Thursday, January 17, 2008


There is no one who sports a unibrow more prominently than Frida Kahlo. Her paintings are currently on exhibit at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and it’s a good show, although it was very crowded last Sunday afternoon. The $10 admission fee allows non-members to view 46 paintings, primarily self-portraits, and 90 photographs from her personal albums. There is an additional charge for the audio tour, but I didn’t need it. Thursday nights are free between 5-9 and draw huge crowds, last week 2,000 people.

The exhibit closes In Minneapolis on Sunday, January 20, and then moves on to Philadelphia. It is a better collection of Kahlo’s work than what I saw at museums in Mexico ten years ago, but it is missing one thing. The Dolores Olmeda Museum outside Mexico City actually has live Mexican hairless dogs on site. The rare xoloitzcuintlis dogs, pronounced something like “show low eats queen tlees,” are usually called xolos. They are featured in Kahlo’s work along with parrots and monkeys. The xolos I saw in Mexico were yappy and interesting-looking, but it would be a stretch to say they were cute.

Getting back to the unibrow, Frida may be the poster child, but she’s not the only person to have one. I remember when Brooke Shields had eyebrows that were well on their way to meeting above her nose. In a controversial topless photograph by Francesco Scavullo, the pre-pubescent Brooke’s eyebrows were badly in need of a tweezers, but her mother refused to let anyone touch them.

On a recent “Traffic and Trivia” bit on K102 radio, Kirsten Klein reported that the body part that gives women the most trouble is their eyebrows. That’s news to me. I pretty much ignore mine. Once, in high school, I tweezed them to pencil thin lines and got teased by my friends. After that, I let them grow back and left them alone. That’s apparently what Frida did, too, but her result is a bit more extreme than mine.

As for the word unibrow, according to People Magazine, the Oxford English Dictionary now includes it: unibrow (noun) A pair of eyebrows that meet above the nose, giving the appearance of a single eyebrow. The Oxford English added 2,500 new words and phrases last year including:

Omigod (interjection) Expression of astonishment or shock, pain or anger: Oh my God!

*Crapola (noun) Material of poor quality, rubbish; nonsense

*Bogus (noun and adjective) Very displeasing or inferior, bad

*Smoosh (verb transitive) Squash, crush or flatten

Fricking (adjective and adverb) Expressing amazement, anger, exasperation, etc.

Nyah (interjection) Expressing a feeling of superiority or contempt

Buzzkill (noun) A person or thing which dampens enthusiasm or enjoyment

*These words are already in the Scrabble dictionary.

Omigod, Frida must have had one crapola eyebrow wax to get that fricking unibrow look. Nyah, I don’t mean to be a buzzkill, but her stylist should have her tweezers smooshed and a great big “BOGUS” stamped across her license.


rpfish said...

You can only be blase about eyebrows if they aren't dark. George Carlin has a bit about eyebrows. He says as long as a woman has 2 of them, don't worry about it. I'm not very vain, but I do keep my dark eyebrows plucked. The only thing worse than a unibrow is unruly eyebrows like Andy Rooney's.

pete said...

Frida had a unibrow AND a slight mustache (which she obviously exaggerated in her self-portraits). But nevermind that, Frida's paintings are so soulful and beautiful. I loved the exhibit, although it was REALLY crowded when we went there. If you haven't seen the movie FRIDA (with - and by - Salma Hayek), I recommend it. Directed by Julie Taymor (The Lion King).