comb your eyebrow up, and then cut those long hairs even with the topline of your eyebrow. This was great for the approximately three times I used them before the comb part fell off.

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  18. 4dbirds said on June 3, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    I’m a ginger kid so I was never ever hairy. Very lucky I admit however age has given me one fast growing, thick as a tree, hair growing from my chin. It seems I pluck it every morning and its back by 5pm.

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  19. nancy said on June 3, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    That’s worth the money for electrolysis, 4dbirds, IMO. Yes, even for one hair. Imagine if you were injured in a car crash and had to spend some time unconscious. Imagine the hospital orderlies taking bets on how long your single chin hair will be by the time you wake up.

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  20. Laura said on June 3, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Long chin hair? Yuck. This is starting to gag me a bit, even though I am a chin hair sufferer.

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  21. Mindy said on June 3, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Laura is right about not plucking the Andys. Buy a pair of manicure scissors and reserve them for trimming stray brows; hold them with the curl part of the blade facing out. Begin pruning and stop before you’re sorry. My brows have been nearly invisible for much of my life but now that many of them have chosen to become coarse and unruly, I suddenly have brows. Not yet used to them.

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  22. mark said on June 3, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    I’d rather read about John Kerry’s heroics in Vietnam.

    Seriously. It’s PERSONAL hygiene for a reason.

    Did anyone else see Obama has declared the US one of the largest muslim countries in the world? Geography is not his strong suit, apparently.

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  23. LAMary said on June 3, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    Jeez, Mark. It’s eyebrows. Not yeast infections.

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  24. nancy said on June 3, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    Didn’t you get the memo? It’s Sharing Week at NN.c.

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  25. mark said on June 3, 2009 at 12:54 pm

    It started with eyebrows and migrated to ear hair and chin whiskers. I’m getting off the bus before we head further South.

    Week? Aaargh.

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  26. Jenflex said on June 3, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    are you saying you don’t groom your chin whiskers, Mark?

    (For my part, I only wish the chin hairs were white and not blackish-brown.)

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  27. jeff borden said on June 3, 2009 at 12:58 pm


    President Obama should’ve said we have a sizable number of Muslims, which apparently is about 8 million or so. Bad choice of words.

    But when you are following an administration that claimed to be guided in its actions by a Christian god, that used the dreaded word “crusade” to describe the war on terror, that lionized and promoted military commanders like Gen. Boykin who cast the struggle against jihad as “my god vs. your god,” that allowed the abuses of Bagram, Abu Ghraib and Gitmo to proceed and then later charged only a handful of grunts, that allowed Israel to do whatever it wanted with regards to settlements and Gaza with nary a word of recrimination, you have a serious perception problem in the Muslim world.

    My read is that Obama is simply trying to make them understand that we, too, have Muslims and mosques and women in veils within our borders, too. But as an articulate man, he should have phrased his remarks differently.

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  28. Colleen said on June 3, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    Mama never told me about the upkeep, let me tell you…..

    Tweezerman tweezers are the best.

    I have eastern european heritage. We battle valiantly with our chin hairs….eventually, we lose.

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  29. Danny said on June 3, 2009 at 1:00 pm

    Mark, look deeply into Andy Echeberran’s eyes and relax. You’re feeling very plucky sleepy.

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  30. Connie said on June 3, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Mark, perhaps it’s a girl thing.

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  31. moe99 said on June 3, 2009 at 1:03 pm

    mark, I’m surprised you would try to jump on that rather puerile argument that Obama called the US one of the largest muslim countries in the world.

    I’ll let Steve Benen do the honors here:

    Money quote: “Greg Sargent explained, ‘Hard-core rhetoricians will note that Obama was employing an obscure tense known as the “conditional,” and an arcane rhetorical device known as a “hypothetical.” He said that if you were to take the number of Muslims in America, then one could see America as ranking up there with other Muslim countries — in numerical, hypothetical terms.’

