Oh, to be able to raise one eyebrow!
My best friend can do it. My daughter can do it. Steven Colbert can do it with both eyebrows in faster succession than even my daughter can.
I dream of situations where someone says something absurd and me not having to debate at light speed a) whether I can restrain myself enough not to respond; a1) whether I am duty-bound to respond, even if I don’t want to; b) whether or not I can use the word ‘bull shit’ with this person; c) whether I care if this person will like me in the future; d) how I can voice my skepticism, but in a light and non-threatening way; e) whether I will stick with a skeptical ‘hmm’ and hope the person will e1) recognize it as my skeptical ‘hmm’ and not mistake it for my agreeing ‘hmm’ or e2) whether I should give my non-committal ‘hmm’ and let the silly person decide for him or herself whether to interpret it as agreeing, skeptical or haughty.
I imagine just being able to lift one eyebrow instead. That’s all. No words. No threat. No great decisions regarding potential future friendships. No bad language hazards.
Just. One. Eyebrow.
But I can’t. I try regularly, hoping against hope that some day I’ll just get it. But no; the more I try to raise one eyebrow, the more ridiculous my mouth looks. Nothing else ever changes.
It would be such a great parenting tool. You suspect your child of telling you a little white lie? Give her the eyebrow. Not having the eyebrow, I have to go to much greater lengths to keep my kids believing that I see right through them and that therefore there’s no point trying to deceive me.
I could have endless silent eyebrow conversations with my dog. Who knows what wonderful insights that would provide:
Want to go for a walk?
I don’t know–do you?
Don’t you think we should?
What–you don’t like the smell of pee in the carpet?
Sarcasm from a dog? Really?
Raising one eyebrow makes anyone look instantly smart. Like glasses. At least I have those. Looking over the rims while raising both eyebrows comes closest to raising one eyebrow in effect. The difference is that glasses make one look smart and old instead of just smart.
So, can you raise one eyebrow? Do you use that skill to effect? If so, I’m already jealous, so you might as well give me your best example.
And finally: is there any hope for me? Does anyone out there know how to train eyebrows? Is there any such thing as a course in independent thinking for eyebrows? Any eyebrow whisperers out there?
I really want to know.