Finally, I've found a place where I fit in. Amid all the dark-haired, curly-haired, thick-haired, very-haired people, I'm just another one of a super-hairy race. Where I stood out in South Africa with my dark features and hairy arms, here I blend in in the sea of constant waxers, shavers, epilators...
Conversations about unruly eyebrows are commonplace; moustache woes are normal (and can actually be called moustaches instead of upper lips); finding solutions to calming the curls is a constant headache. But it's all understood. Back home, it would be hard to help people comprehend that my eyebrows needed to be plucked every second day, that bleach was my only defence against other facial hair, that without gel I could not tie my hair into a ponytail, and that I didn't even own a hairbrush because of the fluff-puff it would turn my crowning glory into. My Silk Epil epilator is my constant companion. If I travel without her, wearing jeans everyday is my only saving grace. The epilator, my tweezers, bleach and wax strips - they're all top on my to-pack list. They came with me to Lebanon.
But here it's okay if the facial hairs grow a little. People know you'll be sorting them out this weekend. Although we're all in the same, hairy boat up here in Lebanon, we're also in the boat that takes us to the beauty salon every second week. There's one (or three) around every corner. They're thriving businesses. If you can make a killing off deleting what makes a nation's people identify with each other, while adding another aspects that links them all, then I say 'all hail the person holding the thread'!
Threading is the way most therapists work here. It's a super-fast manner for removing hair, and even manages to get rid of those ingrown ones. I went to smiley cousin's therapist, Laure. Holding the ball of thread down on the ground with her foot, she held onto the string of thread with her mouth, and then maneuvered it between the fingers of both hands - and there she had it: one of the most lethal weapons known to hairy Lebanese women!
Eyes closed and pulling my lids down for tautness, I felt the plucked hairs come raining down on my cheeks. Laure managed to shape my eyebrows into the Lebanese symbols of a well-kept woman in no time (that and my upper lip took five minutes in fact), leaving me feeling rather naked under my much-reduced hairline.
While fitting in here with all my hair, I feel the most Lebanese I ever have now that I've removed it.
Before and after. Note the fabulous arch created. You may also see that the hair closest to my nose is a little thinner than the rest. This is because it's only been allowed to grow since March, when my Lebanese cousins visited me in South Africa and commented on how we South Africans take too much hair away from the inner part of the brow nearest the nose. I started grooming mine into Leb brows ever since then. Yay for me - it meant less plucking!
The threading process being carried out on someone else.