    This really isn’t complicated. In fact, given the size of the U.S. population, and the rich diversity of our spiritual landscape, you can pick practically any faith tradition, plug it into the president’s sentence, and it’d be true, too. If you took the number of Christians in the U.S., we’d be one of the largest Christian countries in the world. If you took the number of Jews in the U.S., we’d be one of the largest Jewish countries in the world. If you took the number of Hindus in the U.S., we’d be one of the largest Hindu countries in the world. If you took the number of Buddhists in the U.S., we’d be one of the largest Buddhist countries in the world.

    That doesn’t mean we’re a Hindu country, or a Jewish Country, or a Christian Country, or a Muslim country, or a Buddhist country.”

    And for those of you who have more than a passing familiarity with your tweezers:


    The gold standard.

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  32. Scout said on June 3, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    I tend to laugh out loud whenever Mindy comments. Today’s little gem was “stop before you’re sorry.”

    My eyebrows have always been practically invisible and so far middle age has not had any effect on them. I wear my bangs long to cover this defect. In case they ever start poking through my forelock, I’ll have all these helpful trimming hints filed away.

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  33. Sue said on June 3, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Mark and Laura, just wait until Cooz pops in to tell us about the Brazilian he got last summer.

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  34. Jolene said on June 3, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    All you pluckers, trimmers, waxers, and shavers may be working yourselves out of a kind of fame you never knew was possible.

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  35. Catherine said on June 3, 2009 at 1:27 pm

    Auughh, Jolene, the horror!

    Eyebrows are a whole thing with me. I have no talent for doing them (that I outsource) but a rather unfortunate talent for seeing what other people might do to make theirs better. For starters: Get them colored when you get your hair colored. It’s the same dye and now they’ll actually match!

    Friends have admitted to me with some shame that they can’t wait to take their early-teen daughters for a little eyebrow waxing. All I can say is, me too. The daughters, of course, are way too sensible for such vanity, and refuse all offers.

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  36. Sue said on June 3, 2009 at 1:30 pm

    So, where did Guyot go? He seemed so impressed with this site a few days ago.
    Tomorrows topic: Old-people toenails! Can’t wait.

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  37. ROgirl said on June 3, 2009 at 1:33 pm

    God, the chin hairs! One day they just started sprouting, and now it’s a regular search and pluck mission. If you’ve seen the movie Crossing Delancey, you might remember when Amy Irving helps her Bubbie pluck her chin hairs.

    I had a boyfriend who plucked his chest hairs that had turned white. He also dyed the hair on his head the same unnatural tone of red that Woody Allen used to sport.

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  38. Dave K. said on June 3, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    So, how’s my week going? The same “lovely” weather you are experiencing in the Detroit area is lingering over northern Indiana as well. My wife and I returned from vacation Monday about 4:00 AM. After 10 days of the bluest sky, most beautiful water I’ve ever seen, and 80-90 degrees, (with a pleasant breeze), this is hard to take. I just want to see the sun again!

    We were on the island of Naxos, Greece, with our daughter and son-in-law, (both US Army stationed in Germany), his parents, our 16 month old grandson, and our second daughter and her boyfriend. Great food, friendly people, and sticking with today’s topic…EYEBROWS. Not a lot of trimming going on there that I could see.

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  39. LAMary said on June 3, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I can’t go into Flickr here at work, or I would add a photo of my son Pete. His eyebrows are exactly like mine were back when my eyebrows were a color. He flaunts his nice eyebrows in my face to mock my age. I am bitter.

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  40. Dave K. said on June 3, 2009 at 1:48 pm

    My lovely wife has a single chin hair that pops up from time to time. When it does, she says it’s time to pluck her “stray eyelash”.

    Jolene’s “longest eyelash” link reminded me of a “Ripley’s Believe-It-Or-Not” item from many years ago. It was about the man with the longest ear hairs, which were so long that he tied the bundle of right-ear hair to the bundle of left-ear hair on top of his head. I really wish I hadn’t remembered that. Better go check the mirror and grab the trimmer.

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  41. beb said on June 3, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    I feel for mark. When my wife and daughter start talking about their girly parts I so want to scream and runaway. Too Much Information and all that. But it beats arguing whether Pat Buchanan is a racist or just an ass for complaining about Sotomayor improving her English by reading children’s books. Or whether we’re a muslin country or not. — Honestly folks, you onl;y have to visit Dearborn to know that, yes, yes we are.

