Offbeat Home, I have a question for you. I’m nearing 40, and while I think aging is pretty cool, and like how I look these days (I’m in better shape than I was in my 20s!)… I don’t like the furrows between my eyebrows. It’s less that they make me look old… and more that they make me look mad!
I got a Groupon for Botox and decided I wanted to try it. Afterwards, I told my husband and he got really upset! He told me he liked my face the way it was (aww…) and that he really didn’t want me “doing that” to my body.
My response was, “Ok, but it’s my body.”
I want to respect my husband’s request, but at the same time I feel like this is my choice to make. I did a ton of body modifications in my 20s (tattoos, facial and genital piercings) and in some ways this is the same thing… Except of course it’s not because it’s compensating for aging, and my husband doesn’t want me to do it.
I know most Offbeat Homies are younger than me, but can we talk about this?
Such a meaty question, finding us somewhere at the intersection of aging, body modification, feminism, and spousal relations. For some of us, recreational body modification might feel fun, while “corrective” body modification might feel gross. We talked about feminism and bikini waxes a while back, but this gets even more complex because it’s tied to aging, and the value our society places on youthfulness in women. And body ownership! If you want to modify your body’s appearance, how much say does your partner have? What about when there are medical risks?
We have no answers, but we LOVE the question. Homies, want to have your say?
Comments on Wait, is offbeat Botox a thing?
I don’t think anyone can tell you whether you should do botox or not (nor do I think you’re asking for our opinion on the matter). What I will suggest, however, is that you think about why you don’t like the lines on your face and then ask your partner why he doesn’t want you to “do that to your body.” He may have already done some research on it and has some insights you haven’t discussed before. There may also be natural ways to reduce lines that may be a good compromise.
I would suggest taking a bit of time to really think through exactly why you want the Botox. Which I would say to anyone. It sounds like you have thought about it a lot, so this may just be a check in. If, as you said, the issue is that the way your body changed has made you look mad and that bothers you, have you talked about that to your husband? I personally would see a difference between “I just don’t want to look older” and “I look angry and that is not me.”
My dude and I have come to a lot of compromises when it comes to what we do to our bodies. I have requested that he not get naked or semi-women as tattoos because during sexy fun times, I don’t want to be in an awkward situation there. But otherwise, we tend to talk about what we want and agree. He has done some apprenticing so we both are picky about tattoos. Piercings are the same. I make the choice, ultimately, if I want a piercing, but he gets to voice his opinion.
Hair, on the other hand, we are both way more hands off. He likes longer hair on me and I hate it. I currently have the sides of my head buzzed and hair only on the top. He’s requested I not get more of my head buzzed, but aside from that, it’s my hair. Equally, his hair is halfway down his back. I really wish it were shorter, more shoulder length. But it’s his hair. He has a full beard and mustache. I’m not a huge fan, but it’s his face. I can request trimming of it (because kissing mustache is not my thing) or suggest he trim it closer to his face on the sides, but he gets to decide what to do.
But for our wedding, I was considering false eyelashes. Dude said no. Adamantly no. I can add colour, punch holes, trim (or not) what I’ve got, but he didn’t want me adding something false. I abided by that. Because, honestly, it isn’t a huge deal to me and I just used lots of mascara. If I wanted to do something major to my body that was a cosmetic thing, we’d be talking about it. Tattoos would be okay (as long as he was cool with the content) but shots, surgery, etc, we would need to agree if it wasn’t for health reasons. Because it is my body, but he loves it too.
If I felt like I would regret not doing it, I would explain it to him. It’s fair to explain that you really do feel like you need to do something because you are not happy and there is no non-medical way to do it. But if you would prefer it but don’t feel like you’d resent him, then that’s where choice really does come in.
“Because it is my body, but he loves it too.”
You get to make all the decisions as to what you do to your body. Period. However, your partner’s insistence that he loves you the way you are is a refreshing reminder that other people see you as beautiful, regardless of how you feel.
Sometimes it takes time to mentally grow into your skin though. I started graying in my teens and died my hair up until I was in my early thirties. Then, after several friends had mentioned how lovely my hair might look if I stopped dying it, I bleached out all of the brown dye and started growing out the silver. I’m now in my mid-thirties and have really long silvery hair. It’s something I’m immensely proud of and feel like it’s a seriously lovely part of my being. I couldn’t have felt that ten years ago. It’s also helped me become a lot more comfortable with the fact that i’m aging. Also, there’s no upkeep (I had to touch up my roots every other week to keep up appearances – you may fall into a similar trap with the Botox since it’s not a permanent fix).
