You may have felt the pressure yourself … to leave those early jobs off your resume (they were so long ago). Or to color your gray hair. Or even to “have a little work done” in the interest of looking younger than you are.
For years, people in highly visible positions—TV anchors, for example, and politicians—have wrestled with the ravages of time. They’d disappear from view every now and then, and return to work, um, refreshed. Not only because they got some rest over vacation.
Increasingly, the pressure to turn back time is on the rest of us too, no matter what kind of work we do.
Job-hunting rules for people over 50 include “make your resume ageless” and “get a makeover.”
Even professionals in their 40s hear the same thing. “Update your appearance.” “Don’t let your resume date you.” A website for lawyers tells attorneys over 40: “Older professionals might do best to focus on small to medium size organizations …”
Yikes! No wonder so many of us worry that our age is an obstacle.
Of course, the people who sell supposed fountains of youth take full advantage of the fear. Used to be, they were always pushing potions and procedures at middle-aged women. Now they target men too—you’ve probably seen the TV commercials about Botox for men. Some people call it Bro-tox.
The guys want to look good on Instagram and Tinder just like women do. And there’s that fear that they’ll be aced out at work by a younger man.
The thing is, some of the people getting these make-you-look-younger injections are not that old. Average age for a Bro-tox guy is 42.
And get this. Dermatologists are suggesting preventive Botox for women in their 30s, and even 20s! They say they can “train” a person’s face and reduce the chances that they’ll develop permanent wrinkles.
Sadly, it’s too late for my face to be trained. I missed out on the ounce of prevention so I went for the pound of cure.
Yes, I succumbed to the siren call of wrinkle reduction. And am I ever sorry.
The idea was a gentle little lift for the forehead, to bring the brows up just a pinch, make my eyes look bigger and soften the lines around them. What’s not to love about that? Plus, lifting the brows would make me look friendlier. Less angry. Less tired. And, of course, less old.
Sadly, the gentle little lift in one facial muscle caused some opposing facial muscle to respond with a firm tug down so my right eyebrow was suddenly pointing at the floor.
“Easy fix,” the doctor said. Naturally, the fix was more Botox. He dealt with my errant eyebrow and for good measure, hit the eleven. (“Eleven” is what they call those two vertical lines that form above the bridge of your nose, between your eyebrows.)
I was waiting for the youthful look the ads promise. Smoother skin, fewer wrinkles and lifted eyebrows. I got an eleven-less forehead, it’s true. But I also got lower eyebrows, wrinkled eyelids and the dreaded droop over my right eye.
Even the commercials mention drooping eyelids or eyebrows as a possible side-effect. Too bad I hadn’t paid more attention to the potential pitfalls of the quest for the face I used to have.
This is the face I have now, drooping eye, mismatched brows, and all. My friends reassure me that it’s not that bad. Here’s what I know: I have to hold up my eyebrow with my left hand to put on mascara with my right hand. And I look angry all the time. (Of course, when I look in the mirror, I am angry…but that’s another story.)
The experts say the injection effects last three to four months, and that should apply to the unwanted effects too. I’m hoping to have my real face back by Christmas, with both of my eyebrows back where they belong.
Or at least back where they were when this headshot was taken a couple months ago. Other people have an “after” picture that beats the “before.” Me? My “before” picture looks a whole lot better, and that’s only partly because of a professional photographer and make-up artist.
You may have had a completely different make-me-look-younger experience, and as always, I’m eager to hear about it. You can tell us your story in the comments below.
For my part, I’ve learned a lesson about messing with Mother Nature. At this stage, I’m just not meant to look like I did years ago. It’s time to accept the face I have, make peace with the impact of the years and, as they say, age gracefully, right?
On the other hand, there’s that thing they do with threads. You know, lifting the forehead and eyebrows with so little downtime…they sometimes call it the “lunchtime lift.” What could possibly go wrong?