Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wait ... That Isn’t a Mask

As we all know, Halloween is this Monday - a time many kids (and adults) don their most macabre Halloween masks and try to scare the bejesus out of people. Fortunately, come Tuesday, the masks will get stored in the closet to be pulled out for the next Halloween. But what about a mask that can be pretty terrifying looking that doesn’t come off - that’s a more permanent type of cover up? What am I talking about? I am referring to the uber-Botoxed-can’t-move-your-forehead type of mask. The clearly-this-person-has-had-a-ton-of-work-done type of mask which makes people feel like they are no longer talking to an normal, natural looking individual but someone who has striven (and paid good money) to look like a very abnormal version of his or herself. There is no doubt that this look can be downright ghoulish seeming at times...

I will offer you a perfect example. The other day I was at the Bobbie Brown counter at Bloomingdales and a “young” woman approached - she had a young, trendy style of dress and a cute figure, beautiful long blond hair and a young energy. And yet when she turned around ... her face looked like a Joan Rivers’ mask. It was tragic. If I had to guess, I would speculate this woman was in her late 30s/early 40s but she has so much work done that it was no longer possible to tell her natural age. She was both “pretty” and frightening looking at the same time. She had a forehead that was taught like a drum and that was abnormally shiny. She also looked like she had collagen implants in her lips so they were unnaturally large for her face and it looked like she possibly had something done to her eyes that gave her a cat like appearance (but I couldn’t tell if it was just excessive Botox). As much as I tried to look away, I was drawn to staring at her like one does a car accident. I mentioned the story to a friend and he asked me if I had ever watched the scene in the Adam Sandler movie “Just Go With It” with Botox Man. I hadn’t at that point, but I am attaching the clip below for the curious.*

I commented to my male makeup artist that it’s a shame that the Botox craze has become so prevalent and that, though I know I could “benefit” from a little tweaking (in fact, last year I had a guy at a bar tell me “you’re so pretty but you could use a little Botox right there” and then leaned over to point between my eyebrows)**, I really hope to resist the temptation to go down that path. To my surprise, my makeup artist responded that he has regular Botox treatments ... he is 31. Who would have thought it? Is anyone too young to get Botox these days? (I recently read that beautiful Amanda Seyfried was getting pressure to get Botox treatments at the tender age of 25). Two days later, my cab driver (a rare female driver in the thousands of NYC Taxis) who I was casually chatting with commented - unsolicited - that she knew a great dermatologist, dug through her bag and handed me her dermatologist’s card and told me that this doctor did the best Botox work in town. I hadn’t even asked.

Now, at the risk of putting any readers who have had Botox injections on the defensive, I am not seeking to judge those who have had an occasional injection to smooth out a few vexing and deep rooted lines. The purpose of this blog is not to judge but to pose questions - sometimes on topics that people would rather not address. Is it so awful to look your age? Is the answer different if you are married or if you’re single? If you are a man or a woman? And while Botox injections are popular among both sexes it seems at the moment that there are far more women getting Botox than men. Are the women who are getting the Botox treatments just being smarter and more competitive in getting the guys than their more wrinkled counterparts? Or is it possible that they are losing out on quality men who are more interested in a more natural, confident-in-her-own-skin kind of look? Does it make you look more attractive and appealing to the members of the opposite sex you are trying to attract when you have a wrinkle free face or does it actually start working against you at some point?

Indeed, a little while back, I set up a female client who was 39 with a guy of a similar age (this was a bright, nice looking, successful Manhattan guy who had no issues with going out with a woman the same age- how refreshing!). After their date, I spoke to the guy for his feedback and he informed me that while he thought she was nice enough and objectively cute, he explained that he was from an affluent town in Westchester and has seen enough of “the Botox look” with his mother and her friends and it was "not his thing." When I met her I just thought she looked great for her age, however, after his comment I looked at her in a whole new light. He was right - she had her share of botulism in her face. Yes, she looked “younger” but at what cost? He was not interested in going out again (and she had been).

While plastic surgery has been around for a while, the Botox craze is different. Men may be divided about whether or not they prefer real over implants, but I don’t know too many guys who would nix a woman just because she has fake boobs. However, artifice with the face is different - I know many men who would agree that it is the laugh lines that give a woman’s face character ... that the crinkle that forms in the brow can be charming and cute when a woman is puzzled ... that a face that can express emotion and be animated is far sexier than an incongruously youthful face that starts to resemble all the other unnatural looking faces out there.

Guys, when you can recognize that a woman has had a fair amount of Botox does it send a message to you that maybe this woman is insecure/high maintenance/or not genuine in other ways? Or does it not matter as long as she has managed to come out looking good overall? Does a face that screams out “I have done something very unnatural to my face to look this way” scare away men as much as a Jason mask from Friday the 13th would have most women running for the hills? And, women, your input is welcome too - have you ever rejected a date with a guy because he looked like he had had too much Botox? Does a guy’s use of Botox send a message to you about his personality? Feel free to weigh in!

I hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!


** Someone suggested that this guy may have been using a "neg" on me (from the book The Game), but I believe he sincerely thought I should fix "the trouble spot" as he boasted that he had had plenty of Botox himself. His face was proof he was not lying.

1 comment:

  1. Marni, so good you raised that issue!!! Botox and plastic surgery prevalence is really unprecedented now, with people, not only here, but around the world getting work done starting from 25 yo... While I find it reckless towards ones health, think about ejecting poison in your face, I also think the main reasons are globalization, advertizing and mass culture, since people tend to copy each other. I'm happy to remain one of the few 100% natural ppl (hair color excluded):):) maybe that will be a premium in a few years:)