How Can I Grow My Eyebrows Out Without Looking Like A Monster?

On fixing beauty mistakes, cutting out old friends, juggling your workload, and deciding where you and your very stubborn partner should live.

A photograph of the writer.

SCAACHI KOUL was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, BuzzFeed NewsThe HairpinThe Globe and Mail and J...

Still from "Suddenly, Last Summer"

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I’ve lived in Toronto’s west end for the last six years, amongst all the good-natured hippies and expensive coffee shops and trendy bars that pop up and then vanish before you’ve even had a chance to drunkenly cry in the basement bathroom stall. My boyfriend, however, lives on the east side, a mecca of yuppie parents and strollers and Greek restaurants and dark, undeveloped stretches of land where nothing grows because who even wants to go all the way to Woodbine station anyway.

I hate the east end. He hates the west. We would like to move in together.

Realistically, the only solution here is one person offering to kill him- or herself, thereby leaving the other with a nice life insurance policy allowing them to purchase a condo in the neighbourhood of their choosing. (Little does my stupid boyfriend know, I don’t even have life insurance, so he will be left with nothing except his job and his family and his entire life ahead of him.)

We decided we should live together last summer, and have been arguing about where to move ever since. “But I don’t want to live on the east side,” I tell him, choking back tears. “Everyone there is forty.”

“Well, I don’t want to live in the west end,” he counters. “There is man trying to kill women with a hacksaw.”

We are both correct, and therefore, no one wins.

So what do you do when you and your partner are trying to cohabitate, but you can’t even agree on the basics?

For one, we have decided to look at all apartments regardless of location so long as they meet a few requirements: a tub in the bathroom, reasonable rent, a patio or yard space (a place for him to barbeque), and a second bedroom (a place for me to, in his words, “hide [my] farts”). From there, we’ll pick the best place, wherever it may be.

Or at least, that’s what we’re saying. In reality, he’s only finding apartments in the area he likes, I’m only finding ones in the area I like, and we’re both pretending these are the only apartments available in the entire city. But this is all a learning process, a part of growing up and finding a way to compromise in order to build the life that you want, rather than settle for the one you have.

Then again, I could always just agree to move to the east end and then punish him for it until I find some other, more nefarious way of getting the upper hand. What are relationships if not just another way for you to crush the person you love most in this world?

I’m in my early twenties and am considering cutting off my good friend/pen-pal of seven years. I haven’t talked to him much since I moved, but I’m now getting a weird I-like-you-but-won’t-tell-you vibe coming from him. When we first started talking online, there was no immediate need to see each other—we had our own friends and lived in different parts of the city, but our friendship grew. But it’s really odd that we haven’t met for the seven years we’ve been friends. I used to suggest we meet and he’d get weird. I think he’s insecure about his image and life goals (which are things that were hard for him to say, and he’s recently mentioned he plans to work on them). I once had stronger feelings for him briefly, told him, and then he was weird about it, dismissive, and (I think) insecure about being with me. I've dated other guys since, some I've told him about. Recently, he’s been hinting that we would meet soon, and I feel like he's got this romantic idea in his head. It's too late, though. I just like him as a great friend. I’ve always deeply appreciated our friendship, but now his insecurities have turned me off. It’s the Internet’s curse: this all started after I became MSN-obsessed, upgrading to Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram and now SnapChat. I’m an Internet kid, and I can’t run away from people I’ve known

Am I horrible if I cut him off for good? What if I finally—because God can be cruel—do run into him after cutting him off?

— Internet-Zoned

When I was in the 7th Grade, I got Nexopia. It was a big deal. I had never had a personal email account, never mind a social media account that opened a portal to the rest of the Internet to me. My parents felt reassured that I wouldn’t be able to talk to strangers, but as you and I well know, you absolutely could.

That year I met Ryan.

Ryan was in the ninth grade, lived in another province, was pretttttty cute, and talked to me constantly. I was in love with him, or as in love as you can be with someone when you’re 13 and have no way of meeting the object of your affections. We told each other our secrets, comforted each other when things got bad, and knew that we could come home from school and talk on MSN.

I “met” Ryan 10 years ago, but we’ve never actually seen each other in person. We Skyped once, but his microphone was broken so I’ve never heard his voice. We’ve never talked on the phone. I’m not sure how tall he is. I’m pretty sure he’s a white male between the ages of 23 and 28. He told me recently that he’s applying to go to law school. It’s a staggering lack of information about someone to whom I’ve been so close for so long.

And do not, under any circumstance, tell him any of this using emoji. Be an adult.

And like you, we’ve veered in and out of our relationship. We are Facebook friends, but we don’t talk as much as we used to. We check in, but we’re not as close as we were when we were teenagers. It’s hard to be that close with anyone once you grow up.

So I asked him to give you some advice.

Since they're long-standing friends, and since she seems to care about him in at least that capacity, she shouldn't complete cut him off. It seems to me that would be unnecessary and something of a dick move. That being said, if she's concerned he harbors romantic aspirations and that's just not something that she sees as being realistic or interesting to her, she should probably at some diplomatic moment make it clear that they're friends but she's not interested in pursuing more than that.

See why I kept him around? He knows what he’s talking about. There were a lot of people that I knew on the Internet who I ending up cutting off, but not Ryan. Ryan was my best friend for a long time. We went through a lot together. And I’d feel bad if I left him in the lurch just because things were getting weirdies.

Don’t cut the poor boy off completely. There’s no point if he isn’t actively hounding you. You do, however, owe him an explanation for why you’re hesitant to meet. Tell him you’re getting the impression that he’s into you in a way you used to be into him when you were younger, but that you’ve outgrown it, and while you appreciate him as a friend, it stops there. Maybe he doesn’t like you as much as you think.