    My wife has never seem me without a beard so talk about errant chin hairs is more funny than harrowing. Bushy eyebrows only enhance a man’s manliness. But nose hairs are my bane.

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  42. Jolene said on June 3, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    Tomorrows topic: Old-people toenails! Can’t wait.

    And after that, the divergent effects of age on the male and female urinary systems.

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  43. Dorothy said on June 3, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    So much to smile about today. Sue I’m glad I wasn’t sipping my glass of ice water at your suggestion for the Old People Toenails discussion.

    Share week at nn.c? Oy, it’s only Wednesday.

    My son (age 24) plucks between his eyebrows so he doesn’t have have a unibrow. I was a little stunned when he asked me, three years ago when we were all on vacation, to pick him up a pair of tweezers at the pharmacy. But I’m glad he does. He has nice eyebrows.

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  44. moe99 said on June 3, 2009 at 2:29 pm

    Just don’t take your tweezers to school:


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  45. coozledad said on June 3, 2009 at 2:33 pm

    Sue: I never got that Brazilian, but my dad decided for reasons of hygiene when he was in basic training, that he’d shave his ass.
    Fast forward about twenty-three years and I’m sitting at the kitchen table at my folks house with some friends, talking about the difficulty of shaving one’s neck with a safety razor, when my father blurts out: “Don’t ever shave your ass. When the hairs come back in it’ll drive you goddamn nuts.”
    Long silence ensues.

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  46. Dexter said on June 3, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    At what age, if ever, does a parent tell a child maybe they should shave the mustache? Of course I am talking about the young teens at the Scripps-Howard Nat’l Spelling Bee last week. And I especially mean the girl contestants with the long names. At this point I am going to urge abc tv to never telecast an event like that in HDtv. Grainy black and white would have sufficed.

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  47. jeff borden said on June 3, 2009 at 2:40 pm


    My wife also has never seen me sans beard, which I have now kept in place for 31 years. When my barber got a little overzealous a few years ago and trimmed my beard almost down to stubble, my wife was appalled at the mug below. I distinctly recall her asking me how long it would take for those whiskers to grow back a bit.

    I don’t blame her. My genetics failed to give me a good, firm jaw. The beard was originally grown and remains in place because, otherwise, I would have no chin. Even as it turns white with age, my beard is never in danger of being shaved off. It’s better to look like an old fart with a whitish beard than a slightly younger looking guy with no chin.

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  48. Roseanne Roseannadanna said on June 3, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Why, just recently, I was in Tiffany’s exchanging this silver-plated letter opener that NBC gave me for Christmas – $12, thanks a lot. When, who do I see leaning over one of the counters, but Miss perfect 10 herself – Bo Derek! You know, that curvy-smurvy new movie star that everybody’s getting all hot and bothered about, and I don’t know why? ‘Cause I’m standing there, when, all of a sudeen, Miss Perfect 10 Lady sneezes. Not like a cute, dainty little sneeze, but a real blast-o one! Miss Perfect 10 fogged up half the glass counters in Tiffany’s! So, what does she do? She opens her perfect little purse, and takes out a perfect little Kleenex, and dobs her perfect ltitle face and then throws the perfect little Kleenex into the perfect little ball, and when she wiped off her nose, she didn’t push back in this one little perfect little nose hair. It just stuck out there! It was long and it was black and it was perfect, and I thought I was gonna die! Just between you and me, Roseanne Roseannadanna, I felt like yanking down two more hairs, braiding them and putting a bead at the end! Then, her nose would have looked like her hair. So I yelled, “Hey, Bo! Shove that hair back up your nose! What are you trying to do, make me sick?”

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  49. Jolene said on June 3, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    Partly, Jeff, it’s that skin that hasn’t been shaven and then is shaven makes a man look like a baby–or a plucked chicken–no matter the shape of his chin. I once had your wife’s reaction in a stronger form when a boyfriend shaved his beard. (It was his habit to grow it in the winter and shave it in the spring, and we’d gotten together in the late fall.) To this day, I’m embarrassed by my rude reaction.

