Deborah Ross: Think it's easy being a brow guru? It's a serious business

If You Ask Me: In all the years I've had brows, I've never paid them much attention at all


If you ask me, I noticed a series of eyebrow grooming tips being given by a "brow guru" on flicking through a women's magazine the other day, and wondered: How do you become a brow guru? Does it take years of training? Do you have to get a brow degree before you can work your way up? Junior, houseman, registrar, consultant and then, finally, guru?

Or can anyone have a go? Could I, for example, set myself up as a brow guru and put a note on my door as follows: "Please ring bell for brow guru. If no reply, am otherwise occupied guru-ing brows, but do try again later"? And would I have to be on call 24/7, for brow emergencies? If someone's brows were caught in a head-on collision, say? And, as they recovered, as a guru, would I then have to attend to their spiritual needs? Do brows have spiritual needs? Do they need to imagine there is more to life than preventing rain, sweat and debris from falling into our eyes? That there is life after death, and a God? Crikey, have I been ignoring my brows' spiritual needs until now? Have I?

You'd think: not much to brows, really, and not much to guru, when it comes down to it. You sometimes have a tweeze and sometimes don't and that's about it. It's not as if it's brain surgery. Or is it?

As it happens, my childhood friend, Paul, is now a neurosurgeon so I put it to him: "Brain surgery and brow guru-ing? Any parallels?" And he said that sometimes, when he and his colleagues are performing an intensely complex and delicate operation – repairing a cerebrospinal fluid leak, for example, or treating an intercellular haemorrhage – he will jolly his team along by saying something like: "Come on, it's not as if it's brow guru-ing" or "It's not even as if we are operating to separate a monobrow, joined since birth". This, he added, "seriously helps us regain perspective and get on with the job in hand".

So it's not as if "brow guru" is First World capitalism gone mad, or it's about giving women yet another body part to fret over and feel compelled to modify rather than actually getting on with their lives. In fact, I feel terrible that, in all the years I've had brows, which are many, I've never paid them much attention at all and, like I said, have never considered their spiritual needs. They may even have been depressed at various times and, given the neglect, possibly suicidal. I have never been there for them. I can see that now.

I suppose I'm just lucky they haven't yet been taken into care.

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