My sweetipie is worried about his wrinkles. For the record he doesn’t have many wrinkles, just some lines around his mouth and on his forehead, and that’s about it really. It’s pretty annoying really (to me), he should have more! but to him, they’re a scary sign of ageing to someone who should remain forever young. Anyway I told him I didn’t want to get into an arms race with him about wrinkle treatments – he has Botox, so I have to have Botox, so he has injections, so then I do, then he has dermabrasion, then I do..until we both look like one of those weird Hollywood granmas who are 90 going on 26. ANd he says, what’s wrong with Botox, people complained about doing up your teeth fifty years ago, and now EVERYONE has their teeth done (at least they go the the dentist and have cleaning and root canals and crowns and so on). And EVERYONE wears sunscreen – twenty years ago it would have been sissy.
So, well what IS wrong with Botox? I don’t really want to have any of that. For a start, it’s really expensive, so you can choose between either, having a life (movies, dinner, theatre, or maybe just food and clothes) or looking ‘young’. And then, it sometimes goes wrong, so you end up looking like you’ve got in a bitch fight down at the local bogan club. And THEN, if it goes RIGHT, you might end up looking like Nicole Kidman. She’s quite good looking, but more than a bit plastic. The girl at the place where I go to have my moustache taken off (yeah, so!) has all the offerings of the beauty clinic – I guess she’s in her late thirties or maybe forties but her face is strangely plumped out – it’s like when every wrinkle gets filled, and filled again, you end up with slightly too much face, it’s not like it can be sanded back or something. And then, there’s the sagging. You get to your forties and I guess your face starts going south a bit, and there’s nothing fillers can do about it – except backfill.
It’s a bit like trying to fix the Great Wall of China. You notice some bricks are coming loose on one bit so you fix it up, but a hundred miles down the wall, another bit’s just crumbled off so you rush down there and..Or no, more like facelifting your house. You buy a new couch and then the coffee table looks crappy by comparison – so you buy a new coffee table only to notice the worn carpet…so you re-carpet but then the old curtains look all wrong… Anyway I dye my hair, every eight weeks or so, and that’s about it.
But suppose you could keep yourself looking about 25 until you’re ninety? If you could, would you? Say you just popped a pill, or spliced a gene, or something pretty harmless with no side effects. Personally I don’t so far dislike my lines and all that kind of thing, not really. But then maybe that’s because ageing has hit me pretty mildly so far, eg I don’t yet have a turkey neck or a collapsed chin or great big bags under my eyes. Perhaps it’s about the integrity of ‘signals’. For instance, if you’re angry or sad or whatever, you mostly want to FEEL those things – if you could immunise yourself against feelings, you wouldn’t, because they’re a signal that something needs attention. You need to change something, or blow your top, release adrenalin, cry, whatever. Also you need to SHOW those feelings – because if you didn’t, other people wouldn’t have any clues to how you were feeling, and then they couldn’t react appropriately (get the hell out of there, give you a hug, tell you to get a grip, whatever). So if you’re ageing, you need to show that you’re ageing, otherwise you and other people won’t be able to react to those signals – this is an eighty year old,l so don’t shove them down the stairs, give the seat on the bus, remember they still like Bing Crosby. Even if you can fix your face, all your emotions and intellectual capacity and physical capacity and attitudes and experience and knowledge are those of a person of whatever age you are, and you and other people need to take account of that. Otherwise, there’s a disconnect, similar to the carpet-curtains problem but deeper. N’est pas?