There we were, mooching through Meadowhall of a Saturday afternoon, and as I live and breathe, Groucho Marx was striding towards us.
Ah... No. But an easy mistake. It was a teenage girl, seriously over-working the statement eyebrow trend.
I had to restrain Bloke from rushing up to her and saying: “I never forget a face, but in your case I’ll be glad to make an exception.” Firstly, she wouldn’t have known the quote or the name of one of the great comic geniuses of all time. Secondly, she didn’t have a moustache to match. And thirdly, it would only have upset her.
She quite obviously thought she looked lovely with those two huge, black marker pen-style exclamation marks across her forehead.
She most certainly didn’t. Apart from looking like a spit for Groucho, she looked extremely surprised and utterly ridiculous. As did a whole host of other girls we spotted, peering out from under eyebrows which looked like they’d been swiped on with their grannies’ bingo dabbers before they got on the tram.
Eyebrows are suddenly the height of fashion, a fact which may strike you as strange, seeing as eyebrows are a staple facial feature; a pair of furry little dividers whose main purpose in life is to catch the sweat that falls from a perspiring brow and stop it from falling saltily into the eyes. And to go up and down and inward as an outward reflection of your inward mood. Unless you’ve had a bad botox job, that is, in which case your eyebrows won’t be able to register shock, or displeasure, puzzlement or fury. You’ll simply look like a rabbit frozen in the glare of car headlights moments before it is mown down.
The trend for big, fat and very black brows, cartoon brows if you will, was started on the fashion week catwalks. Designers clearly having a laugh at their models’ expense sent them out there sporting hand-drawn kohl caterpillars. And incredibly, it’s gone and caught on.
All the magazines are full of big brow tips. Sales of eye pencils must be going through the roof.
On the face of it, the trend sounds like a God-send for any 50-something who has had to live without eyebrows since she followed another eyebrow trend and plucked them to within a millimetre of their lives when she was a slip of a thing. And all because Jackie magazine had decreed the in-thing was brows as fine as pencil lines.
Some of my contemporaries back in the day weren’t content to tweezer away on a daily basis; they shaved their brows off entirely and drew wonky arcs on their foreheads.
It was only a year or so later, when the Dietrich look fell and the bushy, Mariel and Margaux Hemingway brow rose, that most over-zealous pluckers discovered they couldn’t follow suit. They tried to grow them just like Cosmopolitan was telling them to, but to no avail; their brows had gone on strike. They realised they were forever doomed to use their Crayola colouring-in skills to sketch back a passable attempt at what nature had originally given them.
For the shaves, it was a different story; their hairs did grow back, but they stuck out at incredibly jaunty angles a bit like Dennis Healey’s.
But a God-send this latest beauty craze isn’t for anyone with dodgy eyebrow history. On no account think that it’s perfectly OK for a middle-aged woman to join the Groucho club.
Apply the maxim you should use for virtually every fashion fad and fancy; it looks stupid on someone who is a third your age, you haven’t a cat in hell’s.