The Great Tweezer Adventure

A few months ago, I lost my tweezers. Now if I just used tweezers for first aid like pulling splinters out of my flesh, I would have continued on with life. Thankfully, many Korean women think full eyebrows are better, and I’ve often seen them drawing them on thicker. But alas, losing my tweezers meant losing control over my sporadic chin hairs. I searched my tiny apartment for awhile. After all, I knew I hadn’t taken them outside! They were there somewhere, which somehow made the situation even more desperate.
I went to the local emart prepared to buy tweezers, but totally unprepared for finding them. I began wandering around the toiletries area. Next to the razors? Toothbrushes? Lotion? What is the baby shampoo doing next to the family planning stuff? Ooohhh…
I tried not to make eye contact with any of the employees. I’d experienced aggressive saleswomen at this store before, and my mission to pull hairs out of places where some Asian men don’t even grow hair was something I didn’t really want help with. But as I was turning the corner from Shampoo to see what was on the other side, I ran smack into a smiling woman with the yellow and gray emart vest on. Her eye level was also my eye level, so naturally our gaze connected and I knew I was in trouble. She offered me help. And she never stopped smiling.
At first, I tried to think if I knew the Korean word for tweezers. I didn’t. And I stood there opening and closing my mouth like a fish as I explored the literary possibilities floating through my brain. Banishing the idea of using her native language, I began to act out what I needed to communicate to the saleswoman. Blessed with long arm hairs, I used them as an example. I took my first finger and thumb, and put them together to look like tweezers. Then I mimed pulling those blessings out of my arm. Her smiling face showed no recognition. So I moved to my chin. In my desperation to get my point across, my brain had thrown all possibilities of embarrassment out of the equation. The saleswoman’s smile was starting to slide off like a cartoon transition moment, and I began to panic. Since she was so nice and friendly I really didn’t want her to feel like she’d failed. And I didn’t want her to involve any more salesfriends to try to understand me. So I moved my tweezer hand to my eyebrows. Finally, a little light came on in the back of her eyes, and she began excitedly speaking words I wasn’t sure of, but assumed she was asking me if I was looking for tweezers? Yes, I said blindly, as I often do when I only understand a few words. She started off faster than any person my height should be able to walk, and I ran after her. I never would have found tweezers on my own since she led me to a countertop turntable at one of the specialized makeup counters. Definitely not my comfortable shopping area. But there they were, $4 tweezers. I snatched them from her hand, made a little head nod and said thank you, and headed for the checkout, even though I hadn’t yet visited the grocery department. I consoled myself with my empty fridge but forgave myself since I’d seen enough shopping stress already that day. A week later my old tweezers resurfaced exactly where they should have been all along.


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