Pick your poison

Old woman loves lifeI had my teeth cleaned yesterday and my dentist offered me Botox.

During the 15 minute battle to determine my dental insurance number I pointed to the laminated sign advertising smooth skinning poison and asked the woman behind the desk what she thought of the Botox. “It’s great, people say they have to wait four weeks at their dermatologist, but WE can often get them in the next day. White teeth and smooth skin makes any lady happy!”


Here in Denver woman can do things to their bodies that I have never considered. A billboard on Colorado Boulevard advertises some sort of laser treatment to shut down sweat glands. Isn’t there a purpose for sweating? I mean I do covet that slender woman’s airbrushed pits, but something about sealing off an entire physical function seems extreme to me.

At coffee the other morning one friend told another about a discount on Botox, she was headed there after we finished. Units were such and such a price for some limited time. The other woman’s eyes lit up, but her expression didn’t change because it couldn’t.

Not one to keep my mouth shut I butted in.

“Is that something we just say?”

I understand the irony…I’ll just say anything. If I used Botox I would talk about it just like my friends do. What I meant to ask was when did Botox become ubiquitous. When did we start working into our days and dentists as if it were a haircut?

Ranting about this the next morning to a more natural looking group of friends they told stories of their own efforts to reverse the clock. One had used Botox herself. “Only once.” The other was planning some sort of chemical peel that kept you inside for a mere week. Totally worth it, they agreed.

There was a time when waxing was not ubiquitous. Now even my Vermont friends who eschew makeup go in for molten material in parts too delicate to mention.I remember when I was talked into waxing. I was greeted in a lovely waiting room and offered a water. There was soft music. It was lovely. Then I was brought into the torture chamber. I was laid on a table covered with paper a la the gynecologist. I was lit with a light brighter than the sun. Then she approached me with a popsicle stick which she twirled ominously to keep the scorching substance from hitting the ground. The burning is the least of it. Then the ripping, the redness, the regrowth. All of was ridiculous to me. Then I had to pay them for the torture.

My boys are 10 and (almost) 9. Their skin is smooth and hairless. It is the right look for them.

Electrolysis, lasering , waxing, peeling, lifting, inserting, bleaching, cauterizing. So many verbs to restore verve.

There are times when my drooping eyes (and other parts), my beard and sun spots, my limp hair and yellow teeth make me wonder about those “ings” would I feel better, smile wider, walk taller, feel the breeze on my hairless face?

It must do that and more for many women. So I will try to set aside my judgement.

All of my friends are beautiful to me. Some are primped and polished while others braless and sleepy eyed. I see beauty in their skin, but not in the way Botox boasts. Their beauty comes from their eyes, under saggy lids that have seen so much in life. Their beauty come from smiles from lined cheeks. Their beauty comes from their laughs etching lines ever deeper around their mouths. Their beauty comes from their foreheads wrinkled in concentration and caring. Their beauty comes from the soft gathers of skin on the same hands that have helped their children and written love letters.

Their beauty comes from the lives they have lived and the way they wear it, unerased on their faces.

Don't hide it!
Don’t hide it!