“Is it uncouth to show up with fine lines?” asks Aleksandra Crapanzano, a Marie Claire writer. The occasion was a birthday dinner with a crowd she last saw ten years ago. The odd thing was that now her old friends did not look old.
Ten years ago, she would have had a manicure and a blow dry. Was she now expected to have Botox and fillers to be well dressed in certain circles?
Crapanzano called herself a “lipstick feminist,” someone who believes in equality for women and will fight for it, but delights in picking out the perfect shade of lipstick at a beauty counter. Though her mother was a vocal feminist, Crapanzano identifies herself as part of the Botox generation. She is a reaction to her feminist mother, grateful to Gloria Steinem but not ready to burn her bra. She is now part of a world in which Botox has become the norm.
Crapanzano wonders if people really feel better when they remove the history from their faces with Botox and the love handles from their bodies with liposuction. A Manhattan psychiatrist answers that patients report better moods following their Botox injections. When Crapanzano also asked if removing the ability to frown can actually improve mood, she was told that frowning stimulates worry and unhappiness and smiling stimulates mental happiness.
In “Survival of the Prettiest,” a Harvard psychologist suggests that pursuit of beauty is a fundamental part of human nature and a biological adaptation to help ensure survival. In other words, Cleopatra would have sprung for Botox, fillers and a neck lift because the quest for youthful beauty has not changed, only the available procedures.
But a Harvard-trained plastic surgeon warns against “doing too much,” stating that it will simply make you look older. To avoid overdoing it, one physician offers almost undetectable frequent mini-injections of filler and Botox, preserving a natural facial expression.
Crapanzano finally decides to undergo a “triad facial,” including microdermabrasion, laser toning and a mild chemical peel. The results are that she looks very good, which makes her feel very good. She was inspired enough to follow up with Ulthera in the hope that it would tighten her jawline. It did, and now she feels like signing up for everything. She reflects that life expectancy has increased and careers take shape more slowly in the post-bubble economy. “Perhaps we are the generation that simply will not be put out to pasture.”
If you decide to improve your face with cosmetic surgery, put it in the hands of a board-certified practitioner in an appropriate specialty with significant experience in the procedure you will undergo.