Now, i’m not saying that you should not do Botox, do it. Feel youthful and lovely and everything. But, remember, you ARE aging, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You’re trading one kind of beauty for another and that’s something that eventually you will have to grow comfortable with. Good luck!
Is there a compromise here? Botox isn’t a permanent thing, so could you agree to try it once and then discuss whether you’ll do it again based off how much it actually changed things for you (like confidence) and how much it changed things for your other half (like how you visually changed)?
If it helps, I have one single furrow between my brows which my other half references as my grumpy face and I’m only 22 (23 in 2 weeks). I currently attempt to hide it behind a fringe. However it makes me look grumpy/angry/confused when actually all I’m doing is thinking or trying to focus my eyes. I have a serious case of bitchy resting face!
I totally second the “Botox isn’t permanent” point–on both sides of the discussion! Most doctors will tell you that it lasts between 3 and 6 months, depending on the strength of the muscles involved (at which point, muscle function returns and the crease gradually begins to reappear.) I think the fact that you can change your mind about using Botox is great. But if you decide it’s exactly what you want, are you ready to commit to what I imagine is at-least-annual injections? If frown lines creep up, will you want to consider relaxing those?
I think you need to ask your husband head-on what he means by “doing that”. If he means “using botulism to paralyze part of your face”, you should have a discussion about the safety of Botox and alternative options. If he means “cosmetic surgical alteration of your face”, it’s time to talk values and your differing perceptions of what cosmetic work entails, emotionally, socially and more.
Spot fucking on. You’ve articulated my feelings exactly. On the scale of nothing to full plastic surgery, Botox is way closer to nothing.
Have a chat with him and make sure you both have a chance to lay out your precise feelings.
This is all based on the premise that in a good marriage we need to take care of ourselves first before we can be a loving and caring partner.
And so maybe it’s just my relationship with my hubby, but we are both open and accepting to each other’s desires to “look good.” How we look is intricately entwined with how we feel about ourselves. And we want each other to feel good about our own bodies.
So I guess if either one of us wanted botox, we would start the conversation with “Why?” and “How do you expect it to make you feel?” If either or both are for positive changes, then we don’t push back (unless we have some seriously legit medical concerns). Obviously we both acknowledge our individual opinions on the subject, and because we care for each other’s feelings, we may take the other’s opinion into our decision – but it’s not the deciding factor.
If the original commenter thinks botox will make her feel better about herself, I say go for it. Because when you feel good about yourself, you are a more whole and happy person in your marriage.
I’m in my 20s, so maybe I’m not the appropriate person to address this, but I guess here’s my two cents.
For me personally (and this is subject to change, since I’m all of 25), it’s not the anti-aging aspect that bothers me, it’s the specific modality. If it was microdermabrasion or something else I’d probably feel less icky about it. Botox just gives me bad crinkle because it’s botulism you’re injecting into your face. I mean, I know it’s ostensibly safe and all that and it’s not really botulism, but it kind of is. Plus all the bad Botox horror stories. That ooks me out.
I’m also not a fan of plastic surgery but only because I have a deathly fear of being cut open. It FREAKS me out. Just for me personally, if someone else wants it, whatever’s clever.
That said, I don’t like the idea of my partner telling me what to do with my body. I definitely want to take his opinion into account and I respect his input, but it would have to be a discussion and not a proclamation. It would be different if it was in extreme contradiction to your values (i.e. Aging is beautiful! I will age without resorting to things like Botox, blah, blah, blah) then I could definitely see him raising his hand and sort of asking me to check myself during what might just be a bad self esteem moment.
I think what’s different about body modification and aging that makes it feel icky is that it seems like women do it because of societal pressure to look young, whereas with other forms of body mod, it’s almost the opposite. While tats and piercings are less taboo than they used to be, they definitely aren’t part of the beauty standard of the western world at large.
The pressure to look young is so overwhelming and pervasive that it might be hard to say whether or not you would truly want it, outside of that pressure and the values of our times, because the reality is that we didn’t grow up in bubbles outside of those things.
Either way, if you do get Botox, I hope that it comes out the way you want, and if you don’t, I hope you see past the furrow in your brow.
