50 Lashes


The title of this post may have misled you into thinking that it contains some ‘50 Shades’-esque, bondage-related eroticism. Oh, would that that were the case. (Sighs and shakes head sadly.)

In order for you to completely appreciate the distress elicited by experience I am about to share, you must first know this unflattering truth about me: I am vain. I am obsessed with my own eyes. They are an ever-changing shade of green and are the single feature about which I receive the most compliments, and to this end I can easily spend a careful hour at my bathroom mirror before a night out or a special occasion, carefully enhancing my peepers with all manner of shadows, highlighters, liners and false lashes. I don’t apply the same extensive degree of effort or time in my weekday before-work beauty ritual, but I still try to leave the house each day bright-eyed and mascaraed.

Our story begins on an ordinary Tuesday when I found myself with an extra five minutes to spare before dashing off to work. Rather than reaching straight for my mascara, I instead picked up the metal eyelash curler that had served me well since its purchase from a Japanese $2 Shop. Having curled and coated my right lashes I clamped the curved metal plates over my left eyelid, turning as I held the contraption shut to glance at the clock. As I turned back to the mirror, my forefinger fumbled its grip on the steel loop of the handle, causing the gadget to spring forward before striking me, hard, in the eyeball.

As I clutched my left eye and cursed loudly, wondering if I had been hit hard enough to cause any bruising, I noticed something odd. Something that caused a slow, cold panic to rise from my stomach and spread through my chest. Attached to the curved steel rim of the discarded curler on my dressing table was a perfect arc of eyelashes.

I stared in horror, gaping open-mouthed at the curler for a full ten seconds before raising my gaze to the reflection before me. One eye stared proudly back from within its intensely blackened frame; the other peered at me insipidly, the lid now reddened, inflamed, puffy.


I cried. Watery tears dribbled pitifully from my injured eye, stinging the freshly damaged follicles that had moments ago held the now lifeless hairs that still lay in a beautiful half-circle, clinging to the rim of my curler which I had knocked to the floor in my shock. I was suddenly possessed with an urge to save them, but my sigh of desperation as I bent my face close to the floor sent them scattered through my carpet, undetectable and utterly unrecoverable. I rose, defeated, to greet my disproportionate reflection once again, and as I watched my lashless eyelid puff up until it resembled that of some kind of pink foetus, I began to laugh.

I laughed at the trauma I felt over something so completely superficial while I continued to squeeze out tears of self-pity and embarrassment. I spent a good fifteen minutes in this laugh-cry cycle, deliberating on whether to hide my misfortune beneath a pair of false lashes or to leave my freshly plucked lid on full display and revel in the hilarious calamity that had befallen me that morning. I chose the latter.

It has been some months now since that fateful Tuesday morning, and although there has been a dramatic regrowth I am sad to say my left lid has not yet had its once lush covering wholly restored.

My beauty regime, however, is now a curler-free zone.


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