Elixir of youth?

My hair has been done.

I am blonde again. Too blonde. Almost luminescent. As if I am wearing a halo. Perhaps that’s appropriate, given saintly offer to baby-sit my sister’s children …?

My feet, courtesy of a pedicure, are almost presentable. Sadly the cold prevents me from presenting them; instead my recently buffed soles and polished nails are encased in several layers of socks and a pair of boots.

And my brows have been threaded and reshaped so that they arch elegantly above my eyes. As if I am perpetually surprised, as if, indeed, I am mildly shocked at my rash offer (three under-eights for two weeks!) or my somewhat startling new appearance. As the friend I bumped into yesterday clearly was; she couldn’t stop staring at my Day-Glo fringe. I know what she was thinking: ‘has she always been this fair?’

Eyebrow threading comes close second on the Richter scale of feminine pain to giving birth. It makes your eyes water similarly. Though obviously I wasn’t shouting at beauty therapist, Grace, in same way I might have done husband; I wasn’t yelling obscenities (”and you can jolly well keep the **** away from me in future!”) at her. I simply surrendered meekly and quietly and then she gently dabbed away my tears with soft tissues and a consoling, ‘the pain makes you cry kabisa!’.

You’re not wrong, honey. Kabisa! And by the way, you ever thought of taking up work as a doula?

Amelia opted for threading too. As in:

Mum, can I get my eyebrows waxed?

Grace, which is better: waxing or threading?

Grace considers my question for a moment and then tactfully says, threading is more … um … effective.

I think she meant painful but I told Amelia she meant better.

Amelia now sports similarly elegantly arched eyebrows above, admittedly, scarlet lids.

God Mum! That was the most painful thing ever.

I haven’t told her. That it wasn’t. That it could be worse. If you’re a woman.

And I won’t: I don’t want to put her off; I quite fancy becoming a grandmother one day.

And then I can morph from luminous blonde to sugar almond pink or lavender purple rinsed. And shave off the brows altogether, replacing them with pencilled semi-circles.

So that I might forever look as if life can still surprise me.

Perhaps that’s the secret to eternal youth – an expression of permanent wonder – and not Botox?

16 Responses to “Elixir of youth?”

  1. Mzungu Chick Says:

    I shall keep my eyes peeled for all surprised looking Day-Glo hair coloured ladies on my travels around town to see if I can spot you amongst the hordes. I think though you may just blend in now you’ve been ‘done up’, and hey a bit of Botox would help you fit in further as I’ve noticed recently that a lot of those ladies who sip lattes in Dormans on a week day have rather abnormally large top lips!

    I do hope I find you though – it would be great to meet up with a genuine haloed angel! Also if you need to entertain under 8’s for an afternoon – Kung Fu Panda is a must – I went with four of them yesterday and they almost wet themselves laughing – or was that me??

  2. Tash Says:

    What the heck is eyebrow threading? Dreadlocks??? (My brows would be good for that – reggae brows!) Is it permanent? And if so – are you happy with the result? Hilarious!!! And even funnier is the idea that Mzungu Chick has got her eyes open for you, in the hope that you’ll bump into each other. The irony is – you were probably behind her in the cinema watching Kung Fu Panda…!

  3. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    oh mzungu chick … what a shame. i went with all six of mine two days ago. did you notice how all the characters had american teeth? all perfect pearly white? my niece who is four didn’t enjoy it, kept insisting it was time for bath and bed and oughnt we go home now. do wish i had bumped into you. at junction? you may well spot me. i look very scruffy. and suprised, of course.

    Tash. No. It is not dreadlocks. it is ancient indian alternative to tweezing. the upside being you are less likely to pinch your skin because its not you doing it. it’s a nice lady called Grace. and it apparently lasts longer which is handy when you live on earthly equivalent of moon. i am wideeyed watching out for mc … x

  4. Tamara Says:

    heheh. “it hurts to be beautiful” my grandmother used to say as she brushed my birds nest of a head. Golly, you are getting the 10 000km service, heh? Will there be waxing too? and teeth?

  5. nuttycow Says:

    Threading is evil. Had it done once and have never gone back. Now I just deal with the longer (but less painful) route of getting someone to wax and pluck my eyebrows.

    Glad you’re having a good time in Nairobbery. Hope you meet up with MC – maybe next time I’m out we can all have a mini blog meet. I would insist we go somewhere else apart from Dormans though. Maybe for a stiff drink somewhere?!

