by Dr Airdre Grant
THE woman behind the counter in the shop had painted on her eyebrows.
Two thin black lines hovered above her eyes and distracted me as they moved rapidly up and down when she talked.
I couldn't stop looking at them. It was somewhat disturbing. I was getting a quick and immediate visual lesson in eyebrow art.
I suspected the eyebrow is one of the overlooked - get it? - facial features (unlike lips and eyes, you never stop hearing about those bad boys). But I was wrong.
All this time I haven't given eyebrows the acknowledgement they deserved.
Eyebrows have loads written about them. There is even one of those boringly ubiquitous signs (Keep calm and let me do your eyebrows - sigh). I never knew eyebrows had such a following. There are many, many pages of pictures, comments and cartoons about eyebrows. Apparently actor Jack Black famously said: "You can never underestimate the power of the eyebrow."
Well now. There are eyebrow salons and eyebrow bars where you can pop in for a quick spruce up.
I knew Frida Kahlo and Bert from Sesame Street had monobrows. I was unaware that Rihanna has light and sparse eyebrows, and that Brooke Shields has over-plucked. I have it on good authority (a random women's magazine) that we should all be aiming for bushy brilliance. Who knew?
But, although I couldn't care less about bushy and brilliant celebrity eyebrows, once they had been brought to my attention I was now acutely conscious of them.
It was just like when you decide to have a baby and suddenly notice there are babies everywhere, or that you hate a certain type of car and there it is - on every corner, even parked outside your house or workplace. I remembered a friend has studs for eyebrows, and that others have them tattooed on. On the television a mother cried about her son in some disaster - and all I could do was look at her eyebrows. My emotional integrity was undermined by my newly fledged eyebrow consciousness.
But I am nothing if not fickle and I knew that my eyebrow awareness would die away quickly and soon I would be distracted by something equally frivolous, like toenails.
Best not get me started on toenails ...