The Only Place in the World Where Women Covet Unibrows

Cristen Conger

When it comes to Western women and eyebrow shaping, it's generally not a question of "if" but "how." There's plucking, waxing, threading, sugaring, shaving (don't do it!), electrolysis, and probably even more hair removal methods that I haven't heard of before, that legions of women apply to that tiny strip of skin where our foreheads meet our noses in order to keep it hair-free. As I recount in the (hopefully hi-larious) video below, I've been battling a unibrow since I was a kid. I clearly remember the afternoon that I was summoned, at the bidding of a well-meaning older sister, to my mom's bathroom for my inaugural eyebrow wax. Welcome to womanhood, young Cristen!

Men aren't immune to unibrow woes, either. In 2011, The New York Times reported, "Not long ago men did little in this area beyond unibrow abatement, surreptitiously plucking to avoid looking like Bert on Sesame Street, but this is changing." Earlier this year, The Telegraph newspaper offered eyebrow grooming tips especially for guys, including "Stay away from creating arches, which are way too feminine."

For the unibrow-prone like myself, a trip to Tajikistan might offer a welcome opportunity to let our forehead caterpillars crawl as freely as they wish. For women especially, unibrows are considered a sign of beauty in the small central Asian nation. Referred to by the Global Post as "Land of the Unibrow," Tajikistan wholly embraces the unibrow look -- so much so, in fact, that Tajik women may rub an herb called usma onto their eyebrow region to give the illusion of having full, furry brows. "The result is a deep black unibrow, rich and expressive," the Global Post notes.

A unibrow may also signal marital status there, as indicated over at the blog Teach in Tajikistan. The author writes, "I have also learned that women here will leave their eyebrows unkempt and unplucked until marriage. After marriage, they will begin to tweeze them." So perhaps an appropriate Tajik bridal gift would be a top-of-the-line tweezing kit? Personally, I'd prefer a tube of usma paste and a karaoke machine to really rock out my unibrow.