Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Woman goes mad with needles

From the Times. Is there a woman over forty who has not played around in her mind with the idea of a little injection here, a teeny bit of filler there? Twice I have made appointments and cancelled them. This woman went ahead

Things only got weirder after we moved on from playing with needles in NY, to LA, where we flirted with knives and lasers. I was on the rollercoaster, it was a thrilling ride and, my, there was a hell of a lot more of it to go before I was going to get off.

It was pathetic how quickly I went from someone determined to embrace ageing with some grace, to someone who was willing to let a fairly inexperienced doctor remove some fat from my backside, take it to a lab, separate out the stem cells and then inject it back into my ageing, sunken cheeks, up through the inside of my mouth, while also, seeing as he is up there and has got me under a general anaesthetic, getting the knife out and “redraping” the sagging skin under my eyes like a pair of old curtains.

The fat transfer didn't happen. A chance phone call at the last minute, telling me that nobody should work on me following the Sculptra injections, made me call off the procedure that could have left me looking ridiculous. Looking like a freak, I always thought, would keep me away from cosmetic enhancement, but in America, you meet countless women who look weird, yet think they look great. I reckon it's easy to join them. Perhaps I already have.

When you monkey about with what nature intended, things do go wrong. The Restylane in my top lip has slipped - there's a funny lump that shouldn't be there. Since the Fraxel laser therapy on my eyes (performed in LA by Dr Persky), the aforementioned tuna tatare has faded and, certainly, my eyes look less baggy, but, still, seven weeks on, they are a weird brown colour. My forehead is glassy and does not move. A glassy brow is not considered good Botox, but I now like this egg-like badge of self-inflicted paralysis. I may go back for more.

People have commented, constantly, on how well I look, and it started the moment I walked out of Brandt's office, when the sound man told me: “You're a real Manhattan girl now. You look awesome.” Even Anna Davies, the serious, Oxbridge-educated, bluestocking director, liked my lips. My best mate, P, who I had thought would be mildly disgusted, said: “You look great. I haven't seen you like this since the mid-1990s.”

Once you are inside, it's hard to get out. At a certain point, the Botox won't be effective enough, and it will be time for an eye-lift, a neck-lift, a face-lift and so on. If you want to be dramatic about it, you could say that injectables are the weed to surgery's heroin. More pragmatically, if you're going to play the self-improvement game, you had better accept you're in it for life. Boob jobs last only 10 years; eye jobs require volumising materials to be injected regularly into the under-eye area to stop you looking hollow.