I call it my new face; my husband calls it my old face. One daughter finds it remarkable that her mother, who looked in the mirror so infrequently that three feet-long hairs were known to grow out of her chin, decided to go through with it. The other daughter, while I think secretly believed the whole procedure a bit much, nonetheless applauded what she saw as a life affirming experience.
Although I think Helen Mirren is stunning and I cringe when I see 60-year- olds-sporting blank, unlived in faces, beauty was suddenly too far from the eyes of this beholder when I brushed my teeth in the morning. Was it a brighter light that heightened my perception of my eyelids and chin and sun damaged skin? What did I expect to look like anyway?
Luckily as we approach 2012, sagging jowls and wrinkles are the new gray hair and crooked teeth. Easily fixable… and optional for those who can afford to smooth them out. My goal, honestly was not to look younger — I know you don’t believe me — but just to look good for my age. So I did my research, worked out a few entitlement issues, got over the fear that I might come out looking like a Bratz doll, and took the plunge.
Using “conventional weapons with a different delivery system,” Scott Wells, my wonderful, talented surgeon, patiently explained how he was going to war against skin laxity, gravitational descent and volume loss. He talked about fabric and tailoring, describing how he was going to shrink-wrap the texture of my face, changing it from linen to Lycra. He never mentioned anything plastic… instead he used words like “subtle” and “natural” and “refreshed.” Instantly I knew he was my guy.
It’s been three months. And while as anyone who watches Nip/Tuck knows, plastic surgery won’t solve your problems. In my case, however, it certainly makes looking at recent photographs a lot more pleasurable. It might take a while to recoup my investment, but the money I’m saving on expensive foundations and concealers is a lovely perk. So is the time I’m not spending reading about, buying and applying them. Yet strange as it may sound, the best part the whole thing, aside from the few people I told about the surgery, was that NOBODY NOTICED.
Not my neighbors. Or the people at work. Or the women at the gym. Not even my father. The owner of our favorite restaurant did compliment me on my outfit (a black sweater and jeans) and my manicurist did stare a second too long, then smiled. But my goal was achieved. If I didn’t tell you, you would never know. I realize I was telling the truth when I said this surgery was all about me and it didn’t matter if anyone else saw a difference.
All about me. It bears repeating. I had to reach this age to finally learn that “All About Me” doesn’t t mean selfish… or wasteful…. or vain.
I still wear my glasses, frustrating a friend who can’t understand why I won’t get contacts and show off my hoodless eyelids. I also refuse to make my forehead silicone smooth with Botox, because it’s a major area of emotional expressiveness on my face. I’m done — and I’m happy. The rest of my flaws, while not appealing, are comfortable and familiar, and things I can live with. If only my daughter didn’t greet my new old face by saying, “You look great, Mom, but now you have to whiten your teeth.”