The Miss Jobless Chronicles: Wax On, Wax Off

Ed. note: “The Miss Jobless Chronicles” is a weekly series written by Caitlin O’Toole. Read the rest in the series here!

Maybe I’m vain, but no matter how broke I am, I always set aside $12.50 every three weeks to get my eyebrows waxed. It’s just my thing.

I’ve done a lot of comparison-shopping and a lot of research. I know every eyebrow threader, waxer, plucker and mower in the borough of Manhattan. There’s a salon on the corner of 9th and 22nd called Happy 4 U nails and I’ve come to know the owner, Micky, as the best in the brow biz.

Micky lives in the back of the salon, and if you arrive early in the morning she’ll come to the front in her nightgown and slippers, stopping at each pedicure station along the way to turn on the water jets.

On a recent visit, I needed my brows done badly. BADLY. I looked like Martin Scorsese. Now, I’ve come to trust Micky’s work, so I no longer worry that she’s going to make me look like a clown. I just let her do her thing. But on this particular day, I should have been worried.

“Oh, good morning!” Micky winks. She’s a beauty even without make-up.

“Good morning! I need a wax,” I say, pointing to my brows.

“You do! You look like monster!”

Now, when you get your eyebrows waxed, you’re not just asking someone to lovingly sculpt the hair above your eyes; your entire expression is in their hands.

And this night was especially important — I had a Match.com date. I didn’t tell Micky that, I didn’t want her to feel pressured to make me look too beautiful, but I knew that I had to look extra sharp for my date and the Frida Kahlo eyebrows had to go.


She lays me down on the plastic-covered table and puts a fresh piece of paper over an old pillow and begins to painstakingly mix the wax like some special potion only she knows the recipe for.

Micky doesn’t have a soft touch, she grabs my face and pulls it towards her and brushes powder over each eyebrow and blows on the wax, which is on wooden stick.

“You’re no working today?” she says between blows.

“Yeah, I am, but I’m working at home.”

Micky seems distracted.

She blows on the stick a few more times with her not so delicious morning breath and smears the wax underneath my right eyebrow (she always starts there for some reason). Then she slaps a piece of fabric underneath the brow and 1-2-3 pulls it off.

“Ooops,” she goes.

And my heart sank.

“What’s ‘oops’?”

“Oh, nothing,” she faintly chuckles, and pulls my face to her once again, slaps some wax underneath the next eyebrow, and rrrrip.

Then she does the tops of the brows. I am getting nervous. But I’ve trusted this woman with my entire face for two years — I can’t stop now. Everything’s probably fine.

When she starts plucking, she says:

“You have grey hair in eyebrow!”

“You’re kidding!” I say, as she plucks it out and shows me.

“Ugh!”

“Don’t worry — I have grey hair all over body.”

I’m not sure I need to know that, but we move on.

She takes the cool, antiseptic-smelling liquid, wipes the wax off of my brows and says “finish!”

She hands me the mirror.

oh

my

fucking

god

I have Marlene Dietrich eyebrows! But they are lopsided! I have a permanent look of surprise on my face! Oh…. no… my date!

I would feel bad not tipping Micky even though for the first time in two years she fucked up. So I tip her two bucks. But I do tell her how I feel.

“They’re a little… off,” I say, pointing to the Mickey Mouse arch on the right one.

She takes a little comb and gives me what seems to be an eyebrow combover, which temporarily fixes the problem.

By the time I get home, I look worse than ever.

I call Megan immediately. I’m literally fighting back tears.

“Just go to Duane Reade and get a dark brown brow pencil and make it work,” she urges confidently. “You can do it, you used to go to art school.”

Megan’s make-up is always immaculate, so I trust her. But she agrees to come over before the big date for moral support.

She barges in with her Gucci sunglasses even though it’s pouring rain.

“Let’s see,” she goes, trying to conceal a grin. “Not THAT bad.”

She draws and plucks and primps and prods, and finally says, “OK — look now. Perfect!”

The bitch drew both eyebrows pointing downward, so I have an angry-looking expression on my face.

“OK, cute — can you fix them for real?”

She spends twenty minutes on them, then says it’s the best she can do because “the lady royally fucked them up.”

Great.

I kick her out, I have to get ready.


The woman from Match.com I’m meeting’s name is Lisa. We’ve had a great email rapport for about a month, and have finally gotten it together to meet up. She looks great in her pictures — a svelte, green-eyed brunette with a slightly mischievous grin. And she’s sharp as a tack. I haven’t liked to date since I’ve been underemployed because there’s that inevitable “what do you do?” question that I have a hard time answering. But Lisa made me feel immediately at ease.

We decide to meet at Cosi in Union Square for coffee to keep it casual. And cheap.

I’m humiliated about my eyebrows and am convinced the date will go horribly.

After the initial awkwardness, things seem to be going smoothly and I forget about my brows. I do notice her staring every so often, which makes me panic slightly, but I shake it off. We talk about everything from Obama to civil disobedience to “Dancing With the Stars.” We seem pretty well-matched intellectually, and aesthetically … well, she’s a knock out.

She orders a hot fudge sundae, which we end up splitting, and I order an Earl Grey.

We talk some more, then I get up the nerve to ask her how she thinks the date is going, and if she’d like to continue on and get a nightcap somewhere. She hesitates. My god, it’s my Clarabelle the clown eyebrows! She’s trying to come up with an excuse to blow me off!

“Well,” she says, after what seems like an eternity, “I have something to tell you.”

“What? You have a boyfriend. You’re married. You’re straight. You’re pregnant? You have kids? Tell me. I’ve heard it all.”

“I don’t know how to tell you this, but… “

Here goes. Can’t wait to see how she’ll phrase this one.

” … I just … I just wish you were a little … thinner.”

After my heart hit the floor, a million insults went through my head. But nothing came out. I just got up and left, head held high. As I walked out, in my mind, I told her that I wished her eyes weren’t so close together and the mole on her face was about an inch more to the left. And didn’t have dark little hairs sprouting out of it.

My eyebrows eventually grew in, but I’ve switched “groomers.” I’ll just never forgive Micky for the angst she caused me. And Lisa… well, she’s forgiven. She’s just not worth spending a second worrying about.

caitlinotoole.pngCaitlin O’Toole is a New York City-based writer and editor. A native of Washington, D.C., she began her illustrious journalism career as a Washington Post paper girl. She has since written and edited for Sesame Workshop Digital, Star Magazine, The National Enquirer, Glamour, People.com, Parade.com and Washington’s City Paper. Her work has also been featured on Fox News, ABC, MTV and VH1. She lives in Chelsea with her two cats, Lucy and Ethel. She can be reached for work at her LinkedIn page.