It IS actually Botulinum toxin! But the difference between medicine and poison is the dose. I’m not sure if that will make it better or worse for you, just a different perspective.
I’m the nearing 40 age range, and not liking the 11’s between my eyebrows I got botox. Its my body, I can do what I want. Husband tried to talk me out of it. Saying I didn’t need it and what not.
I don’t feel I look younger, I do look better rested and not angry all the time. Husband doesn’t notice the lack of lines but does notice that I look happier. I am a happy person, and I would rather look happy than angry any time.
I would though suggest having a dr do it, which is what I do, rather than someone who may not have that level of training. But totally your call
The thing that squicks me out about Botox is that it limits the range of emotion that your face can express. That being said – its a personal decision. It’s just not one I would make.
If you’re only treating the lines between the brows as I have the only limit to my expression is that I cannot frown easily. When properly done it takes up to two weeks to freeze only stays frozen solid for two weeks and then relaxes out. Its been a month since my last treatment, if I tried hard to frown I can, the muscle is just relaxed so much that it takes too much effort to frown.
I’m close to 40, and I suffer from Bitchy Resting Face made worse by big frowny furrows on my brow. I do think they make me look crankier than I actually am. I would not get Botox for them, because I find the concept creepy. But I have several friends who do get Botox for different reasons, and I do not judge or fault them. It is your face. You should do what you want.
Maybe talk to your spouse and find out what his specific concerns are. Maybe it’s that he’s worried about the concept of the Botox itself. (I grew up home canning, so just the word “botulism” freaks me out a little bit.) Maybe he’s seen the bad Botox horror stories, and fears you’ll end up with a strange frozen face. Obviously you want to talk to him about it and see if the two of you can come to some kind of understanding. But in the end I think you are the one who gets to decide what does and does not get done to your body, so if you want it go for it. It only lasts a few months anyway, so if you hate it it’s not permanent.
My husband said the same thing. All husbands I know have said the same thing. All wives I know did it anyway. Those lines suck, and getting rid of them is no big deal and totally reasonable. It’s expensive though, but I am very happy without that squinch between my eyes (I also do my crows feet too). I’m 40. Assure him this is all you’re doing, you’re not modifyiing anything…just smoothing. you wont start futzing with the way you look/shape of your face etc. Just smoothing out some crinkles.
All hubbies flip about it. They dont know how it feels, they dont spend 20 min a day with a mirror 10 inches from their face doing makeup, tweezing etc so they dont see the stuff we see up close every day so they cant understand our concern as things start to crunch up.
Do you guys think women are more likely to do it if another woman in their social group does it?
Yup. I almost definitely won’t do it until one of my friends does. I don’t like being the first. ie I’ve been thinking about lasic vision correction for 8+ years now, but I’ve waited, saw my brother have it done, then a friend, then my mom, now I feel like I can handle it.
So though I don’t want botox now, if a few friends did it in a way that seemed reasonable to me, I might give it a go (not now, but when I feel like I’d “need” it).
edited to add: I appreciate the OffBeatHomies who revealed their age. I’m 33 and I live in NYC. Also I do have one friend (32) who has had botox done, but she has also had breast implants done 5 years ago, now works at a plastic surgery office and has had something done/injected to give her trout-pout. So I consider her more of a statistical anomaly, and would not let her behavior influence mine.
This is a tricky question that I grapple with myself. I lost a lot of weight and because of that I have twice as much skin on my stomach as I want. It causes irritation and can be annoying. I was considering having an abdominoplasty and my husband was absolutely against it. When I asked him why he said, “Because you’re beautiful and I don’t want you to get CUT!” It led me to realize that yes, although the skin is annoying, the most important person in my life is completely stumped as to why I see it as a flaw.
I agree with the posters above that it’s your body and ultimately, you have to do what makes you happy. But I think that it’s worth asking if botox will make you happy in the long run. It is possible that getting botox may delay you getting comfortable in your own skin, so to speak, if you haven’t get grown accustomed to the lines on your face. It could make it more difficult to adapt to them as you age more, and you might start to feel inclined to pursue stronger measures to retain the face you think you “should” have. Of course, describing it this way makes it sound like I’m giving you some 1950s style warning of botox as the “gateway treatment” that leads to trout pout or something, which wasn’t my intention. 😉 It’s more about asking yourself if the lines negatively impact your life seriously enough to try to change them.
