About a month ago at a holiday party I had one of those weird out of body experiences where you’ve had 2.5 glasses of champagne and not enough canapés to balance the bubbles. You’re just the right amount of tipsy to sway to the din and chatter of the room and formulate a thesis about the state of your life.
The thesis that matriculated in my mind was more of a record scratch. I went from slightly swaying with a grin on my face to wide eyed and shocked as I surveyed the room.
Why the hell does my face look so much older than everyone else’s face at this party?!
Three minutes later I grabbed a friend by her arm and did the I-must-tell-you-about-my-huge-realization-that-just-happened-three-minutes-ago-before-I-even-take-a-moment-to-process-it-myself.
I asked her, honestly, to tell me why I was starting to look older than our contemporaries.
She rolled her eyes and said in her Upper East Side meets Texas drawl, “honey, everyone is doing botox but you.”
I DON’T BELIEVE IT.
Everyone does it. No one talks about it.
I THOUGHT WE WERE WAITING TILL WE ALL TURNED FORTY.
Honey, no. From the nose up I am frozen and thrilled about it.
WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL ME?!
You just didn’t seem like the type.
I AM THE TYPE. I AM ALL THE TYPES. DON’T PUT IN A SPECIFIC TYPE BOX.
I was walloped with the same feeling as a 12-year-old on Monday morning when you learned there was a sleepover on Saturday.
I wrote about the struggle over dying my grays, and here I was again. Women are supposed to age gracefully while not looking like they are trying to age gracefully. The duck glides through the water without a ripple while its legs spin furiously just beneath the surface.
And apparently no one talks about.
I still don’t dye my grays, but the vertical lines between my eyebrows were irking me and I had just been informed they’re referred to as “11s.” Yes the pattern of wrinkles that emerge on your face have semi-scientific names.
And apparently the “is it time to get botox” question is answered when there are fine lines appearing on your resting face. My 11s were more like canals. You could row a boat down them.
My friend promised it was as easy as tossing a wrinkle release sheet into the dryer with very similar effects. Albeit a bit more expensive.
One month later I found myself at Ject in the West Village with no fewer than four women buzzing and fussing about me, as if I were getting married in a few hours.
I never want to get married, but the being buzzed about and tended to part felt really nice, I will admit.
Gabrielle Garritano, the founder and CEO, graciously walked me through all my options. Admittedly I came in thinking I was just going to get one prick between my eyebrows to vanish my “11s.”
But upon seeing the strength of my furrowed brow (I came out of the womb skeptical and furrowed), Gabrielle insisted I needed a bit more to tackle it.
Fine. Fine. Fine. I’m here. Let’s do this. Commence the duck swim.
Did I mention I hate needles?
Like I pass out at the site of them.
I did not mention this to Gabrielle or the other maids in waiting. Brides aren’t supposed to get cold feet, right?
I kept talking excitedly and in a pitch my voice has never reached to distract myself (also, all those times I’ve gotten ready with a bride-to-be, her alien demeanor now makes sense to me).
Gabby had me take deep breaths for all of thirty seconds and it was done.
IT DIDN’T EVEN HURT. IT WAS A PIN PRICK AT BEST.
Is marriage also this painless?
Kidding. I know it’s not. I’m watching all my friends in their 30s learn this and all their parents in their 60s smile smugly about it.
Afterwards my forehead did look like a mosquito attacked it for about an hour, but it’s cold and that’s what beanies are for.
Gabrielle mentioned I wouldn’t see much of an effect for about 48 hours, will full effects settling in at two weeks.
She was wrong.
The morning after the injections I opened my eyes at the sound of my alarm and felt… different. Not younger or bouncier or wrinkle free but …. lighter. My eyes could easily focus. I felt awake without coffee.
Wait. Where the hell is my headache?
I darted my eyes around my eye sockets to see if I could find it. It being the dull ache behind my eyes and at the bridge of my nose that has accompanied me for the past ten years like a bird atop a rhino. Except that shit is symbiotic (the one word I learned in middle school science and still use repeatedly) and this duo was not.
For the past ten years I’ve simply lived with this constant pain. For the first eight years I honestly just thought everyone had the dull ache of adulthood nestled neatly between their brows.
Apparently I was wrong, y’all are walking around with a bouncy head on your shoulders that doesn’t throb by 4pm.
Meanwhile I’ve been giving myself eyebrow massages everyday like my life depended on it and have bottles of Advil set up on a subscription basis through Amazon to survive.
And yes, I had totally missed the memo that botox has started to be administered to treat migraines.
I have no idea if this ache is a migraine ache or simply an overactive furrow but Botox unexpectedly gave me the clearest head I’ve had in a decade.
Okay, but about the duck, which, I’m sure is what most you want to know.
It’s about a week and a half in and it took me about a week to get used to the frozen muscle feeling. Maybe that’s because my are so active as I’ve heard from others it feels exactly the same for them.
I love that I can still move my eyebrows, which are the most expressive part of my face, I just can’t fully push them together — i.e. my resting bitch face and headache causer.
And the canals between my brows are completely gone — for now.
Gabrielle said the effects of Botox will last anywhere from three to six months, depending on the strength of your muscles. So maybe two months for me.
I thought this was going to be a one and done moment, something to laugh about with a quick a five minute set in my back pocket that I whip out a cocktail parties.
But damn, waking up headache free is something I’d like to experience for the rest of my life (minus the inevitable hangovers).
Okay, and yes, I do look younger and more refreshed. Like I just came back from a ten day spa retreat even though I know I’ll ever have an opportunity to do that in my life. I just assume this is what one would look like if one did.
I even caught a glimpse of my reflection yesterday and thought “dammnnn.” I feel Lizzo would be proud of this new found confidence. It feels really nice to like how you look. Vanity has its perks.
For the past week and a half I have told practically every woman I’ve encountered that I just got Botox for the first time.
Each one had one trillion follow questions. Yes, trillion.
Amidst those trillion follow up questions was always a buried sentiment, “I’m scared what people will think.”
Well, one, you don’t have to be like me and tell the world in a 1500 word article.
But, two, it’s made me sad to realize Botox is still shrouded in shame unlike dying one’s greys, which has the same motivation, to look younger.
Do it if you want to, don’t do it if you don’t want to.
But whatever you do, don’t judge another woman for her choices.
Let’s be pro-choice about more than just abortions.
Let’s be pro-choice about all of women’s life choices.
My father taught me a lot of useful things, like how to split aces, change a tire, and drive a boat. But the biggest life lesson he taught me was people should be able to live their lives in any manner they wish, as long as it’s not negatively impacting somebody else.
Women should be able to age, however they wish, with or without botox. Short skirts or covered ankles. Grays or no grays, give all the judgement a rest.
We’ve got much bigger fish to fry.
I highly recommend Gabrielle and her whole team at Ject! They have a few locations you can learn about here, including a cool pop up in Nolita! I love that it felt more like girlfriend’s home instead of a clinical doctor’s office.