It’s been three years now since I first ventured into the magic world of cosmetic surgery. I had tried collagen years before but was not impressed by the results, but now decided to give cosmetic surgery another try and get my face in sync with my new, hard earned body. Plus the local center was running a blue light special: “second vial of Botox half off.” I had some extra interest income I could use to pay off one of my credit cards or shoot up my face. I decided on the latter. And just to dispel the notion that this is mostly a gay boy thing, one out of five cosmetic procedures are now being done on men, many of whom need to look good to compete in the work-a-day world.
The offices were just off the beach in one of those sleek, all glass professional buildings. My “consultant,” no spring chicken and proud of all the work she had had done on herself, stared at my face intently as I rattled off for her all my petty, childish “needs.” Ah, we’re so honest with people we’ll never meet again. The fine lines around the eyes, the deepening crevices on the forehead, the sagging skin under my eyes. I told her I didn’t want to go under the knife. Could any of these new injectables I kept hearing about, “juva” this and “refresha” that, do the trick?
She was equally honest with a smile. She explained that Botox was still the gold standard and would do wonders for the fine lines and the brow. (Funny how something that could kill you could also make you look young.) But there wasn’t much they could do for the bags (which are fat pockets) under the eyes without surgery, though Juvaderm could lift everything up and, at least, lessen the sag. All for $1500 after the discount. The price was right (even if the shit only lasts 6 months to a year), and I was pleasantly surprised to hear there was at least something they could do for those bags. So I scheduled my appointment for the following Thursday.
I didn’t think much about my upcoming encounter with Ponce de Leon’s Fountain of Youth until the day before my appointment for my procedure when, suddenly, visions of all those B horror movies from the thirties rushed into my brain. What if something went wrong and I ended up worse than I started? Shouldn’t I thank my lucky stars I looked younger than my years and not tempt fate? No matter what they did, I’d never look 25 again. Nor did I want to.
I was ready to whip out my cell phone and cancel the appointment driving that morning to my “touch-up” with my plastic surgeon but walked into my role as if it were all happening to someone else. I actually waited in the private room longer than it took to do the whole procedure which, unlike my collagen episode, was performed by a real live doctor. He was a pleasant sort of a guy, very patient and understanding, explaining every step of the way as he poked at my face. How with men, killing too much brow line looks ridiculous, so only half strength Botox was used there. After that, he moved on with the Juvaderm for those sags. Just a few more pinches and it was over.
Both my consultant and the doctor explained that the Botox would take a week or so to show its full effect, but that the results of the Juvaderm were immediate. So was the slight bruising and swelling on my face from all that prodding which took a few days to disappear. (Thank God for large framed glasses.) But I have to admit, I was pleased with the results the moment I walked into the bathroom at home and stared at myself coldly for the first time since leaving the surgeon. I had fought off looking into my car’s rear view mirror the whole way. Those fine lines were almost gone and my eyes definitely looked refreshed and without all that “Sudden Change” topical collagen I had been using by the quart the last few years.
Since I don’t know many people in Lauderdale well, there was no one to give me some indication that all this had been worth it. Nor was I snaring any better quality tricks than I had had before my little procedure. No, the validation of sorts came a few months later when I flew back to New York for my nephew’s wedding, and my sister, five years my junior, upon seeing me for the first time in almost a year, exclaimed, “Shit, you don’t look a day over 50!”
Since my first baptism of fire three years ago, I’ve gone back twice more, first just for a “touch-up” of botox shots, then for some more Radiesse to at least forestall the inevitable sags of Mother Gravity. But while my consultant promised a shelf life of 16 to 18 months for the Radiesse and about six months for the botox, I found both shelf-lives to be half that. A friend of mine is saving his pennies to fly to Costa Rica or Brazil where you can get a complete facelift and tummy tuck for a fraction of what it costs here in the states, all while “vacationing” at some resort while you recover.
All I want to know is have they got some Latin hotties on payroll to take care of clients while we’re all bandaged up?