I’m really curious about Botox. Not for myself, EVER. But it’s a curiosity centred around those who do have regular injections to make themselves look young. Why do I honestly not mind looking older as the years pass by? Maybe I can’t see the new wrinkles on my face as they appear… I’m too busy not caring.
Anyway, I was looking for someone to seriously spill their Botox beans. While some are clearly happy with their freshly ironed faces and feel genuinely happier as a result, Rose (a friend of a friend) told me her story and it felt important enough to share with you, my curious readers.
I’ve been asked if I’d mind sharing my experiences of Botox. “I don’t see why not?” was my initial thought. It’s no secret although I haven’t announced it either. I start cautiously. That’s how I felt with Botox..
I went to my first appointment at a clinic in Cheltenham back in 2010. I knew on arrival that it would be successful because the receptionist was smooth and frown-free. This is a good sign. Monitor the reception staff. Watch their expression! Check out the people around you. Sometimes it’s a shocker. This first time I ended up skipping Botox and only having filler. I was terrified but happy with the immediate improvement to the lines at the side of my mouth. In fact, I will go as far as to say, they have never returned to their former selves.
The second time I went to Harley Street for Botox. Not because I wasn’t happy with my results in Cheltenham although she was a little impatient with my natural anxiety over the whole process. To me, having injections of any kind into my face is absolutely not normal so I was nervous. She was annoyed that I was. I was recommended a woman in London so I went. Harley Street. Sounds extortionate but (always a minimum of £250 for one area) she was lovely. An Irish girl who calmed me down and only ever-so slightly gave me a bruise to the right eye. Pity. I walked out like I’d walked into a lamp post. It all made for a better story but if I was a celebrity I would have been cross I imagine. Then again if I was a celebrity, I wouldn’t have been on a cash only deal in Harley Street in between her proper appointments.
I went back again. Then I gave up. The whole process of going to London during school hours on the train was too absurd for a face that I couldn’t afford or maintain.
I had one more go at a clinic off High Street Kensington and haven’t been back since (yet).
The whole point of my experience with Botox and filler was for self-improvement. Giving myself a chance to bag a better man but it goes against everything I believe in. We all need love and security but to look fake? Even enhanced, air-brushed isn’t real is it? I was fast approaching 40 and felt that to give myself any chance of not scaring off men (I am always tired) like a haggard old woman might, I would up the anti. It worked. I felt better therefore I smiled more. I attracted a man into my life by circumstance but it was nothing to do with the Botox. I was with him when I had my last appointment with the very well known Dr Dray. He has had clients from all over the world and only comes to London once a week from Paris. The entire experience was terrifying.
I walked into the reception area to be greeted by faces from the front covers of magazines. This is not a good look on a Wednesday morning at 10. I was ‘au naturel’. I usually am and yes, I probably need to have a make-up lesson with Chanel but that’s about as far as it goes. I (stupidly) asked the woman next to me (hands aged 55, face aged 22) what she thought Dr Dray might do. She didn’t stop talking for about 5 minutes by which time I had been given imaginery reconstructive surgery. I nearly cried. I felt so unattractive, old and weary.
Dr Dray, a man you thank profusely over and over again for finding the time to see you- you ARE in fact paying for this appointment but his mobile rings non stop with emergency requests (give me strength) and he darts in and out of the white doors with his dark (very dyed) hair and white coat flapping.
I start my appointment with a carefully thought out consultation with the man himself. I know EXACTLY what I want, Dr Dray, no doubt, sees disaster and wants to smooth it over. I guess with every patient his aim is to reduce lines, any stress evidence and to increase happiness. A huge ask in itself but easily done. The younger looking assistant (a delicious, immaculate looking French man real age 42, face age 19) is to give me ‘vitamin injections’ which over a period of 3 months will make my skin fresh and healthy. A thousand tiny needles in a gun to rejuvenate my skin. Sounded amazing. It hurt like Hell. But it was “vitamins only” so I relaxed as much as you can with a staple gun in your face. I was then given anesthetic cream for the side of my mouth. Ten minutes later, Dr Dray asks me to sit up and he starts injecting filler into the side of my mouth eliminating the crevices that I have always thought were laughter lines and then he puts a tiny bit in the side of my mouth to improve the smile. He gives me Botox in my frown, above my eyebrows and at the top of my forehead. I keep saying, “I want to be able to move my face” and it’s over in a flash. He’s good. He keeps me calm. I was shaking inside thinking “Mickey Rourke. Dear God Please not” I was wanting him to stop and wishing I’d never walked into this ridiculous life of facial insecurities. He left. Told me to stretch my mouth, open my eyes wide, the usual, lie still for 5 minutes with my head elevated, keep moving my face. When I sat up and looked into the mirror, all I saw was blood. Tiny spots of blood all over my face and a puffy, fat mouth area. I freaked out silently and felt the start of a panic attack. The receptionist came in and gave me a glass of water and told me I looked absolutely fine. As she nodded calmly I was analyzing whether she was going to get Dr Dray back to try and reverse the horrors but she didn’t. I left the building trying not to cry, feeling utterly absurd that I ever thought changing my appearance could improve my life. Fuck I was insecure. I called a friend who laughed hysterically down the telephone. I sobbed. I called another friend who calmly asked me if anyone was looking at me in a strange way.
“No more than normal” I squeaked back with a smile. “There you are then. Now keep walking and deep breathing and I bet you look amazing”.
By the time I had bought some new knickers from Gap and got back to my car, I felt better. I caught myself in the rear view mirror as I pulled out of London and I was surprised. I looked really well.
My boyfriend didn’t notice as he walked through the door after work. That’s not necessarily a good thing I know but I knew therefore I didn’t look too much worse. Needless to say, he is no longer my boyfriend and I’m still Hell bent on bumping into a man who likes me for all the stories my natural face tells.
In hindsight, was it worth it? Truthfully? No it wasn’t. The only reason I am glad that I had Botox and filler was to learn what we all know already, Beauty comes from within. It really does. A healthy diet, lots of water, good sleep and no stress. The reality of this is unlikely so it’s down to the individual. I looked better for a long time but then my Mum died and it was irrelevant what I looked like. I think we all miss the point on a daily basis. The pressure to look smooth, thin and happy is immense. Would I have it again? Unlikely but I’d never say never. I am happy and healthy and most importantly, I am 42. I am still single with 2 young children but I want my girls to see me crack a smile or frown in disapproval because I’m their mother. I am not a doll.
Rose is currently writing her first novel ‘Heart on a Window’
ps for those looking for a natural alternative to Botox, check out my new competition!!