The only thing I will say is that in the ‘normal ‘world I feel pressure to want to conform to some beauty ideal that I find neither beautiful nor ideal, and to hate myself for not being 1/3 my size with flawless skin and hair. In the indie/alternative world, I feel pressure to love everything about my appearance because it’s ‘who I am’, but that’s not true either. There are some things I don’t love, and I am not likely to start loving, and trying to talk myself into loving those parts of me feels counterproductive (as lying to yourself always is) and counterintuitive. I don’t mean here on Offbeat Home, I mean in that general universe of go-against-the-grain people.
I feel there is pressure in that, it’s OK to body mod yourself like mad as long as it’s ‘creative’, ‘artistic’ or ‘rebellious’, but the second you want to do something that a soccer mom living in a McMansion in the Cleveland suburbs would do (no hate on soccer moms! My aunts are soccer moms and they’re wonderful, I’m just trying to portray a different segment of society), it’s all “WHAAAT!!”
And so I’ll say it here: no, I don’t like my belly. No, I don’t like how my eyebrows are low set over my eyes and tend to point downward a bit too much towards my nose. No, I do not like my chunky ankles. No I do not, and that’s OK! I am not obligated to feel comfortable about these parts of my body, or to like them, and you are not obligated to feel comfortable with the furrows between your eyebrows. You have the right to hate them and want to do something about them.
So as far as I’m concerned, it’s your body, botox away. Certainly consider your opinion, but women are fighting the war to total body autonomy for a reason – the final decision is yours.
I hate it when my 64 year old sister gets botoxed; her face looks frozen and she can’t even smile properly, but she loves that it gets rid of the wrinkles around her mouth.
This kind of came up for the boy and I within the past year. I’ve always wanted beautiful, colorful tattoo sleeves; he has never liked the look. We sat down and talked about it (because, my body or not, communication is key). He admitted that, although it was not his favorite look, it would not change how attractive he found me. We’ve had similar discussions about hair length and color (on us both), beard length (him), and what to wear to friends’ weddings. As long as the final decision is in the hands of the one whose body is in question, discussion about it is a way for us to stay open with each other.
I wouldn’t bother with Botox. The only wrinkle-related age request I have is that most of my wrinkles should be laugh lines. On the other hand, why not try it and see whether it is worth the trouble for you? The effect wears off after a few months, I have been told. Maybe you will like it, maybe not.
I know this is going to be unpopular, but I wish you wouldn’t Botox. I just can’t help but see this as a feminist issue. It’s not the same as tatooing, piercing, dying your hair, etc. Botox is specifically to make you look (artificially) younger. And while it might make you feel better about yourself (which is a good thing!) it simultaneously sends the message that looking younger is objectively better. Especially for women.
I wish that rather than saying that feminism means that you can chose to do whatever you want, we said that feminism means that everyone is equally valued. And all the women out there doing Botox are effectively saying that older women aren’t equally valued.
I encourage you to embrace what your husband sees in you – a woman who is aging, but is doing so in a cool, kick-ass way that should make other people want to age in such a way as well. As someone who is equally loveable and valuable at 40 as she is at 20. As someone who has earned those wrinkles on her forehead. Other kinds of body modifications are about sharing outwardly who you are on the inside. Botox feels like covering that person up.
It may not really be about looking ‘older’ though, it may just be an honest ‘I don’t like this thing’. Eyebrow furrows are not necessarily a sign of age. They could be a sign of a stressful life or just be naturally there. I do think it’s OK to admit you just don’t like X or Y thing about yourself (and feeling ‘equally valued’ won’t change that because it’s not about how others see you, it’s about what you want for yourself) and if you can afford to make it into something you do like, then nobody can judge you for that.
If you do decide to do the Botox, please research potential side effects very carefully before you pull the trigger. My further mother in law ended up in the hospital for a few days because they thought she was having a stroke; it turned out the symptoms she was experiencing were side effects from a Botox injection near her eyes.
I need to change ___________ about my appearance to feel ____________.
This sentence can be filled in so many ways. And it’s such a weird mental problem to grapple with. Your emotions come from within, but yet they are influenced by your outside appearance.
I think the test of whether or not you should do something really depends on how you fill in that second blank. It scares me when people I know (or me!) fill in that second blank with adjectives like “better” or “accepted”….or “loved.”
