I sat with a bunch of women at a birthday party in Sandton on Saturday. It was wild. We had six bottles of champagne, two platters of little cucumber sandwiches, sixteen cupcakes and between us all, we had just fourteen wrinkles.
All fourteen belonged to me.
It struck me, shockingly, that every single one of these women uses Botox. And they spoke about their Botox the same way they spoke about their facials and their manicures.
It’s the most normal thing in the world. You fill the fridge, take a daily shower, sleep with your husband, or lover, then get injected. It costs a small fortune, but they do it regularly, and they’ve been doing it for years.
This is what the conversation sounded like.
‘Doctor Solomon in Morningside is just fab, didn’t you know that?’
‘You should try Delilah’s, they’re brilliant.’
‘Yes babe, but Rob in Gallo Manor offers specials, you really have to, you have to go to him. What? You don’t know Rob? Doll. DOLL. Where’ve you been all these years?’
I didn’t know the Doctor or Delilah’s or the fabulous Dermatologist. In fact, I’d never had a needle near my face except for the one time my mother, in a fit of rage, threw her knitting at me.
I realized I’d been living in a Botox vacuum. All these women did look incredibly youthful.
I started having anxiety while looking at their smooth, doll-like faces. Not one of them looked their age, or even close.
I excused myself graciously, disguising my looming panic attack for needing the loo, and rushed off to the ladies feeling totally inadequate. I just stood there, staring into the mirror.
Oh my god I have wrinkles!
Lines. Everywhere. On my forehead. Around my eyes. Even a few deep ones around my mouth. They seemed to get deeper and deeper as I looked at them. I’d oddly never thought of them as a big deal.
Anyway. I stood in that bathroom and examined myself closely. Yip. I had fourteen frightening, not for the faint hearted, wrinkles.
Women kept walking in. Not to use the bathroom, but to use the mirror. A bit of lipstick, a boob adjustment, a no-wrinkle check.
Mostly they looked fab. But the more I looked, the more I became aware of something – they did not look real.
Eventually the women in my party came to look for me. Apparently an hour is a long time to spend in a bathroom. They found me, still standing in front of the mirror, but with a strange smile on my face.
I’d smugly decided that I liked my fourteen wrinkles. I’d earned them, and goddamit I was going to display them. And nobody, with their smooth Barbie skin, was going to make me feel inadequate.
I kinda like the natural look.
I still want to look good. Of course I do. I use day cream, night cream, eye cream, neck cream and anti-cellulite cream. I manicure, pedicure, colour my hair, wax my legs, thread my eyebrows and sweet jesus it costs me a small fortune.
And it’s true that I might panic when the fourteen wrinkles become forty wrinkles, and then maybe, maybe, I’ll consider doing something drastic. Maybe I’ll Botox. I don’t want to judge those who do it (even though I just have) especially if it makes them feel good.
But right now I like real. And I really hope to keep it that way.