A sure cure for eyelash inadequacy

You’ve tucked your tummy, lifted your face. Now for those hideous, malformed lashes . . .

Brooke Shields is on your television screen. Part of her is, anyway. Her eyeballs are on your television in extreme close-up. Look everyone, Brooke’s huge eyeballs want to sell you something—a new prescription drug called Latisse. Hmm, better turn up the volume because surely this drug is designed to treat a serious medical condition like high blood pressure or eye disease or . . .

“Grow Lashes! Grow Longer. And Fuller. And Darker Lashes!”

. . . or the tiny hairs on the edge of your eyelid possibly being a few microns too short.

According to the commercial, Latisse is an actual drug manufactured by Allergen Inc. to treat “inadequate or not enough lashes,” a condition apparently known by the scientific term hypotrichosis and by the colloquial term bet you ladies didn’t know there was any part of your physical appearance left to feel anxious or depressed about but boy were you wrong ha ha.

I mean, sure, you’ve had a nose job and your breasts done. Your tummy is tucked, your face is lifted. Responding to the pressures of our superficial society, you have achieved physical perfection in every way and now it’s time to . . . whoa, hang on a minute . . . those eyelashes of yours. Sweet Jesus, you’re a monster!

Lucky for you (and Allergen shareholders), there’s Latisse. By forking out just $120 for two months you can have longer and fuller and darker lashes. And by forking out just $120 every two months for the rest of your life, you can keep those lashes, because otherwise they’ll “gradually return to their previous”—that is to say, hideously malformed—“appearance.”

Brooke Shields and her gigantic eyeballs don’t want that to happen. “Ask your doctor if Latisse is right for you,” Brooke urges. Then be sure to pause and give your doctor time to laugh heartily, wipe the tears from eyes and then awkwardly recover, saying, “Oh, you were serious. Ahem.”

Brooke’s ad has a little story in it. A little story always seems to unfold in drug ads. Sometimes it’s the story of a guy who survived a heart attack. Sometimes it’s the story of a woman whose bones were as fragile as Pringles. When an ad for Cialis comes on during a hockey game, the story that unfolds is one in which I come up with the 517th way of distracting my seven-year-old son from the television so Daddy won’t have to answer uncomfortable questions like “What’s erectile dysfunction?” and “Can I be like those people and have my bath outside in the middle of a cornfield?”

The story that unfolds in the Latisse commercial begins with Brooke arriving at an elegant birthday party. Then she sits on a couch, where she talks with a pretty man. Wow, now she’s dancing with the pretty man! To recap: Brooke has gone out in public, then conversed and danced with a man—none of which would have been possible without Latisse, except for all of it.

Although relatively new to market, Latisse is already generating feedback on the Internet. One woman asked whether it’s normal that a whole lot of her eyelashes have suddenly fallen out after she began taking Latisse. (Answer: nope!) Another lamented: “While I saw significant growth in length, thickness was not part of the deal. Lashes were very unruly, spikey [sic] and were going all over the place . . . Not to mention my eyes looking bloodshot all the time . . .”

To be fair, Brooke’s commercial does warn of two potential side effects: itchy eyes and eye redness. Only when you go to the Latisse website do you learn of the drug’s other charming powers, such as its ability to “cause eyelid skin darkening” and the “potential for increased brown iris pigmentation, which is likely to be permanent.” Latisse: it may permanently change the colour of your eyeballs but go ahead and use it because maybe it won’t!

And that’s not the only fine print. After detailing various laboratory tests done on mice—and really, what could be a more dignified end for a lab mouse than giving up its life so that humanity can combat the scourge of not-quite-thick-enough eyelashes?—the Latisse information sheet notes: “Because animal reproductive studies are not always predictive of human response, Latisse should be administered during pregnancy only if the potential benefit justifies the potential risk to the fetus.”

Miranda, sit down. It’s time we talked. You’re probably wondering about some of the things that make you different from other kids, such as the brown pigment in your eyes, and your third arm. Mommy loved being pregnant with you. But Mommy also loves having prostitute-grade eyelashes, so . . .

The birth of Latisse raises the question: what could possibly be left on a woman for drug companies to “cure”? Rest assured that when science finally overcomes the horror of chubby tonsils, knuckle wrinkles and the condition known as “having elbows,” Brooke Shields will be there to endorse the required drug therapies.

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