Originally published in the AJN
The other day I spoke to an old friend of mine, a plastic surgeon I have known since childhood (when he wasn’t a plastic surgeon yet....er....obviously....).
We speak every few years and it was great to catch up. We talked about work, our kids, our spouses, and our lives, his in Melbourne, mine in Sydney. And all was fine. Until he said it.
The B word.
No, not ‘bum’ (although he did say ‘anus’ when discussing a particular surgical procedure, and no, I’m not going to reiterate that particular conversation).
It was Botox.
My friend injects a lot of Botox into a lot of people, as, one assumes, many plastic surgeons do. I had asked him about it, just to, you know, be polite, and... well.... to find who he’d injected it into (which, totally unreasonably, he refused to disclose).
I expressed my disinterest in having Botox myself. I was, I explained, perfectly content with my appearance, and very comfortable with the aging process. My friend smiled knowingly (or at least, he sounded like he was smiling knowingly; I couldn’t actually see him over the phone) and told me to call him when I changed my mind.
I rolled my eyes (he couldn’t see me, but I did) and said I wouldn’t change my mind. And I meant it. Until I hung up the phone.
Inexplicably, I found myself heading to the bathroom, and examining myself in the mirror. And it was not good. Though ten minutes earlier I had felt quite good about myself, suddenly I could see that I desperately needed work. Botox between the brows. Botox around the mouth. Botox around the eyes. Botox wherever Botox could go.
And not just Botox. Oh no. I needed a full surgical overhaul. Eye lift. Neck lift. Full facial rejuvenation (whatever that actually means). Get my sticky-out left ear finally pinned back. And hey, that’s just what I needed above the neck.
Now, my friend didn’t actually tell me I needed Botox. After all, we haven’t met in person for close to 11 years, so he really has no idea how (fabulously well, or is it hideously poorly?) I’ve aged. But that wasn’t the point. It was the option that had suddenly been presented to me, a tantalising opportunity to change what I had always accepted about myself.
Suddenly, I found myself examining the faces of strangers in the street, checking them for telltale signs of Botoxian Enhancement (which, if you’re interested, consist of ‘having fewer wrinkles than me’). Some of them clearly did (although the ones in school uniforms very possibly could have been teenagers). And it all seemed so unfair. Because now, it didn’t matter if I looked brilliant for my age. All I could aim for was to look brilliant for my age ‘for someone who hasn’t had Botox’. Well great. So that’s why I’ve been slathering sunscreen on all these years.
Still, I’m staying resolute in my decision. It’s not that I think I won’t like Botox. Quite the opposite. I’m frightened of the slippery slope: that it’ll be Botox one day, breast enlargement and cheek implants the next, and before you know it I’ll be starring on Real Housewives of Dover Heights.
And besides, I still look really good for my age.
You wouldn’t believe I’m 65, right?
Would you do Botox? Do you do Botox?