My wife is beautiful and I tell her so all the time. But a few years ago her face started looking different. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why at first, but after some tactful questioning she came clean. I listened, surprised and shocked, as she admitted that she had been getting injections of Botox and filler into her face to smooth out the wrinkles and make her face look younger and plumper.
At first I couldn’t believe it – surely this was the kind of thing that rich and famous celebrities went in for; footballers’ wives, not my mother-of-three stay-at-home spouse. But I also felt a little sad to find that she was so unhappy with her appearance that she had resorted to this.
I told her that I thought she looked wonderful for her age (59) and that I still found her every bit as attractive as when we first met. I also said that I didn’t think her face needed any “work done”. Apparently though, I was wrong – or at least my opinion didn’t count for much. She insisted that what she was doing was as normal as getting your hair done and that all of her friends were doing it too.
Perhaps I was just being naive. I hadn’t really ever considered that these injections were so widely popular and accessible. Models, TV stars and celebrities maybe, but why her?
After the initial revelation I also became more aware of the phenomenon in the media and spotted adverts for local clinics online. I began to notice the overly smooth brows and plump lips of so many “normal” – that is, not rich and famous – women at work and when we were out. I noticed, too, that my wife seemed to be going for one procedure or another every few months.
If I’m honest I was, and still am, baffled as to why she feels the need to do this. We’ve been happily married for more than 25 years and both keep ourselves fit and healthy. We don’t look like we did when we first met, but I think we’ve both aged well, and naturally.
I’ve tried to explain that I really don’t think she needs to change her face, but every time I do she gets upset and says that at her age women need all the help they can get. I can see that these processes are undoubtedly giving her a confidence boost, but I can’t help feeling deeply saddened that the beautiful features which made her unique are disappearing.
The laughter lines around her eyes which have looked back at me so many times have gone and the wrinkles on her brow that I see when she’s cross are also no longer visible. Instead her face seems unnaturally smooth and expressionless. Her lips seem fuller than they were and the skin of her face is taut, but it’s like part of her has gone. When we watch TV together I feel she’s morphed into the generic face of so many others we see on the box.
Whenever I gently try to suggest she eases off she insists that she’s only making the best of herself and how is it any different to getting her hair dyed and her nails done? I’m not worried about the hundreds of dollars she spends on all the appointments and treatments – we’re not rolling in money but we can afford it.
What really worries me is that she’s not comfortable in her own skin. I thought that my love and reassurance would show her that it’s okay to age naturally, but it seems nothing I can say will make her change her mind.