I have more to say about Vaginas

Today I have the debut guest post on the site Making Midlife Matter writing about women’s desires to erase the laugh lines of life from their faces with a ubiquitous injection.

making midlife matter logo
Excellent new Website edited by incredibly talented women. Elena’s personal blog is http://www.livingwithbatman.com/

My article is a lightly edited version of an anti-Botox post I wrote in the fall. The day I published the original on my blog (Don’t read it, read the one on the new site…fewer typos for me and more traffic for them…) I met a friend for lunch. She is not a regular reader (I KNOW and I STILL eat with her…but I don’t buy her lunch) I asked her what she thought about plastic surgery and she floored me with this one. “I am thinking about having my lips done. My vaginal lips.”

Four responses crowded my brain at once

  1. What. The. Fuck.
  2.  By the time they are down there no one cares what it looks like anyways.
  3. Other than Georgia O’Keefe I don’t know many people that consider vaginas to be as beautiful as flowers.
  4.  I can’t wait to get this on my blog. (Maybe I should buy her lunch.)

I spat out something like “Fuck my ugly vagina blog down there.” It was her time to be confused. After a few calming sips of herbal tea I was ready to try again. I went with my most uplifting rebuttal:

By the time he (in her case) is down there he isn’t thinking about what your vagina LOOKS like. He is pot committed. I mean, he is already all in. What IS it with the poker. He is ready to poke-her. Oh god the tea isn’t working. I decided to cash in my chips and stopped screeching my outrage.

She is calm as she responds. “The surgery has a 90% success rate.”

I am less calm. “Ninety percent??? What could the other 10% feel like.”

I needed more than a few sips of tea as I contemplated these women, propped on pillows, swollen in pain, watching Downtown Abbey and slamming tequila shooters. These were the 90% success women. The other 10% were mangled, numb, or unable to come. Probably all three. Even tequila and the dowager countess would be at a loss with their loss.

waxed legs and high heelsFinally I calmed down enough to talk about the upside of plastic surgery. If someone is fixated on a particular part of themselves that can be “cured” by a simple surgery why not pay for that confidence. We do a version of this when we wax our legs and put on heels.

Nefriti with makeup
Nefriti probably would have had all four lips done if it was an option in 1320 BCE.

Make up has been around for over 6,000 years. A little injection, insertion, snip or tuck is simply progress. Or so the argument goes. I don’t even brush my hair so it comes as no surprise that I am arguing the extreme case for comfort over cosmetics.

A few weeks later at a “Ladies Mexican Fiesta” fundraiser for our public school I bring up the topic to a handful of women in the kitchen. I told you tequila would figure into this.

One sane woman walked out. The rest of us, various shades of blonde, debated the lip surgery. One or two never got past the idea that we were talking about lips that live beneath our nose despite my repeated cries of “VAGINAL lips.” More party goers seemed open to the idea than I would have guessed. I trod the five house home in my clogs and wondered what the ravages of time and hopefully other ravages have done to us.

What it comes down to down there is that the middle aged vagina shows it’s story the way the middle aged face does. Kids and love and lust have all left their mark. Why would we erase that?

[Tweet theme=”basic-white”]the middle aged vagina shows it’s story the way the middle aged face does.[/Tweet]


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!