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  50. Jolene said on June 3, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Oh, and Dorothy, no laughing?

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  51. Danny said on June 3, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    And do tell us about your cousin, Carlos Santanadanna.

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  52. Mindy said on June 3, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    The Cooz never disappoints!

    Thanks for the warm fuzzies, Scout. Today is a sad one complete with appropriate weather. Sharing Week here at NN.C my only bright spot.

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  53. paddyo' said on June 3, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    Jeff —
    I had a similar experience back in ’84 while self-trimming my then-8-years-old beard (begun, I distinctly recall, on Mother’s Day 1976). I slipped badly with the scissors a couple of times (no, no blood drawn) and said, oh, WTF, and shaved it off . . . HALF of it off, that is (I believe it was the left side), right down the middle.

    That evening my now-ex and I were having friends over to dinner. I positioned myself so that when they walked in, they’d see me from the right … and then I turned to reveal the clown face, ha-ha, half-a-beard, what-a-kidder.

    Anyway, I then got up, went to the bathroom, shaved off the rest and came back to dinner — and I so freaked out my wife (suddenly I was a dead ringer for my older brother) that I began growing it right back the next day.

    And here it remains, 25 more years later.

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  54. Dexter said on June 3, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Ha! jeffborden , a co-worker shaved a full beard off once, revealing a miniature ass-with-crack right below his mouth, and zero chin features at all.
    He looked absolutely deformed, which he was, I would say. He must have lost a bet, cuz that quick-growing bush-beard was back, right-quick. He never shaved again after that.

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  55. Dexter said on June 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm

    I saw Bruno fall on eminem just before MTV pulled all content off YouTube…bare-ass naked Bruno dropped right onto eminem’s crotch, head first, and it WAS funny as hell. MTV immediately swore it was not scripted and I believe it.
    See, Bruno (Sacha Baron Cohen) was Tinker-Belling on a wire and headed for the stage, when he crashed into the giant air-make-up unit above the seating area, began wildly spinning out of control, and begged to be lowered…and he just happened to land on eminem’s cock! It was hilarious!

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  56. Julie Robinson said on June 3, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Dorothy, our son also has almost perfect eyebrows, much to the disgust of our daughter. And speaking of TMI, she just posted this on Facebook: “I am sun-burned so bad and going to blister in sort of an awkward area. yup. you really did not want to know that but now you do.” I wasn’t going to mention extra hair in that awkward area and methods of removing it, I’ll let someone else go there.

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  57. Jenflex said on June 3, 2009 at 3:47 pm

    OK, now I’m having an Exorcist/SNL moment:

    (deep voice)

    “Pluck me, pluck me, pluck me.”

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  58. Sue said on June 3, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    What has gotten into us today?

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  59. Danny said on June 3, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    The ecumenism of depilation…

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  60. Jenflex said on June 3, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    That is the bald truth, isn’t it?

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  61. LAMary said on June 3, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I’m already gearing up for old people toenail day.

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  62. Danny said on June 3, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    You’re already toeing the line?

    Well everyone knows that something’s afoot.

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  63. Dexter said on June 3, 2009 at 5:15 pm

    alright fuckers! For years I have shaved my head every other day. Tomorrow…the eyebrows go too! I give you the credit. I also blame you. 🙁

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  64. Sue said on June 3, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Picture, please, Dexter.

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  65. mark said on June 3, 2009 at 5:21 pm


    you keep picking arguments you can’t win. I undersood the president’s statement. You refuse to understand that he was incorrect.

    Pew Research Center, CIA Fact Book and even Wikipedia all place the Muslim population of the U.S. at slightly less than 1%, or 2 to 3 million people. That won’t put us even in the top 50 countries for Muslim population in absolute numbers. Even jeff b.’s 6 million figure won’t place us in the top 20.

    The explanation you posted works well for just about every religion- except Islam.

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  66. Danny said on June 3, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Um, Dex, that’s exactly what Syd Barrett before he showed up at the Wish You Were Here recording sessions.

