After plucking away for three minutes and fifteen seconds, Millicent looked at herself in the mirror for the first time after tearing open the package of her new mint green Emjoi eRase e60, manufacturer guaranteed to remove hair and leave her skin feeling like a baby’s for up to six weeks (she was counting on at least three days, because she still liked to leave a little room for optimism in her life). She’d bought the gadget after Vanessa, an acquaintance from GoodLife Fitness who had perfect eyebrows recommended it to her. Vanessa also had decent forearms and generally managed to still rock her side-shave side pony well into the 17th rep, so Millicent aspired to be like her. Millicent, who was now pushing 23, had felt defeated by life ever since 7th grade when she realized that her parents had basically picked her name straight from a nineteenth-century baby book. When she’d argued with them about it, her parents had told her that they liked the name, which meant industrious, because it was a practical name. But practically speaking, at this point, she just had no friends. Her other friend, Naomi, whose first name was Bettina, advised her to start going by her middle name, but Millicent’s parents had not had the foresight to give her one.
Millicent was beginning to understand that it wasn’t helpful to focus only on the negatives in her life. At 22, she had decided that she was too young to write herself off as washed-up and ready to get old and retire, and at 23 she’d started taking more proactive steps towards real life change. Three months ago she’d found herself a life coach, and now the tweezers. Next stop, who knows, Miss All Canadian. Miss Universe. That’s why she was trying to put the past behind her and move into a future where she wasn’t defined by her dated name, her saggy posture, and her inability to land herself a hot boyfriend. She’d started going to GoodLife 3x a week, she’d picked up smoking for five days – thinking it would make her look appealing but discovering all the coughing wasn’t worth it. And, just today after work, she’d purchased this eyebrow plucker, because she thought it would go straight to her sex appeal.
Well, like we mentioned, at 3:16 on the stopwatch she looked up. She imagined spending weeks afterword trying to figure out why she hadn’t used the mirror at the same time as her brand-new eRase. She imagined spending months trying to draw on her eyebrows with shaky hands brought down by years of longing to be beautiful. She imagined spending years reliving the moments she hadn’t even noticed were passing, the moments when she’d accidentally taken off half of her left eyebrow, leaving her with a sort of permanent sarcastic eyebrow-raise situation that had forced her to remove the brow in its entirety. Vanessa would laugh, and Millicent became increasingly convinced that her life coach wasn’t going to quite understand this one.
Twenty two minutes later, it dawned on Millicent that she was being presented with conformity at its finest. If she was looking for ways to fix her slightly too bushy eyebrows, shaving them off was one way of doing it. Mirror in hand this time, she picked up her eRase and took off the other eyebrow.