At a time when we’re all still reeling from the horror of Kim Novak’s face, it’s popular to rail against the evils of plastic surgery. So it may be somewhat surprising that I’m here to tell another tale: Why I jumped on the Botox bandwagon and why you should, too.
Yes, I live in Hollywood and work in Beverly Hills, but I swear it was a childhood friend from Ohio who first got me hooked on the needle. Two years ago, Zoe and I were having one of those would-you-ever girl talks over mimosas when the subject of plastic surgery came up. “I have friends who’ve starting doing it,” she said without a hint of mockery or shame.
At the time, it had been a few months since I hit the proverbial wall — you know the one where you know you’ve passed your peak in the attractiveness department and all you can do now is hope the slide isn’t too fast or too far? My bathroom mirror had frequently become the bearer of bad news. Not long after it told me my hair was graying, it delivered an even more unfortunate message: You have a bad case of “the 11s” — those double lines that appear between your eyebrows when you frown — except mine were there perpetually, making me look simultaneously very angry and very old. All the time.
Once the 11s showed up, I began obsessing over them, and became convinced that it was deepening by the day. So when my friend Zoe mentioned that her friends had started getting work done, I didn’t say much, but it definitely got me thinking. Zoe’s friends, she said, were all as nonchalant about it as they were about getting a mani-pedi. Zoe also confessed that she was sure it was just a matter of time before she would take the plunge.
Not long after, I decided to go for a consultation. My immediate surroundings may have had nothing to do with my initial impulse to try Botox, in fact, it was probably the opposite: There were turn-offs at every turn — duck lips, mannequin cheeks and overly inflated breasts — at the Whole Foods where I shop in Beverly Hills. But being in such close proximity to so many of the top doctors in the country definitely made it easy to go through with it.
To be honest, it was also fairly easy for me to get past the plastic surgery stigma. I think half the things we all do for the sake of vanity — and without judgment — are barbaric. We pluck hairs out of our skin. We coat our hair with chemicals to go blonde. We spread hot wax on our genitals to rip the hair out, for god's sake. Besides, I don’t consider my 11s a result art of the natural aging process. I got this way through the very unnatural act of squinting at a computer at my job nine hours a day.
Once I got on the Botox bandwagon, I realized right away I’d probably never get off. The three things that surprised me most:
1. It’s not expensive. I pay $340 for three injections, which last several months.
2. It doesn’t erase your expression. A few injections in a small area don’t freeze your face. In fact, it’s utterly unnoticeable. Unless you studied a before and after picture, you’d never guess that a few times a year I spend my lunch hour at the plastic surgeon’s office.
3. It’s not addictive. Being perfectly happy with my diminished 11s doesn’t entice me to do more and more and more.
The Kim Novaks of the world make sure of that.