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  67. Dexter said on June 3, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    And Syd died at 60…tick tock…remember how old I posted I was? 59.
    Although I love the music, I am not a Floyd-o-phile, but I sure do like to watch the Gilmour YouTubes.

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  68. joodyb said on June 3, 2009 at 7:21 pm


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  69. julia said on June 3, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Say “pain” rather than “discomfort,” for instance. “You will probably” beats “you may experience.”

    Unmedicated labor, hour 35. Ten pound(s of muscle and bone) baby. The doctor (who never once talked to me about pain during my pre-natal visits) has decided an episiotomy is a good idea and he’s going to give me some novocaine with a cute little needle.

    “This may sting a little,” he says.

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  70. Deborah said on June 3, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    You should read Nora Ephron’s book, “I feel Bad About My Neck”. I do too, it’s getting stringy. Also my eyebrows and all hair on my body is thinning not multiplying or lengthening.

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  71. nancy said on June 3, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    Jesus Christ, we got linked by Wolcott. I think maybe tomorrow I’ll write about boogers or toenails or calluses. This could be my big break.

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  72. MommyTime said on June 3, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    That book sounds like a hoot. You should write it. My son recently painted pictures of me and my husband, and he gave Daddy ENORMOUS busy blue eyebrows. Serious Andys. I laughed for days, which wasn’t nice of me and probably has guaranteed me many years of tweezing to come. *sigh* Sitting here commiserating with you from under my lap-blanket…MI weather… argh!

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  73. beb said on June 3, 2009 at 9:38 pm

    I’m sure Wolcott is a secret tweezer, which is why he found this conversation so delightful.

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  74. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 3, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    Wolcott, speaking approvingly of a link from San Diego Danny — truly, the apocalypse is near.

    Aren’t the internets fun?

    I’ve got Dick Gebhart syndrome, where my eyebrows tend to show more by skull contour than by follicle production. It’s the only blonde hair i’ve still got . . . but the Andy’s still suddenly extrude.

    Any suggestions from y’all on how to safely mark & celebrate a spouse’s 50th birthday would be greatly appreciated (she’s not very into the internet, so i have no worry about her learning my plans by posting here, even if Wolcott, Glenn Reynolds, and Jane Hamsher all link to it). As with the minefield discussed in the original post, this feels like ground fraught with peril to cross — it must be observed, but the event requires careful handling, methinks. Ideas, anybody? Bueller?

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  75. alex said on June 3, 2009 at 10:12 pm


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  76. Dexter said on June 3, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    best brow ever…

    Are ya ready kids?

    Aye, Aye captain!

    I can’t heeeaaar yooouuu!



    Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
    Sponge Bob Square Pants!
    Absorbent and yellow and porous is he.
    Sponge Bob Square Pants!
    If nautical nonsense be somethin’ ya wish.
    Sponge Bob Square Pants!
    Then drop on the deck and flop like a fish.
    Sponge Bob Square Pants!

    Sponge Bob Square Pants,
    Sponge Bob Square Pants,
    Sponge Bob Square Pants,
    Sponge Booob Square Paaants!

    Ah Ha Ha, Ha Ha Ha, Ha, hArgh wh..arire..Ha arrrigh.

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  77. Danny said on June 3, 2009 at 10:30 pm

    Ha, no kidding. Greetings, James, from one Baltimoron to another (affectionately speaking).

    Jeff, I’ll think on that 50th surprise. Coincidentally, my wife’s 50th is coming up next month. We were going to do Maui (theme, Hawaii Five-Oh), but the timing is bad, so we’re still trying to figure it out. We’re also thinking Disneyland — why, yes, we are immature — because then friends could join us more easily. And we’ve always wanted to stay a few nights in the Grand Californian, but it might be difficult to get a good night’s sleep with all of that money flying out the window.

    Hmmm. I’ll get back to you.

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  78. Catherine said on June 3, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    The Grand Californian is WEP. At least have dinner at the Napa Rose restaurant (especially if you are wine people).

    Jeff, Alex is right — bling is always appropriate. Perhaps something unique and vintage, like her. You don’t need to draw too much attention to the vintage part, though.

    Travel is good but can be tricky with kids.

