I don’t know about you, but if there’s one beef I’ve long had with the military, it’s that their eyebrows are an absolute unruly mess.
That’s why I’m so heartened to hear that threading is becoming more popular among the troops. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, some younger male soldiers have recently become prone to indulging in a shapelier brow courtesy of threading, or alternately, a simple shave or even a wax:
Emerging amid the camouflage and crewcuts is the latest in combat chic: male soldiers with eyebrows professionally shaped into slender arches…
Gulam Farooq, 21, camp barber at Forward Operating Base Joyce, near the Pakistan border, says Islam forbids eyebrow-shaping for Muslim men. But he happily performs the service, using a razor or a special threading technique, for an average of one or two U.S. soldiers a day.
This isn’t to say that the older men haven’t tried the trend, too: one 32-year-old solider apparently underwent about half of a threading procedure before stopping because it “hurt like hell.” (Oh really? Hair removal hurts? Oh wow, I’m so glad that’s been confirmed.)
Soldiers who groom their brows apparently do get teased, though, and I sort of feel like I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out the elephant in the room here, which is that they get teased because it’s typically women or gay men who groom their eyebrows, and — what a coincidence! — it’s also typically women and gay men who get harassed and have a hard time being accepted in the military. (Do you guys remember back in the day when gays weren’t even allowed to be out if they were in the Armed forces? So antiquated…)
Anyway, I don’t know; maybe having young men — young men whose colleagues go out of their way to describe to the WSJ as “straight guys” — do something that has historically been considered feminine means that gender norms are becoming more and more flexible. The Army is kind of like a beacon of outdated masculinity codes, so if they’re doing their eyebrows, hell, the next thing you know we’ll have a football player run onto the field in a dress.