One weekend a year my son and I hang out. It’s the Reader’s Digest version of our lives condensed into a matter of hours, but hours that count. We like going to a local casino hotel because it offers the low key atmosphere we prefer, plenty of food, drink, and talk time. However, this year all the rooms were booked on our weekend of choice due to a pow wow celebration. Undaunted, we selected another hotel in another area of the state and headed off.
When I approached the front desk the woman began taking my information with studied precision. Click, click, click. Her fingers flew over the keyboard as she rattled off questions about length of stay, the car I was driving, and so on. She never looked up from her computer screen, so her next question took me by surprise. Glancing side to side conspiratorially, she lowered her voice and said, “Can I ask you a personal question? You don’t have to answer me.” Intrigued, I squinted my eyes and slurred out the word, “Suuuuuure.”
I couldn’t imagine what question would prompt the whispers and furtive looks. She bowed her head and waited until another customer passed by. “Have you had your lips…you know…done?” I gave a laugh that was a bit too loud and shook my head. “No. I have not. In fact my lips were a source of ridicule from my mother and brothers while I was growing up. They called me banana lips, and it was not a point of pride.” The woman frowned. The reason she was asking was because she had lost 125 pounds several years ago and her skin had gone slack. Now, at age 50, she was ready to take measures to bolster her self-esteem via Botox, but her children were fighting her. My lips were beside the point. I felt what she really wanted from me was understanding, support, and approval. She had it in spades.
The question about my lips was a woman to woman bridge. I told her I thought she had a beautiful face right here and now, and I meant it sincerely. However, if she was comfortable with injectable youth, and had done her research, I fully applauded her desire to take action. I know there are lines drawn between the age naturally folks and the do what it takes to feel good folks. I’m not here nor there. I’m for women feeling empowered. If that means embracing aging au natural, a new shade of lipstick, or a face-lift, I say be your wild self. Aging comes in all shapes, sizes, and attitudes. Live it on your own terms and glow. Would these lips lie?
I found this quote today and thought of this post:
“I want to grow old without facelifts. I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I have made.”
— Marilyn Monroe
I must be honest and say that I struggle with the idea of a woman or man changing their appearance via cosmetic surgery. I’ve tried to figure out where this bias comes from, and I believe it stems from me wanting to like myself just as I am. Maybe it seems like other people are cheating when they fix themselves with surgery? Or that they should learn to be happy with what they’re given? I’d like to think everyone can love all their quirks.
I really appreciate your opinion on this, Gail. It made me see it in a new and more openminded way! With that said, like Marilyn, I hope to be loyal to the face and body I’m making 🙂
“All of old. Nothing else ever. Ever tried. Ever failed. No mtater. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” Samuel Beckett