How Imitating Groucho Marx Gave Me Shapely Eyebrows

A childhood prank gone right

Source: Wikimedia Commons

At the age of eight, I put on a show to cheer up my brother Ben. He, being a rowdy six-year-old, had been sent to his bedroom for bad behavior.

I was in the back yard when I observed Ben peering glumly out of his bedroom window. His chubby cheeks were propped up in his hands. My immediate inclination was to make him laugh.

Climbing on top of the picnic table in my brother’s line of sight, I began to dance in the silly fashion of Groucho Marx from the film Horse Feathers. I stooped low, flapped my elbows, and waddled back and forth across the table.

Encouraged by my brother’s smile, I decided to take my performance up a notch. I pulled a blob of Hubba Bubba gum out of my mouth, tore it in two, and pressed the spittle-moistened pink goo onto each of my eyebrows. Then I waggled my brows up and down and continued the absurd dance.

The big payoff was seeing Ben laugh until his cheeks turned pink. My work was complete.

After the proverbial curtains closed, I found that the gum didn’t pop off as I’d expected. It had dried out and wasn’t as pliable. My mother had to employ tweezers to pull the stubborn substance off bit by bit. Despite her best efforts, the gum took hair with it just as waxing would do. The hair never grew back.

The irony of pulling a Groucho — who had exaggeratedly oversized brows — has saved me a lifetime of plucking my own as many women must do.