In Other Words: Put on a happy face
There’s something about facelifts that feels daunting. That’s because I’ve never seen a person who, after their face has been rearranged, looks entirely real.
Case in point: My friend, Victoria*, authority on all types of procedures. Victoria, a woman of substantial beauty decided to give herself a little lift as a New Year’s gift to herself.
Victoria’s face was tightened so securely that her mouth, which used to be charmingly crooked, had been raised a tad too much in a northerly direction. Victoria now looks perpetually happy even when she’s not. That’s the problem: Facelifts remove all signs of genuine emotion. My fear is that one false move and she might actually break.
I ran into another friend. Michelle*. I said, “You look very ... uh ... well-rested, not to mention, quite taut.”
Michelle’s face looked so stiff that when she spoke all that moved were her lips. The rest of her face remained completely still and intact, much like a puppet. She was so perfect a specimen of female pulchritude, molded into place by what looked like Crazy Glue. And the sad fact was, Michelle used to appear interesting. She had her own distinctive look that could not be replicated. Conversely, the new Michelle has followed in the footsteps of other bevies of over-50-beauties, all of whom look artificially endowed.
Now wrinkles, which used to be part of aging, are being Botoxed into oblivion. I was intrigued.
I checked out my face in my mirror. A fine narrow line appeared across my forehead. Frankly, it never bothered me before. Now, I was being scrutinized differently as somewhat of an outcast. I went home and researched Botox — a botulism toxin injected into the muscles of the face. And I was worried about expiration dates of my canned foods?
Ah-hah, I thought, this is just what I’m looking for, a nice case of facial paralysis.
But Botox could now prevent my skin from wrinkling. Moreover, it would reduce the appearance of frown lines, forehead furrows and my all-time favorite: Nostril flaring. My goodness, not to ever flare again. It was too good to imagine. Moreover, I recently learned there is a new Viagra shampoo that plumps up hair. I was intrigued enough to take it a step further. I made an appointment with a plastic surgeon.
“The good news is,” he said, after going over my body with a giant pair of magnifying goggles, “like a fine vintage car, you’re holding up quite well. But, that’s not to say a little aesthetic adornment couldn’t help things along. Take your face, for example. Some skin resurfacing can go a long way. My cutting-edge laser will burn off the outer layer of your skin, causing new skin cells to regenerate. The results are astounding.”
“Any side effects?” I asked.
“Your skin will be permanently sun-sensitive, and there is a risk of uneven pigmentation patterns.”
In lay terms, this meant I might end up looking like a zebra. I hotfooted it over to another cosmetic guru, whose name I had been given by Victoria-the-Magnificent.
Dr. “Lookgood” — a dermatologist with a new calling — greeted me with a wide smile revealing a set of Chiclet-white porcelain laminates. His hair had been transplanted from an actual mink; his chin had been sculpted and looked ever so slightly askew; his lips had been filled with collagen; and his eyelids had been lifted, giving him a rather lascivious stare.
“I’m into the natural look,” he told me.
“I can tell,” I said.
“We can take fat from your buttocks,” he continued, “and inject it into your face to puff up any wrinkles you have.”
Buttocks on my face? A novel idea. I could finally achieve bad-ass status.
I went home and stood naked in front of a full-length mirror. True, if I looked closely, I could find imperfections, but I was still holding my own. The next day I called Victoria, who had recommended both the Botox King and the Butt Plumper.
“Thanks, “I said, “but I’ve decided to stay perfectly imperfect.”
“Not even a dash of Juvederm?” she asked. “Not a teeny chemical peel?”
“Not so much as a soupcon of silicone,” I said.
But, so as not to let the ladies down, the next time we met, my face was as tight as a hedge fund millennial after a triple martini lunch.
“You’ve had work,” the ladies shouted in unison.
“In a way I have,” I said.
I hadn’t the heart to tell them that, for $4.50, I had purchased a roll of duct tape, lifted the skin adjacent to my chin, strategically placed a piece of tape behind each ear, and pulled it upward, adhering it in place.
“You look amazing,” they said. “Where did you have it done?”
“Ace Hardware,” I told them.
*Names have been changed for anonymity.
Westporter Judith Marks-White shares her humorous views monthly in the Westport News. She can be reached via email at email@example.com or at judithmarks-white.com.