In the same way you'd refer to a howling newborn's lung function, it's fair to say I have a healthy pair of eyebrows. If your eyes are indeed the windows to your soul, then my eyebrows must certainly be a pair of thick, well insulated, full length velour curtains. They've languished on my forehead, pretty much untouched for most of my life, and I've taken only the occasional stab at them with a pair of tweezers. I spent my early adulthood in fear I might end up one of those women who over pluck and end up with a nude face, only to have to draw them back on with a pencil - what the hell is the point in that?
My first experience with threading was only a couple of years ago. I was at an event, and it was being offered free of charge. God I'm such a sucker for a freebie.
First up, there's the assumption from the beautician that you'll know what to do. You'll somehow instinctively know how to lie back in the chair, contort your body into a ridiculous pose, somehow both stretching your forehead and pulling down your eyelid at the same time, whilst your deodorant works overdrive trying to conceal your nervous perspiration in your exposed armpit. One look at my bad boys and she must have surely realised that this wasn't my natural habitat.
So she surveys the enormity of the task. "Hmmm," she muses "your eyebrows don't match".
"Umm yeah" I shuffle uncomfortably on the chair "I was kinda hoping you could, you know - even them out a bit?" as I cringe with embarrassment, every inch of me silently screaming "I KNOW - WHY THE HELL DO YOU THINK I'M SITTING HERE?"
"Just relax" she coaxes as I'm laid out for all the world to see. Now where have I heard that before? Oh yeah, it's a favourite line of smear test nurses.
Ultimately, the whole affair wasn't too bad, and didn't hurt anyway near as bad as I'd been expecting. I thought I was kind of converted to this threading lark.
Since then, the trend of threading bars has been popping up all over. It's even reached my provincial little neck of the woods with one-woman bands setting up shop with their converted dentist chairs in department stores and shopping centres all over the place.
I'm really not sure how I feel about this. Since when did it become ok to carry out your beauty regimes so overtly? Being pulled and plucked in broad daylight, whilst throngs of shoppers mill around you looking for new bathroom towels is a tad humiliating isn't it? I mean, you might as well walk through the mall with a big "I'm hairy and I know it" sandwich board on.
And somehow, these threaders seem to have abandoned all sense of social decorum and boundaries. On one occasion, while she was taming my brows, one said to me "would you like me to carry on up and do your forehead?" I mean what??! What the hell's wrong with my forehead? As if I don't have enough body hang ups already. Then she offers "what about your upper lip?". Seriously, do one! When did it become socially acceptable to tell a complete stranger she has a tash?
The withering looks the immaculately made up white-coated Clarins ladies throw you. The walk of shame past the orange-faced army of cosmetic counter staff, while your eyes are still streaming; you look like a freshly plucked chicken; and you try to discretely brush away the caterpillar hairs that are now sat upon your cheeks.
And now they are setting up in shopping malls and public spaces - I've even seen them outdoors. What's next - a quick pluck at the post office? And where will this trend for public grooming end? Spray tans at the car wash? Bikini waxes in Debenhams? Imagine the walk of shame after that.