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May 30, 2009

Washington D.C. Man Grows World Record Eyebrow Hair — 6-3/8 Inches Long


Soon you'lll be able to look it up in The Guinness Book of World Records — assuming the achievement — pictured above and measured last Tuesday, May 26, 2009 — holds up under the gimlet-eyed scrutiny of the Guinness gatekeepers.

Long story short: For four years, it's been Brian Peterkin-Vertanesian's dream to grow the longest eyebrow hair in the world. Three years ago he thought the record was within his grasp but in what has come to be known as "the tragic pool accident," the hair that carried his hopes snapped — and in a flash, the dream was gone.

He persevered, starting from scratch with a new hair and adding a trainer to his support team, and it would appear he has succeeded, growing where no man (or woman) has grown before.

Here's John Kelly's entertaining column from the May 28, 2009 Washington Post with an eyewitness account of the big event.


Plucky D.C. Man Hopes He Grew a World Record for Longest Eyebrow Hair

It was tense in Brian Peterkin-Vertanesian's Mount Pleasant living room Tuesday night. He had come so far and was so close. But he had known heartache in the past, and to rush things now could spell disaster.

For four years, it has been Brian's dream to grow the world's longest eyebrow hair.

As Brian's friend and trainer Peter Mondale looked on, along with independent observers D.C. Council member Jim Graham and myself, Dzovig Vertanesian, Brian's wife, used a pair of tweezers to spread a long, red eyebrow hair alongside a metal ruler sitting atop a wooden stool. Brian was kneeling, his forehead pressed against the stool, his hands clenched tightly around its legs.

"He's been so nervous," Dzovig had said earlier.

It was Peter who had first heard about the record. A man named Frank Ames entered the Guinness record books in 2004 with his three-inch eyebrow hair. Peter was not capable of such a feat -- his eyebrows are disappointingly normal -- but surely his friend and one-time roommate was.

"He's always been commenting on the bushiness of my eyebrows," Brian said.

Brian had normal eyebrows as a boy. They started to fill out in high school and exploded when he was in his 20s. Today, it looks as if two hamsters perch on his face. With his eyes on the record, and with Peter's unwavering support, Brian stopped trimming the crimson thatch.

Three years ago, Brian decided he was ready. The longest hair above his left eye measured 4.25 inches, a length certified by Graham. The proper paperwork was submitted to Guinness. (The nine subsections in Guinness's "Longest Individual Strand of Hair" category are: arm, armpit, back, chest, eyelid or eyelash, leg, nipple, nose and, of course, eyebrow.)

Everyone thought the eyebrow record was Brian's. But in the interim, a man in China had grown an eyebrow hair to an amazing 5.25 inches. Brian was crestfallen.

Lesser men might have given up. But Brian persevered. He continued to nurture his eyebrow hair. And then came what has come to be known as "the tragic pool accident."

No one is sure whether Brian caught his eyebrow hair in his goggles while at a pool party or whether chemicals in the water caused it to break off. Whatever the reason, the hair that so many people had pinned their hopes on was gone. If that wasn't bad enough, a Japanese woman, Toshie Kawakami, had grown an eyebrow hair that measured 5.53 inches in 2007.

"I said, 'Oh, God, I'm never gonna be able to do that,' " Brian said.

He decided to change tactics. For the first time in years, Brian -- who is 47 and a conference and training manager for a D.C. nonprofit agency -- trimmed his eyebrows, hoping the hair would grow back stronger, longer. It worked.

Which brings us to Tuesday night. All of Brian's eyebrow hairs are long, but one is especially long, a hair above his left eye that he calls Wally. That's how he pronounces WLEH, or World's Longest Eyebrow Hair. He figured this impressive hair was in the neighborhood of six inches. It was long enough for him to chew on it, although he normally kept it tucked behind his left ear for safety.

Following Guinness's rules, Brian dunked his forehead in a bowl of water. His wife drew the hair across a white piece of paper, holding it with her finger against the ruler. She gingerly brought a pair of tweezers together at the end of the hair.

"I know it's hard, but you need to hold it more parallel to the ruler," Peter said.

"I'm afraid if I pull it too hard it'll break," Dzovig said.

She stretched the hair several times to nearly its full length, only to have it slip free and sproing back into a coil. With trembling fingers, she grabbed it again and tweezed it into place.

We held our breath as Peter read the length: 6 3/8 inches. A new world record.

What did he feel?

"Relief is certainly the first thing. Now something can happen to the hair, and I won't worry."

"He's been so nervous," Dzovig said. When Brian went to sleep at night, he feared that the simple act of dragging his face across the pillow might dislodge the hair.

But that is all in the past now. Brian will send documentation to Guinness in London and await certification.

"This is history, and we were part of it," Graham said before heading to his next appointment.


It doesn't appear that the official measurement session was recorded on live video.

Too bad: this would've generated a zillion YouTube views instanter.

I wonder if there's a world record for longest nose hair... ewwww, that's disgusting — who asked that?

May 30, 2009 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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Go to Google, search: "brezhnev eyebrows" LOL... 2nd place!

Posted by: Joe Peach | May 30, 2009 5:12:08 PM

What is it with eyebrow hairs, anyway? I thought they were supposed to know when to stop growing, like eyelashes. Has anybody ever really grown like a five inch eyelash? And NIPPLE hair??? Eeewwww!! I had an uncle who had those old-man-bird's-nest eyebrows and he always said that whenever he went bald he was going to grown them out and brush 'em back over his head so it would still be covered with hair, at least. Which could have put him in the record book for World's Lowest Forehead, I reckon. But really, why do some people's eyebrow hairs go crazy? When I was in my 20's I had killer Joan Crawford eyebrows but now they're all puny. Hunh.

Oh the lengths I will go to (haha) to avoid mowing the grass and chopping back kudzu vines... Hey, I wonder if they ever measure intangibles, like World's Biggest Hissy Fit, or World's Longest Pout (or sulk); World's Most Unfair -- While Not Being Actually Abusive or Cruel or Insane -- Parent; etc. Oh yeah, World's Most Intense Guilt Trip (Self-Inflicted Category) While Avoiding Mowing Back Yard. And on an unrelated note, I was listening to the Chicago Opera do Madame Butterfly (well, they didn't "do" her, they performed her, or rather, it) and isn't it really shameless how various Broadway musicals have flagrantly ripped off Puccini? I remember Rowan Atkinson saying something about "Andrew Lloyd-Webber's latest re-arrangement of Puccini's greatest hits". It's true, I swear. Okay I can't think of anything else and nobody's reading this anyhow on a Saturday afternoon, anyway. Hope not.

Posted by: Flautist | May 30, 2009 3:00:32 PM

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