    What is she like? What are her hobbies? What’s her favorite thing to do with you? How does she feel about the milestone? What’s the budget? I love coming up with these things but need more info!

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  79. brian stouder said on June 3, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    “we got linked by Wolcott”

    To paraphrase something I recently read, somewhere – what do you mean “we”, white woman?

    Anyway – another funny and timeless touchstone around here is the proprietress’s contention that the movie “Top Gun” is the most gay movie – evah!

    And then we learn that Maverick and Goose and Ice were only the half of it!


    (darned if I can remember the instructor’s name, though. Surely she had an endearing ‘handle’, no?)

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  80. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 4, 2009 at 12:00 am

    Yeah, but she’s pretty un-blingy. Seriously so. Good thoughts, though. If time were not a pinch, we’d be hiking to Phantom Ranch and back by way of North Kaibab Trail . . . she’s that kind of non-blingish babe.

    She’s young at heart, but not pleased about the whole half century thing. Humor, my usual tool, is blunt and bent in the face of this particular challenge.

    Re: our blogmistress’ closing observation — plucking, and editing; those two categories deserve more active comparison. Adverbs — tweezers. Redundant phrases — tweezers. Erudite turns of phrase — careful consideration, and then at least some discreet tweezing.

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  81. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 4, 2009 at 12:01 am

    I’m thinkin’ ’bout pearls, though. Bling that is un-blingy . . . Might just make it under the wire — danke, Alex.

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  82. whitebeard said on June 4, 2009 at 12:04 am

    Cooz, I like your dad’s sense of timing, just the right way to break the ice at the kitchen table with friends.
    Ah, ferocious eyebrows, when I see my wife descending on me with a pair of scissor, I know there is no mayhem pending, but only that I have a couple of thick curly hairs poking into my eyes. Her only comment is “You never notice them, do you?”
    Continuing along hairly lines,she accepts my silky, light brown hair down beyond my shoulders but gently hints every half-year or so that I should trim my snow-white beard , , , which I do.

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  83. Dexter said on June 4, 2009 at 12:21 am

    Those of us who attended Detroit sports events in the 1980s and nineties will remember Joe Diroff, Detroit’s famous “The Brow”. I’ll never forget The Brow or Nick Feldman. Feldman was an old guy , a former circuit bicycle racer in his youth, who spent his waning years dressed up in a tiger suit and circling Tiger Stadium on his bicycle on Opening Day, and for regular season games he’d just ride around the stadium area , that long white beard flowing .
    The Brow was a retired mathematics teacher who just was too restless to sit at home, so he carved out a niche as the number one Detroit sports fan. He had this booming voice, OMG was he LOUD. He loved all Detroit teams and would cheer them at the airport as well as the parking lots and stadium exits; he was a real genuine “one of a kind”.

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  84. Catherine said on June 4, 2009 at 12:40 am

    Jeff, maybe a Zuni fetish necklace or a fabulous vintage Navajo turquoise bracelet, as a downpayment on the Southwest swing? A signed Maria Martinez bowl with a coupon for camping on the north rim, followed by a night at La Fonda in Santa Fe? I’ll keep thinking…

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  85. CrazyCatLady said on June 4, 2009 at 1:40 am

    What I love (?) about old men: Those long, strangely crooked ear hairs. Not just shaggy brows but long, whitish black ear hair–long enough to braid! Especially in old Greek men. And bald men. Very strange.

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  86. moe99 said on June 4, 2009 at 2:28 am

    mark, according to wikipedia there’s no fast figure for Moslems in the US. Newsweek pegs it at 8 million in the high range.


    However, should you desire to keep trying to prove Obama’s an idiot, well I can’t stop you, but let me guess what your next talking point will be…the fact that he said ‘thank you’ in Arabic while he was in Egypt today, thus proving his fluency in Arabic? It’s already making the right wing rounds, so just wanted to let you know about it.

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  87. mark said on June 4, 2009 at 6:29 am


    Obama misspoke. That’s not right wing or left wing, it’s true.

    Pick your battles more carefully.

