DORE_BEAUTY_VERONICA_MCCARTHY_ON_BOTOX

I Got Botox for the First Time And Have a Lot to Say About It.

1 month ago by

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.”

No.

Yes.

No!

Mmmhmmm.

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.

13 comments

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  • Fanni Udvarnoki 24 janvier 2020, 9:32 / Répondre

    Dear Veronica,

    I was very curious to read this as I also always thought me and people of my belief system (which I thought were most my close friends) would never do smth like that and was proved wrong. most girl friends of mine I talked about ageing with told me they would do smth about it. Such thing never even crossed my mind! It only started to cross my mind since then. But here is the thing that I do find disappointing – I wasn’t necessarily scared of getting older or worried about it, until I heard this information. To hear this information from friends who are extremely humble and natural human beings (taking care of their health, not dressing up tooo much, being down to earth, smart etc) made ageing even more of a taboo for me. And of course you don’t want to be the only one with an older face, if everyone else around you does botox. It’s especially annoying if you might even be blessed with good genes, but you wouldn’t be able to tell, because everyone else still looks younger. BUT if no one around me did it – neither would I. And I would have the opportunity to accept me more the way I am. And see beauty in those 11s and wrinkles. This saddens me. Because somehow that is the world I want to live in. But I have pride as well and I want to feel beautiful as well, and if this is the new beauty trend… well, I might even consider it. But so far, I don’t want to think about making that choice….

  • jurgenda 27 janvier 2020, 3:50

    Fanni, just DON’T do it, you don’t need it!

  • My best friend does it since she was 30. She’s 48 now. I’m 43. My « 11 » is huge. (In Greece they call it the « anger sign », and yes, I get angry every time I look at it in the mirror.) I think it’s about time. I’m just too lazy to get up and get it done. Thanks for the post. It got me motivated!

  • Donna Graminski 25 janvier 2020, 10:55 / Répondre

    Damned if you do or don’t, the judgement is always there. You are a beautiful woman. Your exterior is your canvas! Go with that….

  • Deal Veronica,
    I appreciate very much the frank way you‘re talking about your experience with botox. But I‘m asking myself why you treat this matter as if it concerns exclusively women. You‘re right: women should be able to age however they wish, with or without botox. But the correct version of your sentence would, in my opinion, include the word „men“: „Men and women should be able to age however they wish, with or without botox.“ If we stop talking about the topic as if it concerns only women, I‘m sure many women would simply not come to the idea they needed botox :-)
    All best ,
    Irina

  • muswellmummy 26 janvier 2020, 12:45 / Répondre

    While I recognize womens’ rights to do what they want to their bodies, I think it reflects deeply on our society that women still feel they cannot age naturally. I stopped dyeing my hair a couple of years ago, I’m now 51, and am still only one of two women in my group of friends and wider acquaintances who has. None of the men I know dye their hair. I know one friend who admits to fillers and botox, she’s older than I am. I live in a large, cosmopolitan, European city. If we are going to get to a place of less ageism and misogyny, we have to be brave and stop buying into prejudices against women ageing.

  • I love Botox! And I love this article.

  • Jorge Alexandre Teixeira 27 janvier 2020, 8:03 / Répondre

    The Third picture from above ,from left to right :
    Your lips have the shape of a heart !!! *_*
    And i love your stories because , you can always visualize the people , the environments …you know what i mean ? Cool !!!

  • I just read twice your article, and I twice stopped on the : “honey, everyone is doing botox but you.”.

    Everyone is free to alter or not wat nature gave us, but this should be a decision that does not come from this kind of remark from someone else… Because on one side there is this let’s put no pressure on ourselves, and in the end the pressure is here…

    Besides I don’t really understand the link with pro-choice movement. Botox is just aesthetic and personal. If you want to have it, it’s fine, :)

  • I relate to this so much — I, too, had the 11 between my brows, and my doc said I have a really strong muscle there. I get it relaxed with botox every 3 months. I wish mine would last 6, but no.

    I agree that we should all respect a person’s right to make their own decisions, although let’s remember this is a decision out of reach of many people due to cost. I decided to get botox because I felt my outside appearance wasn’t matching what I felt inside. I started to look tired and angry, and I am generally not either of those things.

    For me, hearing that others I know had gotten botox was helpful because I was able to ask where they went, how much it costs, etc. It also made me realize that in the right hands, you can look like a more refreshed version of yourself. I previously believed it would change my appearance and make me look weird.

    Anyway, do what you want, and let others do the same. :)

  • aispeechless 4 février 2020, 9:06 / Répondre

    Hi,
    i loved this article. i come from a country where everyone does botox. It’s cheaper there and since there is such a huge demand, the choice is big and you always find someone to recommend you or advise you about botox (or any other facial things à la mode).
    i did it once because i am very expressive with my brows and my forehead is already horizontally wrinkled.
    to be honest, noone have noticed a major change in my expressions. not my mum, not my boyfriend, and none of best friends. i did it as prevention, i did not want my forehead to be even more wrinkled. but since it was not to make it fully wrinke less , i did not see a major difference. and that’s why i never did it again. i don’t feel the pressure from my peers (i live in europe and it’s not very common here), i don’t feel a huge need for it and since i know that it’s expensive here, i simply don’t bother.
    to conclude , i’m 100 % with you when you say we should be pro choice. noone should judge you when you do it and noone should force you to do it if you don’t. just don’t overdo it. every good thing has a limit.
    thanks for sharing !

  • According to Chinese/Eastern medicine, deep furrows between your eyebrows shows your liver is too tight. This condition often leads to short temper/anger. Relaxing your liver by changing your diet is cheaper, healthier and more natural than pumping your face full of nerve poison. I am scared to hear that botox has become the norm among people my age.

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