Those who spend their time studying the body and human nature tell us that eyebrows are one of the most distinctive features of our appearance. No wonder so many women spend time plucking or penciling them. Others let them grow wild and take great pleasure in letting them extend in all directions. Since I cut my ponytail off years ago, I relish my eyebrows as a remaining outward sign of my inner rebel.

Scientists have a term for eyebrows: they are "superciliary patches." What do they do for us? Our eyebrows help keep moisture out of our eyes when we sweat or walk in the rain. You probably can recall some service your eyebrows have provided. I can think of many a time when they have kept both sweat and suntan lotion from getting in my eyes at the beach.

On another level, our eyebrows signal our ephemeral moods. Every time our emotions change, these body parts change: arched eyebrows convey greeting or pleasant surprise; lowered eyebrows are a reaction to real or imagined danger.

In the past, women's fashion dictated that eyebrows be shaped and plucked. Nowadays, models and actresses with thick and rich eyebrows are admired. The same is true for their male counterparts.

The eyebrows provide a fertile field for face readers. In morphology, a system of face reading, eyebrows signify strength and stamina. The more the better. This understanding gives me to many playful and entertaining moments. My bushy eyebrows indicate that I am a mentally active person who is always energized by new thoughts and projects. You can also depend on me to come up with new ideas. The tangled hairs of my eyebrows signal that I am an unconventional thinker with an ability to see all sides of an issue.

Every time I go the barber, he asks me whether or not I want my wild and unruly eyebrows trimmed. I tell him no and remember the line from Zorba the Greek: "A man needs a little madness, or else he never dares cut the rope and be free."

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