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  88. beb said on June 4, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Jeff (TMMO) – in matters of 50th birthdays, ask. Some people, like me, didn’t want anything to do with a celebration of getting old. Others, though, relish the distinction and welcome a party. Planning something together rather than being surprised by pre-made plans, I think always work better, especially if its a longish vacation.

    mapsoftheworld has a list of the ten largest muslim populations, Egypt comes in 7th. Saudi Arabia doesn’t appear at all. The top four were Pakistan, India, Indonesian and Bangledish. None of these are middle-eastern countries. And then there are Africian countries like Morocco, Algeria, and Nigeria. Only Turkey, Iran and Egypt on this list are what one would think of as Arab nations. If Newsweek places the US’s muslim population at 6 million, then it is larger than the United Arab Emirates, which only has 4.5 million.

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  89. brian stouder said on June 4, 2009 at 8:31 am

    Mark – ease up, man; Moe has expressed a reasonable view, and your response is to try and simply overrule her?

    Here’s an idea – read what the president actually said:


    an excerpt:

    Question: Tomorrow we’re leaving for the Middle East. It’s going to be your first trip there. What do you want to achieve with this trip?

    THE PRESIDENT: Well, we’re going to be traveling to Saudi Arabia; I’ll be having discussions with King Abdullah. And then we’ll travel to Cairo, in which I am delivering on a promise I made during the campaign to provide a framework, a speech of how I think we can remake relations between the United States and countries in the Muslim world.

    Now, I think it’s very important to understand that one speech is not going to solve all the problems in the Middle East. And so I think expectations should be somewhat modest.

    What I want to do is to create a better dialogue so that the Muslim world understands more effectively how the United States but also how the West thinks about many of these difficult issues like terrorism, like democracy, to discuss the framework for what’s happened in Iraq and Afghanistan and our outreach to Iran, and also how we view the prospects for peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

    Now, the flip side is I think that the United States and the West generally, we have to educate ourselves more effectively on Islam. And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslims Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world. And so there’s got to be a better dialogue and a better understanding between the two peoples.

    As Beb just pointed out – the citizenry of the United States consists of more Muslims than the critical region the president is in, and that bit of perspective is certainly noteworthy.

    Have a fun weekend, y’all – and Happy Birthday to Mrs TMMO!

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  90. Dorothy said on June 4, 2009 at 8:35 am

    Brian, that Kelly McGinnis news was so last week. You’ve gotta keep up, dude!!

    And Danny – what day next month is your wife turning 50? My sister Chrissy is turning 50 on July 18th. I was her Great Protector while we were growing up – I’m 23 months older than she is. She was always quiet and shy – I’m the uber exact opposite.

    I can’t wait to see what Nancy’s gonna talk about today. She’s probably composing right now as I type this comment. I’ll try to refrain from sharing too much, even if it IS “share week” @ nn.c.

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  91. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 4, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Beb, did ask — it’s an interesting mix of “wants it celebrated” and “wants it behind her.” Liking the Zuni necklace idea; a Maria Martinez bowl, Catherine? It is to laugh, said the preacher/social worker fellow. Ha. Now is the time i stop laughing . . . but a coupon for the North Rim! Of course, in my case that’s almost like some guys getting their wives a set of titanium clubs. Many thanks for the thots.

    Got up, listened, liked the speech, even moved by the meaning of the where and the what, let alone the who and the why. What was really intriguing: when the audience applauded, and when they didn’t. “Sunni and Shi’a together” — crickets. “Salaam aleikum” — he killed, rafters rattled, evoked “we love you!” just like back home. Speak of “ending the terror of grandmothers bombed on buses,” back to the crickets.

    Much work to do.

    I’m already reading some heavy breathing on his saying “Holy Koran” (or Qur’an if you prefer), but he also said “Holy Bible,” and got in a “blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God,” which got him an ovation here from the rocking chair in my bathrobe.

    Of course, at my old seminary, he would have lost a letter grade for not inclusivizing “sons.” Since it’s Obama, i’ll bet they’ll overlook it.

    (Oh, and the 50th birthday in question is two and a half months off: i’m in planning mode, he said compulsively.)

