Saturday, October 15, 2011

Eyebrows In Afghanistan

From a page 1 article in the Wall Street Journal on 13 Oct:

Emerging amid the camouflage and crewcuts is the latest in combat chic: male soldiers with eyebrows professionally shaped into slender arches."I just wanted them to shape up my eyebrows," explains Private First Class Richard Guillemette, whose job is to call in artillery barrages from the front lines.


These threaded, plucked or shaved young soldiers are proving befuddling to an older generation of bushier warriors. Army regulations are silent on the subject of male eyebrows, except to say that one's hair must not reach so far south.

In 2007, however, the Marine Corps added a line to its grooming regulations stating that "excessive plucking or removal of eyebrows is not authorized, except for medical reasons." The Marines left open the question of what constitutes a pluck too far, though the Corps did make a half-hearted, circular attempt to define what would count as eccentric and faddish (bad), compared with conservative and inconspicuous (good).

This article just tickled me, though I can’t put my finger on exactly why.  Maybe it's seeing "the man" squirm a bit uncomfortably.  Or the juxtaposition of a harmless cosmetic procedure being done to, well, young men who in their day jobs are trained killers (not being judgmental here, just recognizing that the end product of the military is arguably death and destruction).  Or just the fact that this seems to be a classic case of gallows humor, where people in a potentially lethal situation turn to diversions, any diversions, just to keep their sanity.

Regardless, this trend could almost make me enlist, except I'm too old.


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