"The One With the Eyebrows. Oooh, those Eyebrows.... something funny about them. Glad he went last week."
I knew what the ladies in front of me in the checkout queue at the supermarket were talking about. They didn't need to say his name, I watch the show too and I knew who they meant. It was an unfortunate contestant on the X-Factor, a TV talent show where aspiring singers get voted off each week when the fickle public doesn't like them enough to ring in with a phone-vote. The singer with the apparently memorable eyebrows was last week's casualty.
I'm afraid I silently agreed with their verdict; I didn't like the eyebrows either. They were quite disconcerting as they moved up and down on his forehead, in time with his singing (which I wasn't keen on either). Who would have thought a couple of hairy facial bits could affect total strangers so much? Poor man, though I suspect it wasn't just the eyebrows that lost him votes...
Idly looking for an illustration (as you do with blogs) I was a bit surprised to find so much stuff about eyebrows, including various books. Several enticing snippets from one author, including how "fashionable women of the early 1700s wore false eyebrows cut from mouse hides to make themselves look perpetually surprised", and the supposed parallels between the fashions, politics and ideology of various decades. The eyebrow varies in different eras - apparently "more perky and defined in the '50s, wild and wayward in the early '70s, powerful and statement-oriented in the '80s." There is also a section on "understanding the allure and hidden messages behind the male eyebrow". All sounds very curious, and I'm mildly surprised that people find enough material to fill books on the subject.
Small though they may be, eyebrows obviously do matter.
* Image is from a website selling false, synthetic eyebrows to people who want them, to replace or augment natural eyebrows lost through ageing, illness or medication.