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  92. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on June 4, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Re: Muslim country — i’ve been sending back to folks who hit me on this silly, silly point the link to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_in_the_United_States which makes the point that we are the second largest Spanish speaking country in the world. Mexico, 100 million; US, 45 million; Spain, 40 million. Doesn’t mean i think every Federal Document should be printed in side-by-side or that bilingual education should be the norm everywhere, but it’s a fact.

    Even if you take the lower, better founded number, 2 to 3 million Muslim Americans means President Obama can sit down at any table in the Middle East and say “my country has a direct interest in Islamic affairs.” If he needs to claim 6 million to get a better seat, fine; the Southern Baptists claim 16 million and everyone knows that’s half balloon juice, too.

    We are vast, we contain multitudes, here in the Song of Ourselves.

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  93. mark said on June 4, 2009 at 8:53 am

    Ease up yourself, brian.

    “And one of the points I want to make is, is that if you actually took the number of Muslim Americans, we’d be one of the largest Muslim countries in the world.”

    Obama misspoke. If that’s the point he’s wanting to make, it would be wrong.

    In a half-hearted effort to change the subject from facial hair, I suggested geography is not Obama’s strong suit. That’s it. Moe decides to defend the indefensible with the usual exaggeration(“trying to prove Obama’s an idiot”) and ad hominem reference to right wing whatever.

    And, no, the citizenry of the United States does not consist of more Muslims than the critical region the president is in. The UAE is a very tiny nation (or federation of even smaller emirates) within the critical region the president is visiting.

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  94. mark said on June 4, 2009 at 9:03 am


    If your wife happens to have a passion for cooking, arranging several hours of private instruction with an accomplished area chef is usually a hit and not cost prohibitive. There are similar ways to accomodate other interests.

    If your budget is larger, a long weekend at the Banff Springs Hotel, Canada, with spa package, is hard to beat. Beautiful setting allowing for pampering and hiking.

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  95. brian stouder said on June 4, 2009 at 9:18 am

    Honestly – the really BIG news that I’m following relates to this article:


    We’re off to an outdoor wedding – always a roll of the dice in Indiana – on D-Day. Chloe (who will be 5 on Monday) is the flower girl, and she fell getting off her school bus yesterday (on the LAST day of school!) – and of course had a mark on her face.

    But this morning that was gone – and ‘the rapids’ of this weekend now loom squarely before us.


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  96. LA Mary said on June 4, 2009 at 9:26 am

    As a woman who saw fifty several years ago, I second the pearls suggestion. They are classic and beautiful and there’s a price range that anyone can fit. Also, there is something lovely about how pearls look against a woman’s complexion at any age. They’re like little bits of candlelight. A nice strand, 18 inches…and some earrings. Perfect. Goes with everything from cashmere to jeans jackets.

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  97. LA Mary said on June 4, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Going back to the PJ O’Rourke mention of a few days ago: he had the old man smell going on The Daily Show last night. Jon Stewart was fake laughing at the unfunniness. Then, my clock radio goes off this AM with more of the same. Unfunny, geezerish, and disappointing. I don’t have to agree with his politics to find him funny, but he’s lost the funny.

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  98. Connie said on June 4, 2009 at 9:42 am

    LAMary, 18 inches would choke me. I prefer diamond earrings.

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  99. Jeff Borden said on June 4, 2009 at 9:50 am

    More evidence “Top Gun” equals gay is that Kelly McGillis recently came out as a lesbian in a long-term relationship.

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  100. Jolene said on June 4, 2009 at 10:01 am

    On the birthday, what does she remember with pleasure? What does she cherish? Time alone? Time w/ you? Time w/ friends? Experiences, such as spa visits, special dinners, concerts, and trips or things such as art, jewelry, or a special article of clothing. Something that says you’ve been paying attention all these years to who she is is what you’re looking for.

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  101. Danny said on June 4, 2009 at 11:04 am

    Jeff B., that’s what Brian was referring to.

    Dorothy, its on the 6th.

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  102. Dorothy said on June 4, 2009 at 11:12 am

    I’ve been Jonesing for some pearls for some time now. They’d make a nice 52nd birthday gift, too, I’m thinking.

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