My Glabella is Showing!

And I’m not loving what I see.

by Tana Suter • Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

"Have You Seen Your Glabella?" The super-sized question jumped at me from the newspaper ad for a medical spa.  I’m not sure, I thought to myself. Am I the only one that should see it or can I display it in public without getting arrested?  That’s when my eye caught the 8-point font text buried beneath: "The glabella is the space between your eyebrows."

Okay, is it just me or is this word begging to be toyed with? I immediately Googled "glabella" and Wikipedia offered a more complete definition: "The glabella is the space between the eyebrows and above the nose. It is slightly elevated, and joins the two supercilliary ridges."  But the third statement was the kicker: "The term is derived from the Latin ‘glabellus,’ meaning smooth, as this area is usually hairless." Where was the rest of the sentence “...and unwrinkled?” I’d bet a Botox injection that section was edited out by a maturing woman bedeviled by ever-deepening furrows standing at attention across her glabella!

I consider myself well-read with a copious collection of cool words in my personal lexicon. So how is it that I’ve gone 57 years without knowing what my glabella is?  Worse, why do I even care?  I care – we all care – because glabellas – along with their evil siblings, the ever-deepening vertical creases that align themselves across our top lips (and for which I have not yet discovered a weirdly-scientific-sounding term) – possess amazing powers to stalk us.

But stalking isn’t the end of it. Oh, no. They continue to pursue us long after we’ve admitted that our ability to manage the behavior of our faces is decreasing with every passing year. Today, for example, I’m able to coerce my glabella to flatten considerably if I arch my eyebrows up and out just…enough…but before I get that look on my face like the time I forgot my husband’s name when I was introducing him to my company CEO (I know…and by that time we’d been married 10 years) or the business trip when I awoke in the middle of the night to find myself opening the hotel room door to the hallway – buck naked. Thank goodness for security chains. 

Another alternative, constant smiling – the only dependable remedy I’ve come up with for the upper lip problem – not only certifies to the world that I have the mental capacity of a Fruit Loop but, when coupled with the eyebrow raising, requires an annoying degree of muscle coordination and physical stamina.  If we follow this trend to its logical conclusion, I’ll be so wrung out from facial calisthenics by the time I’m 70, I won’t have the strength to feed myself.

Have you ever successfully combined the smiling and eyebrow maneuver with conversation that required you to listen and come up with cogent responses? I didn’t think so.  

For all these reasons the question in the local newspaper provokes an impassioned yet logical response: “Yes, dammit! I’ve seen my glabella and it aggravates me – daily.”  

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