Distressed leather 

Old Man

I have a distressed leather brow and I’m not quite sure what to do about it. I’ve always had a touch of it, coupled with lovely dark circles under my eyes. A skin too sallow to give off a glow. But glower I did, and do, quite well. In my youth I used to glower at the occasional wolf-whistler. It was an affront, naturally. In my twenties I used to glower at the whistlers as well as the staff in the off-licences and bars who always asked for my I.D. 

‘Ah you’ll be glad of it someday’ they’d say cheerfully, ‘looking younger than your years’. In my early thirties I used to glower at the wolf-whistler who decided not to whistle but to call out instead: ‘Don’t worry about it. It might never happen’. The cheek of him. How the hell does he know what I’m thinking about? Now that I no longer have to contend with anyone shouting or whistling or with-holding alcohol, I’m glowering all the more. Particularly, it seems, when I take my lenses out.

‘What?’ he says often. Followed by 

‘What have I done?’

‘What the hell are you talking about?’ I say, reasonably, ish.

‘You’re looking furiously at me, what have I done, now?’

Oh dear. 

‘I just can’t see you, is all’ I say squinting at the blur in the corner. I can’t tell what his reaction is. If only I could find my glasses when I whip my lenses out. Things might just run a lot more smoothly. Then again, it’s really his fault. He has taken to sketching people recently and he’s frighteningly good at it. But with it comes a realisation, worse than the one that happens when your phone camera is switched to selfie mode.

‘It’s easier to sketch older people’ he says one evening which otherwise is set to be perfectly pleasant. He produces a photograph of me and poises his pencil.

‘All the lines, gives you more to work with, you see’. See I do. I hand him an eraser and glower at him expertly until he makes me look 19 again. 

I will not chop a fringe onto the distressed leather, having not a hope of being able to maintain it. My locks get some sort of attention about every four months. A fringe would be too demanding for me. I’ve heard of tricks committed fringe wearers use. Tricks with nail scissors that somehow feather and tether it. I don’t fancy my chances there either. That could be one holy mess. 

I don’t want to look furious and worried all the time, especially when, for at least part of the day, I’m actually quite serene. It really is a curse. Apart from when I really am cross about something. Then it’s a godsend. One daggers look from me can send the kids scurrying to tidy their rooms. If I have a complaint to be dealt with at a customer services desk I tend to be taken rather seriously. I’d be a bit of a chicken when it comes to the obvious next step. Injecting my disloyal brow with toxins doesn’t seem right somehow. Slitting it and stitching it further up my skull is never going to happen. 

I’d like to think it’s a writerly thing. All that pursing with the creative juices blocked. But I’m sure some actual research would show that a writer’s brow is no more distressed than anyone else’s. Perhaps they’re just not trying hard enough. 

A distressed leather couch is all the rage. Maybe, somehow, someday the same will be in vogue for our ravaged brows. 

Ellen

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