My friend T……. gave me a magnifying mirror and tweezers for my last birthday. I laughed but did not find it funny. I do hope it was a joke. Serious would be so much worse. She also enjoys telling all in sundry that she gave me a magnifying mirror and tweezers for my last birthday. The joys of friendship.
I stuffed my magnified reflection into the back of my bathroom cabinet (I don’t want Mr Carmichael enlarging anything) but did pop the tweezers in my make up bag. As a precaution against boredom on a rainy day, you understand, not chin hairs.
From time to time I retrieve the shiny globe of horror but its effect is of equal magnitude to that of a nuclear bomb exploding in my psyche and I need a G and T to sort the radiation out. No reflective surfaces in the kitchen, thank goodness. The pool of sadness relegated to its dark and dusty lair. Yum, I do love lime with gin.
This must be the first defence against the tertiary ageing process. Non invasive, for sure but humiliating none the less. Distinct from discovering tampons and the honeymoon freshness of a caesarean section only by the years beneath a broadening belt.
But I’m doing so much better than most. Aren’t I?
No, as it happens.
A couple of months ago I caught myself smiling as I was passing a mirror. Smiling/mirror. This can never, ever occur in tandem again. I have always put my friends’ and frenemies’ facial contour lines, craters and crags down to Antipodean ozone depletion, smoking, poor genes or being OLDER than me. Now, having seen my face in a position other than seriously still I must, I fear, consider the second defence.
Shall I give Botox a go?
I do know people who are enjoying Botox sessions in their early thirties and I bet, but don’t know for sure, even younger. But back to me, for I am not in my thirties. And although I do not have a hairy chin (worth repeating) I do, it seems, look a little like a Shar Pei when smiling. I don’t want to look like a Shar Pei at any time.
But Botox isn’t cheap and it turns out one needs fillers in the lower portion of one’s face to balance the Botoxed brow. This worries me on a number of levels. Can I afford the first, let alone subsequent rounds of treatment? Will I get ‘trout pout’? What harm can it do?
I decide to dress the final question in positive attire. What harm can it do, indeed? And begorrah, T…….’s nephew’s fiancee can get me an unbeatable deal because she works for a reputable pharmaceutical company and tells T…… that we can both be models in their monthly training programme. I am convinced or would have been had T……. told me. She didn’t. Why? Because T……. wanted to have it done first. Hmmmm.
I have to say, she looks fantastic. Not overdosed, she can still raise an eyebrow at me and her lips, while beautifully defined, have nothing fishy about them. Book me in.
I tell people I’m doing it. I know many don’t, preferring the clandestine holiday scenario to work its magic but maybe subconsciously I’m waiting for for someone to shout, “Stop, look at the Phantom. He had Botox and now he’s only good for singing in the bowels of the Paris Opera”. I am tone deaf and would not be chosen, as Erik was, to be the staring character in a musical.
I don’t see T…….for a while. She’s busy socialising in her new face and, apparently, sorting out one of her many in-laws who is staying with her on a temporary basis. I am invited for a glass of wine. I meet him. It is her nephew and his affianced happens to be the one who is getting me the free Botox and fillers, yay. She has broken off the engagement, shame. They are no longer on speaking terms, oops. All favours have been called off, horror.
I must reevaluate my wrinkles and implement a strict regime of facial exercises.
But it may just be a good thing. While I, facially exercised, get on with my life T……. has a decision to make. If she were in a silent movie she’d be tied to the railway tracks right now. The steam engine bares down upon her. Does she choose to morph back to her droopy self or spend a fortune in Harley Street? She screams and struggles and is rescued by a tall dark stranger who strokes her winsome cheek. Decision made. No holidays for T…….. in the foreseeable.
She’s chosen the runway and her flight plan brings me neatly to stage three, plastic surgery.
A friend of a friend’s friend is disappearing before my my friend’s laughter lined eyes. It began with breasts, moved on to the lips, thighs, bingo wings and now the windows to her soul.
That is how it works. Friends vanish for a fortnight, reappear with black eyes and say they walked into a door or their husbands hit them. Anything but the truth that they have ‘gone under the knife’. That’s how it is here. I understand California is a different kettle of fish and people wear their PS bruises with pride.
Last summer I was enjoying grilled sea bass at the Bodrum Yacht Club with a girlfriend when we spotted, at various times and tables, three women who must have been related. They all looked like cats. A generational feline family pretending they didn’t know each other. Their eyes and blonde locks identical. Their skin awe inspiring.
Then and there my friend and I agreed 1) not to have a face lift, 2) to have another glass of white wine, 3) to consult with each other if any deviation from 1 is contemplated and 4) to have another glass of white wine.
And while I don’t want to marry into that particular Turkish family just yet I know full well that the Master of the Dark Arts of Ageing has me in the cross hairs of his wand.
I am also dreading my next birthday.