My daughter and I were driving in the car the other day and the morning radio hosts were talking about the prevalence of botox. My 18 year old daughter asked whether mom would ever have do that?
My daughter knows that both my wife and I care about our appearance and have a real fear of aging. It’s actually a running joke in the family that we are always adjusting our age downward.
The truth is, we’ve both had ‘work done’. I get filler in my cheeks to compensate for their ‘hollowing out’ as I age. I also get PRP treatment for hair loss — a wicked little procedure wherein they inject your blood plasma back into your scalp through hundreds of little needles. It’s wickedly painful but works really well. My wife, she gets filler and botox every few months to avoid wrinkles. She had considered breast augmentation a few years ago but decided against it, not wanting to have to explain it to our kids and to colleagues.
We definitely own the fact that we are vain. The way we explain this vanity to our kids and to others — we take a lot of care in our mental acuity and physical health, and we take a lot of care in our physical appearance. This explains why we work out a lot and try to dress nicely. But botox, boob jobs, cosmetic surgery — this seems like a different kettle of fish.
So when my daughter asked if my wife would get botox, I kind of punted it back to her. I asked her what she thought about it. My daughter — my oldest — is a very serious kid. Places a huge focus on academics, has no interest in dating, swims and rock climbs a little to stay active. She has only recently started to care at all about the clothes she wears, and shows little concern about her appearance, or the appearance of others. That said, she is incredibly non-judgmental and full accepts that others — as in, all other members of her family — do care about these things. She can actually — cleverly — relate to the vanity of others. She will say ‘I care a lot what others think of me. I want them to see me as smart’… and she fully sees this as her form of vanity.
Back to the botox question. First, she asked me exactly what botox was and what it did. I explained it. Then she asked if there were risks. I explained what I knew of the risks and the likelihood of the risks. After thinking it over for a bit, she said “yeah… I think I would get it if I was older and I cared about not looking old”. I thought that was good of her… she didn’t say she would get it, but said she would if she cared about her aging appearance. She’s a super empathetic kid, and I like the fact that she could relate to those who cared about aging and appearance even if she did not. She said she doesn’t understand why young people get it done, but she understood why older people would.
I asked what she thought about other forms of cosmetic procedures or surgery. She said she sees nothing wrong with it if its not putting the person at risk. For her, it really seemed to turn on ‘if you can do it with no risk, why not’. She did feel, probably rightly, that anything involving actually surgery was a little more serious.
It’s a tricky line. There is so much pressure on young people these days to conform and look ‘a certain way’. I don’t want to encourage that. But I also want to be realistic. We all care about our appearance.
Did I tell her than her mom and I both get work done? I did. Well, I told her I did. I said I hated that I was losing my hair — she knew this. And I said that, in my family, any of the men who are not overweight have wickedly hollowed out faces. She also knew this, so was pretty sympathetic to be being able to ‘fix’ that if I could. I didn’t say whether my wife had work done — botox or otherwise. I figured that was her discussion to have.
I do wonder what she thinks of the fact that I have this work done. If I’m being really honest, she probably thinks I’m a little too vain. But she felt that was before knowing about the hair and cheek treatments. I’m OK with this… she also knows my wife and I put a lot of effort into all parts of our lives. So I think she kind of recognizes we would be the type of people who would do the ‘little extra’ to enhance any part of our lives. This is just a thing we do on the appearance side.
This post was previously published on A Parent Is Born.
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