“Botox Billy is out of filler again,” I said while furrowing my brow in the mirror at my friend Madge. We were comparing frown lines and stressing out because our favorite anti-aging guru was out of product, and heading out of town.
Botox Billy was the guy for aesthetically pleasing facial preservation, and I needed attention immediately. There’s no telling the lengths a haggard woman will go to in order to get her botuslim fix. Madge could wait for Billy’s botox services, but I could not. I am openly vain and neurotic about how much movement my forehead has, despite the fact that I’m fairly low maintenance when it comes to getting glammed up for a date.
“I need to look younger ASAP,” I said in a tone that even I found annoying.
“You should go to Doctor H.,” Madge said. “He’s great. I went to him once when my friend Melissa was dating him.”
“Why don’t you go back to him?” I asked, immediately suspicious.
“Things didn’t end well with Melissa, I think she broke his heart. After their third date he gave her 20 units for free,” she explained.
“I’m sure he received full compensation,” I joked. “But I think I’d rather pay financially than physically.”
But as we proceeded to cyberstalk Doctor H. on Facebook, my tune began to change; it turned out he was pretty cute. A photo of him on a boat named The Holy Smokes (strewn with bikini-clad women laying on its deck) revealed a decent body—one that could almost make me forget how much men with boating obsessions annoyed me. After years of working in nightclubs I’d had my fill of hearing about luxury yachts (or planes, or race cars, for that matter). I knew too many men like this already. Usually, they preferred to have a woman on their arm that would be seen and not heard—a position I would never be comfortable in. But I could give Doctor H. credit for being a people pleaser. Based on his Instagram account, he was rightfully proud of his work. He’d posted hundreds of photos with good looking women, supposedly unfiltered, bragging about how fantastic his services were.
“I say go and buy a few units, flirt it up and see what happens,” Madge suggested. “Melissa looked amazing, until they broke up. It’s almost as if he hexed her, she hasn’t looked as good since.”
Thinking for a moment, she added, “Just don’t mention that you know her, or me. I’d hate for him to mess up your face.”
I skeptically made an appointment. I did not plan to embark on a romance, but his hype was intriguing. And he had stellar Yelp reviews, all of which vowed that his bedside manner was amazing and that he delivered staggering results.
The next week, as I took a seat in his waiting room, I felt overwhelmed and underdressed next to the women around me. Each one looked somehow the same, reminding me of the heavily filtered wannabe models you see on Instagram. Their faces were plastered with layer upon layer of mascara and liquid lipstick that would have to be removed with rubbing alcohol. All were likely cocktail tanners—hopping from a tanning bed to a spray salon to make their orange colored skin look as perfect as possible. I sat there pale and squeamish, not because I was nervous about the looming procedure, but because I felt like an ancient artifact next to women who surrounded me. I laughed at the flit of romance that had drifted through my head while online stalking Doctor H. He definitely wouldn’t have any interest in someone like me—someone his own age. Not when his waiting room was overflowing with jailbait hotties from which he could pick and choose.
Eventually I was called into the examination room. Doctor H. entered with a bedside manner so soothing, I would have crawled into bed with him, right there and then.
“What are we having done today, gorgeous?” he asked me, as he tilted my face towards the light to examine my skin.
“Botox. My glabella lines,” I said confidently. “I also wouldn’t mind a touch of something above the brow, but I want to keep my arch.”
“I like a woman who knows what she wants,” he said. “You’re making my job easier.”
“That’s probably because I’m older than half of the girls in here. I’ve had enough botulism in my system to kill a country,” I laughed.
“God, I can’t stand the young ones,” he said, rolling his eyes. “Their faces have barely any creases to work with, but you—your face has lived!” he said a little too excitedly. “It’s a magnificent canvas for me to work with, and your spirit is so vibrant.”
But there was something other than flattery tinging this enthusiasm. He managed to get away with complimenting my wrinkles while insulting me a little at the same time. But, I thought, isn’t that what the beauty business is all about? You’re constantly told you look good, while simultaneously reminded that you could look even better.
Doctor H. clearly had the knack of appealing to your vanity while knocking you down a peg, making sure you feel like you need him in order to be your most confident, attractive self.
“Come back in two weeks when everything has settled and we’ll give you a touch up,” he said. “And give me your number so I can check in on you,” he added nonchalantly, pulling out his phone. Anyone who’s had botox knows that a doctor has no reason to follow up with you after a procedure. But I wanted to indulge in the fantasy that Doctor H. saw me as something other than a well-lived canvas and his pay day. So I gave him my number, paid for my units, and went on my way.
I met up with Madge immediately to fill her in on my visit. She laughed as I recapped the experience.
“Are you going to go out with him?” she asked.
“Oh please, he’s not going to ask me out on a date,” I said. “I’m above his age range. Wasn’t Melissa 23?” But wouldn’t you know it, at that very moment my phone vibrated, alerting me to a text message from an unknown number.
“It was lovely meeting you today. Sorry for being so forward, I usually don’t do this, but could I take you out for dinner sometime? -Doctor H.” it read.
Madge looked at me in shock. “Are you going to go out with him, now?”
“Why not?” I shrugged, as I composed a quick response and pushed send. Was this a typical move by Doctor H.? Something to ensure repeat business? I’d find out soon enough, as I watched the little dots percolate in iMessage, indicating that he was writing back.