Beauty comes from within. But when you’re quite happily watching Insidious (try it – it’s quite good) and it’s driving you mad trying to remember what Barbara Hershey is most well-known for (Beaches, it turns out), so you Google it and the first thing that pops up on images is yet another goddam before/after “oh-my-god-aren’t-older-women-hideously-ugly-how-dare-they-age-why-don’t-they-just-kill-themselves-at-30?” picture of her, well…it sucks a bit. This is no excuse for the confession I am about to make, but it does provide some sort of insight into why people do things like this…
OK, full disclosure because I don’t think anything’s going to cut it outside of “I am an incredibly vain and insecure hypocrite.” So here goes. I have just been Botoxed. I can’t believe what I have done to myself. This is full-on mid-life crisis stuff, right? It’s as though I no longer have any control over these things. Apart from anything else…I’m broke! I can’t afford Botox! More importantly (though this isn’t how my Barclaycard balance will see it) I can’t afford it morally. I mean, hello? Animal testing? Plus quite simply…OH MY GOD YOU’VE JUST FILLED YOUR FACE WITH BOTULISM YOU DAFT COW! I don’t know what’s come over me. Next week I fully expect to be writing about my bare-naked-lady sleeve tattoo. Actually, simply writing that down has made me go “Hmm…why shouldn’t I?”
Walking into the clinic, I felt scared. But more than that, I felt like a hypocrite and an amoral deceiver. Thing is, once you get in there, the staff are lovely, kind, sweet people. So this whole process feels completely normalised. I didn’t tell anyone I was going to do this…it was like me and Botox having our own little affair. As long as no one knew, no one could get hurt, right?
“Is this the first time you’ve ever had any kind of procedure like this?” asks the doctor. “Yes” I reply, actually slightly embarrassed! He stops and looks back at me from his computer where he’s fastidiously noting down everything I say in case I have a horrible reaction to the poison I’m consenting to have injected directly into my face and drop down dead, presumably. He smiles (almost sympathetically, it feels). Seriously, someone needs to put me out of my mid-life misery.
I lie on the Couch of Truth, the awkward silence palpable. The couch is stage whispering. “She doesn’t want to grow old. She’s not ready. She hasn’t DONE anything.” I’m desperate for something to say. The silence is metaphorically killing me whilst the doctor fills the syringes with a solution that literally just might. “Am I the average age for people to start coming to see you?” I ask. “Oh yes”, he replies. I’m afraid you’re fitting the demographic perfectly.” Oh no. So I’m not even doing anything particularly exciting or daring. Is everyone doing this and we just don’t tell one another? I ask if people come here much younger than me then. “Oh yes. They start walking in as soon as they turn eighteen,” he tells me. “Why?” I ask, incredulously. “Because they know it exists. I turn them away…although it can be good as a preventative measure…”
Wow. If I could be eighteen again, I wouldn’t prevent anything. I’d have all of it. Everything life wanted to offer me. But not the face full of poison.
The silence returns. In hindsight, it was probably quite important to allow the doctor to concentrate at this point – he was measuring toxins into syringes – but I need to make myself heard over the couch’s whispers of derision, so I nervously waffle on. “Do you offer this service to people who (I exaggeratedly mouth the next two words, Miranda Hart style) excessively sweat?” He responds very, very seriously, “Oh yes. I’ve been having that myself for the past ten years or so. It changed my life.” Brilliant. I’ve very possibly just offended the man holding ten needles full of botulism that he’s about to push into my actual face.
The procedure itself was quite the anti-climax. It was a rather relaxing five minutes of “frown, now relax, sharp scratch” and then it was over. I’ve had worse sex.
I’m getting older and I don’t want to. Age is just a number, is it? It’s a number, granted, but there’s no “just” about it – especially when you’re a woman. Last month, a 65 year old German woman gave birth after undergoing IVF. The international cries of “WHAAAAT?” were almost as audible as the sighs of “Aaaah” as Rod Stewart, Michael Douglas, Paul McCartney, Bruce Willis et al continue producing their offspring at a similar age. Our double standards are staggering.
A few weeks on and when I frown, the lines at the top of my nose don’t crinkle and the lines across my forehead don’t wrinkle. When I laugh, the lines around my eyes aren’t there any more. I suppose it’s a little bit sad that in a desperate battle with time’s winged chariot, my eyes have stopped smiling.
Moral of the story? Do as I say, not as I do. Anyway I must dash, I’ve got this appointment at the tattoo parlour…
An online magazine that cares about stuff, laughs about stuff, and wants you to feel good about stuff. Life's too short.