Permission to Age
Botox has been good to me. Not that I’ve ever used it. But it has provided me with a couple of nice red herrings to cover up poisonings.* Fictional poisonings, I mean, of course.
Botox has a bad rep. Nobody ever praises a woman for getting her jowls propped up. You don’t hear, “She deserves that lovely face. Think of the needles she’s endured.” And when a man indulges…! Nothing articulate need be said. Sniggers suffice.
Yet the American public is equally censorious about having saggy jowls when two conditions obtain: 1) you are a public figure, and 2) you are a woman. Yes, there are women who power through the pressure, and men do account for a low but rising percentage of Botox patients. However, my unscientific matched-pair study indicates severe injustice on the saggy issue.
Consider my first pair, an odd couple who may loom large in your nightmares at the moment.
Hillary Clinton – this is just my opinion, now – does not appear as nature made her. Scalpel or needle, this is not the face of a 68-year-old grandmother who’d be fine with staying at home with the darling baby. But why can’t the potential President of the United States look like a 68-year-old grandmother? The alternative President offered us by the Democrats looks like a grandpa, all right, and one with an uncertain temper at that. And somehow that’s fine.
Don’t ask me about Donald Trump. I can’t get past the hair.
Possibly Europeans are less uptight about their political figures. At least until recently, the most successful and respected of them all was “Mutti.” That’s what Germans call their Chancellor, Angela Merkel. (Her actual title is Kanzlerin – “Lady Chancellor.”) And Mutti means “Mummy” in German, not “mutt.”
Moving on to the journalism business and triplets instead of a pair, whom do we trust and revere more than our news anchors? (Well, yes, there was that thing with Brian Williams, but still….) Judy Woodruff of the PBS Nightly News Hour is – again, my opinion – a worthy successor to Jim Lehrer. In particular, she handles the Friday political news round-up with Mark Shields and David Brooks as well as Jim ever did. Now, here’s Judy, age 69:
And here are Mark (78) and David (54).
How is that fair?
I started brooding about all this when I visited the websites of published female authors. A lot of them are “of a certain age.” Not as old as I am, maybe, but they’ve traveled some distance. And so many of them are bloody gorgeous! For whatever reason. Make-up, maybe.
If I ever make it to published status, I’m going to have problems. I’m afraid of needles, and even more of knives. (Hence my fondness for poisonings.) So unless my friends stage a serious intervention, here’s what my readers will see on the back cover of every book I write:
*Before any dermatologists write in, let me point out that, properly administered, Botox does not pose a risk of poisoning. You just aren’t supposed to get it into your bloodstream. So if you do go for the Barbie look, see a doctor and have it done right, okay?