Somewhere in my late twenties, I decided I’d had enough of historical romance novels. The hero-man-lover was always the virile, manly-man, muscular type: I could almost smell the testosterone on the pages. Of course he also had an IQ of 150, owned a castle and ruled his fiefdom in a stern but kindly manner. As I read these novels, I would become aroused, excited and hopeful, only to crash headlong into reality when the book was finished. There are no men like that. Best to ditch the romantic novels and go for the classics – which for the most part- are depressing. After reading them, I could compare my life to those in the book and be greatful: After all, I wasn’t an orphan, I didn’t feel the need to throw myself under a train, or even worse, cut off my eyebrows.
In Tess of the d’Urbervilles, poor, ignorant Tess cut her eyebrows off with scissors to make herself unattractive to men. The first man who saw her after she did that exclaimed, “What a mommet of a maid!” (“Mommet”…we should start using that in our vocabulary again. It has a nice ring to it.”You mommet you!) After reading that, I was happy that I never had to cut off my eyebrows. Maybe Tess had “dark winged brows” like in the romance novels, instead of low, flat, pale Gweneth Paltrow eyebrows like me. Tess’s eyebrow disaster made me wonder about a few other browless people. What happened to Whoopi Goldberg’s eyebrows? Only her hairdresser knows for sure, if anyone does. Boy George’s eyebrows went missing when he was in jail, probably for the same reason Tess cut hers off. Then there is the mystery of Mona Lisa’s missing eyebrows.
A special photograph of da Vinci’s Mona Lisa recently revealed that she may have once had eyebrows. An extremely high definition camera was used, gone over pixel by pixel, and darn if they didn’t find what looked like the faint trace of one eyebrow hair. Maybe.
The proposed theory is that Mona Lisa once did have brows and eyelashes, but somehow–probably by cleaning the painting–the hairs became erased. Hmmm, I don’t think I buy that. Wouldn’t you think whoever cleaned the painting–probably some sixth century monk–realized part of an eyebrow went missing with the first swipe? Wouldn’t the monk have stopped and even cussed? “Oh @&^$@, her eyebrow!”…then maybe tried to draw it back on with a black Sharpie? But when the monk went scrambling for the Sharpie in a panic, and realized they weren’t invented yet, he said to himself, “Ah-ha! I’ll just wipe off all her facial hair, including her moustache, and nobody will ever notice!”
I say Mona Lisa’s missing eyebrows are forever a mystery. To me, a more important question is: Did Mona have a manly-man with an IQ of 150 who owned a castle?