It started as a by-product of the rich and famous which only movie stars, fashionistas and celebrity personalities boasted. Slowly it moved into the circles of the wealthy business world and high rollers that had a significant disposable income. It slowly trickled down into the middle classes until reaching the current destination among the vain working class, you’ve guessed it, Botox.
Living in the glittering Emirate of Abu Dhabi where there are more bored expat wives than grains of sand on the desert, it is nigh on impossible not to feel the peer pressure from the well-kept and toned gym bunnies and the ever lovely, ladies who lunch. It genuinely never occurred to me that perhaps their creaseless complexions were surgically enhanced and looking back now I wonder how I thought it possible that someone improved on their looks year on year, whilst swilling back toxic quantities of Pinot Grigio.
Never having considered using Botox, I opted for the long hard road (a week) of exercise, early nights and eight glasses of water a day, when this combination wasn’t warding off the wrinkles, I upped the water intake and reduced carbs, when still new crevices appeared morning after morning, I reduced fats and sleep an extra hour each night, still the trenches on my forehead continued to deepen and finally reaching a plateau where for one week my life consisted of seed eating, water drinking, extensive sleeping and some gentle exercise, I decided that I would rather wrangle with the wrinkles than continue to live like a budgie. Satisfied in aptly aging face I took solace from the fact that my friends were also in the same boat, we weren’t in the Botox set and although there was a portion of ladies who tampered with their looks, we agreed to grow old gracefully.
The agreement slowly slipped off the table and slowly slithered into the ditch altogether when more and more people I knew began to cancel lunch to accommodate their filler appointments. Each one looking better than the next with plumper foreheads and fuller lips than ever God (any God) intended. Along with the decrease of laugh lines and crow’s feet so too went the middle aged mammy attitude and re-born was the new old thirty something of years past. A more confident bird altogether. Still wary, I continued to stick with my flock and peck on nuts and sup water.
Never having been exposed to the opportunity or the peer pressure of having to become a Botox user I was stumped the day the email arrived. Botox was on Groupon. Like a blow-dry, a car valet or a two for one dinner, I could click the button to purchase a series of facial injections which wouldn’t stop the aging process but would procrastinate same for somewhere between eight and fourteen months time. Never, I would take it on the chin now and live with the ugliness of nature rather than admit the ugliness of vanity.
Staunch in my position of high moral ground which lasted just until I bumped into a good friend who positively glowed with youth. All experience wiped clean from her face as her smooth and supple cheeks betrayed her forty fix years. Hoping against reason I complimented her profusely willing her to mention to what she owned her great new look. Firstly she tried to pawn me off with stories of exercise and diet, when I appeared dubious she changed tactic and mentioned that she had changed make-up and perhaps that was responsible for the massive change. Not having “born yesterday’ etched into my forehead I knew that Lancôme and Clarins not yet invented a “lose ten years in one week cream”. She finally conceded, that she had taken the soup or the injection so to speak. I felt the warm glow of the upper hand course through my veins, I had won, I hadn’t given in to vanity.
The warm glow soon gave way to a steady flow of green envy as she sashayed past fresh faced and left me pinched faced, eating my bowl of shriveled nuts and warm hoping to stave off the effects of aging through brute force and determination, not that graceful after all.