Combat Grooming: It's All About the Brow...


One morning towards the tail-end of what I'm describing as the worst PCS move evah, I looked in the mirror with horror. The person staring back at me was almost unrecognizable. She had bags under her eyes, visible strands of grey streaking her black mane, Brooke Shields 80s-style eyebrows, dirty and broken fingernails and she could have been mistaken for Sasquatch.

But never, never did she think she might appear more unkempt than a solider on the battlefield in Afghanistan. Apparently she was wrong. Check out this story.

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.


Okay, upon further consideration, I definitely wouldn't want someone whose job it is to "call in artillery barrages from the front lines" to have out-of-control eyebrows lest the eyebrows get in the way of very important work. And I have to say, PFC Guillemette's brows do look fantastic!

Apparently it doesn't end at shaving, plucking or waxing. Eyebrow threading, anyone?

Sgt. Matthew Cordell, a 26-year-old cook from Mechanicsburg, Ohio, initially had his eyebrows threaded during a tour of Iraq a couple of years ago. Back then, he just wanted to beat back the unibrow. But he liked the more-distinct brows that threading produced, and he kept it up at malls or the base PX in Hawaii, 3rd Squadron's home station.

"I tell them, 'Don't make me look like a girl,'" reports Sgt. Cordell, who has a memorial rhyme to his father tattooed on one arm and his wife Sarah's name tattooed on the other.

Just what are the eyebrow standards for our troops?
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).

Well, there you have it! Show Full Article

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