groupon gone wrong

I just got a freaking Groupon for BOTOX. Wow, apparently it is right up there with half priced take out food. It’s botulism. If that doesn’t skeeve you out, nothing will. But in the 19th century, women used arsenic to make their face appear more white and translucent.  (What you think the play Arsenic and Old Lace had no inspiration from real life?) The down side is they shortened their life span and often poisoned themselves and others.

I prefer my face unfrozen, thanks. But throughout the centuries women have been doing dumb things to make them look more appealing including:

  • Lovely ladies of the Middle East used to grind up lead – which causes metal poisoning – and apply it to their lashes, eyebrows and eyelids.
  • Women in Edwardian England would gladly swallow a slimy tapeworm to keep themselves slim and trim. The parasite would digest most of the food the women ate, and it also destroyed their health.
  • Beautiful blonde highlights in the hair were achieved by Venetian ladies who poured lion urine on their tresses before sitting out in the sun.
  • Italian ladies of the past used to apply deadly nightshade to enhance their eyes. The poison dilates the pupils and makes people’s peepers look enormous and glowing.
  • In the England of Queen Elizabeth I, great beauties of the time owed the rich red color of their lips to bugs. The squashed remains of insects were rubbed on the mouth for a ruby-red luster. Face painting with white lead powder was also popular in Elizabeth’s time. The beauty secret caused the premature demise of a number of 16th century lovelies.

I remember when I was a media relations volunteer for the RNC2000,  I watched Larry King come up an escalator after disembarking from a train.  He looked like a praying mantis his face was pulled so tight from plastic surgery and what not. I also saw Joan Rivers in an office in NYC once.  She was enough to give you nightmares.  She was like grandma of Chuckie.

Having lived on the Main Line for enough years, I am always amazed by who is getting what work done.  Some of these women are so carved up and frozen with puffy over injected lips that they look like frozen death mask caricatures of themselves. I even saw a woman yesterday out here in Chester County who looked like the crypt keeper, she had obviously had work, but somewhere it had fallen short and she was a very odd-looking late middle-aged woman.  She might have even been around 70. (Of course she is nothing compared to the woman who got out of her car dressed to the nines from the waist UP, but from the waist down had dirty ripped Capri pants and walked into the bank to use the ATM machine in BARE feet.  It wasn’t THAT warm yesterday.)

Now what does this have to do with what I usually write about?  Nothing, it’s just a pet peeve.  I am not saying that women should let themselves go and buy orthopedic oxfords and slip a cardigan or shawl around their shoulders and be done with it, but whatever happened to aging gracefully?  Age appropriate matters in adults too.

As a breast cancer survivor I have taken a new look at a lot of things women do to beautify.  I read the labels now to try to keep parabens and sulfates down to a dull roar.  It made me rethink hair color.  I use all natural deodorants like Tom’s or the Crystal as a result now.

Pre-breast cancer I did not color my hair much or often, and when I did it was a semi-permanent choice of color.  But I can’t seem to get my head wrapped around all the chemicals in hair color and putting them back into my body, so this summer I decided to just stop coloring my hair.  I have seen some amazing looking women lately doing this, so I figured why not?  Am I ashamed of my age? No, because I am not old.  But I am not 18 anymore, either. So now my hair is flecked here and there with shining strands of silver.

Will my vanity eventually get the better of me?  I do not know.  I suppose it is what drives these women in part to inject poison into their skin and get those awful peels that make them look like shiny moist glass bottles. And maybe they don’t find it disturbing that their faces are in effect frozen, making them look like blank staring department store mannequins, but I do.

We don’t have to go to hell in a hand basket as women (or men too for that matter), but the whole idea of discount botulism like discount cupcakes and discount take out food?  Yikes. I think a Groupon for Botox is just a Groupon gone wrong.

What happened to aging gracefully?  And age appropriate in adults?  It is not so simplistic as to say all these men and women choose these options to simply look their best.  I think it also has a lot to do with massive insecurity and societal misperceptions.

I am not perfect.  Do I wish I looked 18 some days? of course, it is human nature.  But truthfully?  I am much happier now than I was at that age.  And yes I have my vanities.  My hair is one of them.  But living life well doesn’t mean you have to be sliced and diced and hopped up on injectables does it?  Is that how we define ourselves? I mean is it just me or do you get annoyed by women who complain about wrinkles yet used to baste in the sun like a rotisserie chicken indiscriminately?

Or have you ever been around men and women who are obsessed by how large or small someone is? I know a few women who are just flat-out obsessed with the appearance of others, especially when it comes to things like weight and make-up. If a woman is not unnaturally thin with full frontal make-up at all times she is letting herself “go”.  Yet I am amused by those who are the largest critics because I think they would crumple up and die if you challenged them on their hair color, or say their choice in lipstick colors. And when it is a man doing the criticizing and you look at them and see the 1970s is calling and wants their haircuts back, and you wonder why some people wear so much plaid, you just have to shake your head in wonderment.

Poor little Groupon….I am afraid it has opened up Pandora’s box.

Any thoughts here? Natural or artificial?  Do you appreciate who people are for who they are or do you only appreciate them by the cumulative dollars they have spent on themselves?

Weigh in.