  6. Milla Says:

    just what IS threading?? Perhaps I don’t want to know. Meanwhile, oh fair goddess, you, have mentioned you in my blog. I don’t normally go in for all this stuff, but felt a tad guilty just grabbing the plaudits and never mentioning anyone back. And for the infants – there’s always the cellar…

  7. Kathleen Says:

    Do you know the reason why older women need to use black magic markers to make eyebrows? Its because after a certain age your eyebrows do not grow back after plucking, threading, waxing etc. I stopped doing all of that about five years ago and just dye the white hairs so in future I don’t have a black dash across my forehead that melts in the rain. Just thought you’d want to know.

  8. Eve Says:

    I saw eyebrow threading on the television once. They were trying to sell it.

    The fact that the model was weeping tears of pain and kept uttering small squeaks of pain through her manfully fixed smile told me all I needed to know about it. She after all was being paid to make it look easy and painless.

  9. Almost American Says:

    I agree with NuttyCow – threading IS evil! An Iranian friend threaded my legs once, and when the hair grew back it all grew back ingrown!

  10. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Tamara – precisely. though in my case it’s about hurting to be presentable enough to step out of my own front door. or rather my sisters front door. nobody in outpost would notice roots, monobrow or clawed feet.

    nutty: agree. mini blog convention. over a bottle of wine? in dim lighting to that my hair can provide supplementary illumination? i prefer the dormans at junction i think: tea is hot and fellow cafe goers don’t look you up and down because you are not.

    Thank you Milla. the infants are running amok as i write. two are climbing on the desk and one standing on the sofa. my warnings of ”i will have no sympathy if one of your falls and cracks your head open” are met with disdainful expressions of disinterest. they know i will. have sympathy.

    Kathleen: that’s hilarious. the idea of pencil and mascara pooling beneath eyes made me laugh out loud. thank you!

    Eve: i am working on the ”effective” and the promise that this will last longer than waxing, tweezing, shaving them off altogether: geography dictates that i must go with whatever might last longest …

    Almost American: do you mean to say I am going to end up with ingrown eyebrows?! That is gross. that is worse than monobrow or eye brow hairs falling into eyes and obscuring vision.

  11. ann Says:

    I didn’t like to admit my ignorance, but then I saw then others don’t know what threading is either. Whew! I’m not so out of touch then.

  12. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    now look ann, and everybody else out there who has never heard of eyebrow threading, it is so rare that i know anything that everybody else doesn’t already know (esp in looks/wardrobe/shoe/important people department) that i feel utterly compelled to direct you to http://www.eyebrowthreading.co.uk/ in order that you may all be enlightened. and perhaps, in time, as startled looking as i xx

  13. Roberta Says:

    Now “I” have that look of astonishment. Thank you for the “threading” explaination. I was going to come back and ask, but see that others were just as confused.

    To think, Africa has “threading”. I really must live in the outback!

  14. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    Roberta, the first time i came across threading was in a tiny beauty salon owned by a glorious indian lady in northern tz. most of her clients were other indian ladies. they came to her ”shop” to have their hair tinted, feet massaged or brows threaded. but mostly they came to gossip and share beauty tips and hand over shopping lists to whomever may next be going home to mumbai or delhi. i would watch and eavesdrop and smile and think how colourful their lives seemed, with henna’d hair and painted nails and saris shot with silver thread so that the colours seemed to dance every time they flicked them over a shoulder. i hate the pain of threading but there is some glorious association in there that i cannot forget.

    what, however, subdues the richness of the memory is the knowledge that asian men have thier nose and ear hair threaded too …

  15. Janelle Says:

    riotous as always! bloody funny anthea!! i can just see you meandering about nairobi with your brood and your surprised look. i bet you look GORGEOUS darling. of course! i have never had threading, plucking or waxing. consequently i have eyebrows which rustle in the wind. when do you head back to the outpost?? sending lots love and LOVE your blog! love it! and You! xxxx janelle

  16. reluctantmemsahib Says:

    love to you too janellabella. back to the outpost tuesday. quite relish the prospect of my own bed and some sunshine again. and of course the brows and hair will be quite wasted and go utterly unnoticed. unless, of course, i text prompt to husband, ”remember 2 tell me how nice my hair looks; i have had it done’.

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