But look: you gave this guy a lot of your time, and he gave you a lot of his. The least you can do is give him another few minutes and tell him why you’re not so comfortable meeting up after all these years.

And do not, under any circumstance, tell him any of this using emoji. Be an adult.


Once upon a time when I was in junior high, some witch who was a little too wax-happy made my eyebrows look like hairy sperm, and now I want to change them. Is there any way to make the growing-in process look less like I don't know how to groom myself and more like I have this shit under control? Also, what do I do if they never grow in? Asking because you clearly have the eyebrow thing figured out.

— Eyebrow Woes

This is the best question I have ever received in the history of Unfuck Yourself, because it opens the door to me talking about the great parts of my face. My eyebrows are my crowning glory. I have spent years of my life working on my eyebrows. I have missed out on birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings in order to work on my eyebrows. Years ago, I recognized that adequate eyebrow care was work, an investment in my future. Have you seen my eyebrows? My eyebrows are perfect.

So yes, I have gotten the eyebrow thing figured out, and I have some bad news about the next stage in your eyebrow growth: it is going to be awkward.

I, too, had an overzealous face-waxer in my high school days, but unfortunately for me, it was my mother. She insisted that thin eyebrows were “in,” taking me to different beauty parlors so that a confused Indian woman could turn my once robust forehead hair into thin, crooked lines that looked like two frowny faces grimacing above my eyebrows. I mean, just look at them.

The only way to fix such a thing is to hide your tweezers and throw out your wax and stop fussing with them. For a long time. Your eyebrows will look crazy. Your whole face may even look crazy. People may not want to be seen with you for a few months. Buy an eyebrow brush and a decent eyebrow pencil and some eyebrow glue—which is just clear mascara that paints down your unruly caterpillars—while you allow them to regrow and make sense of the landscape. If they are very, very, very thin and you want to fill them out before they return naturally, go to your local Sephora and talk to a professional. DO NOT ASK YOUR GIRLFRIENDS TO DO THIS.

My eyebrows are my crowning glory. I have spent years of my life working on my eyebrows. I have missed out on birthdays, anniversaries, and weddings in order to work on my eyebrows.

Then, once they become so unmanageable that they must again be managed, go to a professional to get them waxed. (I personally hate the look of threading, but you do whatever feels right.) Get them to teach you how to tweeze. Do not fall into the habit of tweezing every day.

This will not be a fun process, but let me tell you from experience that it is always, always worth it.

Anyway. Let’s talk more about my eyebrows. What is the best word to describe them? Majestic? Angled? Meaningful? Please go through my entire Instagram account and like all the photos of my eyebrows and tell me in great detail how perfect they are. Feel free to add any other words you have about my hair and lashes and mouth and collarbone and ideal hip-to-waist-to-bust ratio. I am a perfect, radiant woman. If only I weren’t so shy.


I work for a couple of different professors in order to pay the bills while I'm in grad school, but lately it seems like I have no time for my own research because I'm so busy doing theirs. I don't mind the work, and they're both nice (it's not like I'm being verbally abused by either of them or anything). Since they're both relying on me AND paying me (money is great! Paying rent is great!), I always feel obliged to finish their work before I start on my own (it's easier to apologize to myself for not getting something done than to apologize to them, right?). The problem is that I'm starting to fall really behind on my own research and writing (some of which is for a class that one of my bosses teaches), and I'm getting stressed about my ability to finish everything properly. But I also need an income. What do I do? (Other than drop out of grad school and move back in with my parents, of course.)

— Can’t Say No

Why do people even go to grad school anymore?

This is the third grad school-related question I’ve gotten in the last three weeks, and I’m starting to wonder why any of you aspire to higher education. (I’m also wondering why you’re all asking me for help since not only did I not go to grad school but just barely finished my undergraduate degree.)

Alternatively, abandon grad school and see if someone will hire you to make jokes about how dumb you are for the entire world to see. Not that I know anything about that, either.

Part-time employment is necessary when you’re in the process of finding your dream job. It sounds like you found something relevant to your field and you’re making decent money. That is great! It is not great that you cannot do your own work, and I doubt that the professors for whom you are working would be pleased to hear that you’re shirking other responsibilities in order to manage their workload. (Unless these instructors are particularly Machiavellian. Does that happen often? I do not really understand what “grad school” actually is. I barely understand the term “Machiavellian.” Did I use it right? Probably should have gone to grad school.)

If you think your teachers would be sympathetic, ask if they can lighten your load. Maybe they can help you work around their deadlines. If that doesn’t work—or if it means you won’t make enough money to eat—then unfortunately, you need to find other work. Tell your teachers that while you appreciate the work and the opportunity, you can’t keep up on your course load and their tasks at the same time. Making all these great connections and doing all this work for people in your field will be fruitless if you can’t actually graduate because you’ve been too busy trying to stay afloat.

So: look for work at a coffee shop. Maybe tend bar a few nights a week. See if a bookstore needs part-time help or if your local high school needs a guidance councilor to help the student body suppress its overwhelming desire to abuse itself with drugs and alcohol. Hard as it might be to find sometimes, there is work out there that isn’t consistently soul-crushing and that will make you a few hundred bucks a week, while also giving you time to read and write and learn.

Alternatively, abandon grad school and see if someone will hire you to make jokes about how dumb you are for the entire world to see. Not that I know anything about that, either.

Unfuck Yourself appears every Thursday. Got a problem? Send it here.

A photograph of the writer.

SCAACHI KOUL was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, BuzzFeed NewsThe HairpinThe Globe and Mail and Jezebel. She is the author of One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter.