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'The first time I shaved my eyebrows was in fifth grade'

Edith Zimmerman on the mystery of the eyebrow—and why we have mirrors:

I can’t remember the first time I plucked my eyebrows, but the first time I shaved them was in fifth grade. My stepbrother had been making fun of my unibrow, which until then I hadn’t known I’d had. “Well, at least I have two eyebrows,” he said, ending whatever stupid fight we were having with a comment that was both confusing and clearly an insult, so I said something like, “Whatever, fuck you,” and ran off to the bathroom to check my face, on the unlikely chance that one of my eyebrows had literally fallen off, leaving a single strip over one eye. But looking in the mirror, I realized he meant that mine joined in the middle.

A few minutes later, I dragged my stepmother’s plastic razor down my forehead between my eyes (is there a name for that area?), slightly off-center.

PUBLISHED: Dec. 5, 2013
LENGTH: 8 minutes (2230 words)

Longreads Best of 2012: Edith Zimmerman

PUBLISHED: Dec. 6, 2012

99 Ways to Be Naughty in Kazakhstan

Cosmopolitan magazine is often spurned as "mindless," but it has also grown into 64 editions worldwide, and a readership of 100 million teens and young women in more than 100 nations—including those "where any discussion of sex is taboo":

"Akisheva, the editor in Kazakhstan, told me that until recently, she received a handwritten note from Brown after the publication of each issue. 'Our readers might not be very familiar with Helen Gurley Brown’s books and biography,' she said, 'but they surely are influenced by her original ideas. Because this is what Cosmo keeps telling them: You are strong, you can control your life, you can earn as much as men do and you can have sex before marriage and not be condemned by society.'

"But what about the other stuff that Cosmo is telling them? One morning at Cosmic, a panel discussion included talk of some favorite Cosmo topics: sex toys (said to produce 'the most incredible combinations of orgasms'), how to help men get erections more quickly and anal sex ('backdoor booty' as the magazine has called it). One panelist, a young Spanish woman, said that she teases her boyfriend with anal sex and then, jokingly, that she has to save something for marriage. The crowd roared. 'Only at Cosmo,' said the editor of Cosmo Australia, Bronwyn McCahon, between bites of miniature muffins and sliced melon, 'will you be talking about anal sex at 10 a.m.'"
PUBLISHED: Aug. 3, 2012
LENGTH: 15 minutes (3977 words)

Chris Evans: American Marvel

I sincerely wish I remembered this better. It definitely had a pool table, because at some point there was a "jump over the pool table" contest, not that I have any recollection of what that entailed. In the car, Chris is enjoying explaining to everyone that at some point I decided to crawl out a window and wander off into the night. "So then my buddy's like, 'I think your friend is having some trouble,' " Chris says, "and I look over, and there's Edith in the gutter!" (Not lying in the gutter. This I remember. Sitting on the curb, trying and failing to call a cab.)
PUBLISHED: June 14, 2011
LENGTH: 14 minutes (3665 words)