Whenever topics like this come up, all I can think about is the standard that society has set for us. I was REALLY surprised to see this on an “offbeat” site. Botox used to be for celebrities, but now it seems like EVERYONE does it. And when everyone starts to do something, it seems to become the new normal. Once it is the new normal, then people feel BAD about themselves for something that is natural. For example, so many women dye their hair. I remember when my Mom started doing it. Then in college, I started noticing that WOMEN MY AGE WERE GETTING GREY HAIRS. I didn’t even realize this was possible because everyone covers them up, but it’s normal. Another example was that discussion on feminism and bikini waxes. Apparently some women need to do that to feel clean. Now those women have to go to a salon for something as BASIC as feeling clean, when soap used to do the trick, and soap still does the trick for many other women.
I have a lot of feels about women feeling they HAVE to do something to be accepted, desirable, and loved. You don’t have to love every part of your body, but it breaks my heart when women feel inferior for the way their natural body is. And it’s even worse when it’s other women that impose this standard on these women.
Personally, I’ve been noticing the back of my hands look “older” than my friends do. I’m 29. I was starting to feel self conscious, and then I really started thinking about it. My hands are starting to look like my mother’s hands, and when it comes down to it, that’s a freaking compliment. My mom has done a lot with her life, works really hard at her business, has reared three children, cared for countless pets, maintained her marriage, done a lot of volunteer work, etc. When I look at my hands and see the wrinkles starting to form, I see my LIFE. I see summers spent in the sun at camp, physical labor I did as a teenager, the job I have now that requires I wash my hands 30 times a day and dries them out, the vitamin D I’ve absorbed to keep my bones strong, the walks I’ve had with my dog, etc etc. And I’m not even 30, so I know there is a LOT more coming.
I know not everyone looks at it this way, and I could totally change my mind. But for now I am trying to make the decision to accept my body as it changes, rather than being self conscious the rest of my life. And I think the best thing would be to celebrate getting old with my friends, rather than fight it.
ETA: Yeah, this is really long… lots of feels.
I’ve been debating aome of the exact same things because i’ve been thinking of saving up for chin enhancement surgery to fix my weak chin. My husband loves me for who i am but i would rather not end up with the double chin my mother has.
Can I offer you some unsolicited advice? I’ve had three cosmetic surgery procedures (breast lift, breast implants, rhinoplasty) and I’m really glad I went through with them. I am a feminist, so I really struggled for a long time about whether it was “the right thing to do”. I should see value in the body I have! I should rally against the male gaze! Blah blah.
I ignored that little voice and had the surgery done last year in Thailand (which is a whole other ethical dilemma), and I haven’t looked back. Honestly, if it bothers you, change it. If you’re constantly looking at your chin in the mirror the way I looked at my nose, change it. Free up the part of your brain that obsesses over it. It really is liberating. For me it was the first time I ever really felt like I owned my body.
That’s a really nice perspective I don’t hear too often. I still don’t know how I feel about plastic surgery for myself, but I’m about to take the plunge and get the large tattoo I’ve been wanting for years now. I was worried that I might look at it one day and hate it, but honestly, thinking about when I’m 80 years old I WANT to have that tattoo, as a proof that I lived my life. I may have a day or two where I wish I kept my skin the way it was, and that’s okay. I think, on the whole, I will always look at it and be happy I took the risk and marked myself in such a meaningful way. Thank you for putting that into words for me.
I’m 42, and know people who do botox regularly. To me, it takes away so much character from a person’s face. Their eyebrows don’t move the same after the injections between them – and it makes their face look a little wooden… or like something is missing… And if a close friend said they were considering it, I’d question them as to why they felt the desire.
Me personally, I’m not interested in the injections. The lines on my face share a story of the laughter and tears and smiles and scowls and everything I’ve felt and expressed, and I cherish them. But our society puts such an emphasis on looking young and never aging, especially women (look at how young female news anchors are vs men, for example), like we want to live forever, so it’s not surprising to me that this perspective isn’t shared.
The decision is hers to make, but like others have suggested, sit down and have a lengthy heart to heart with husband so both of you understand the reasons why and why not this isn’t something they want or can support.
I’m 28 and have gotten Botox twice and I will keep going. I love what it does for me though nobody else notices. I’ve wanted since I was 13 since that’s when I started developing deep wrinkles on my forehead. I had ptosis that eventually had to be corrected surgically and before my surgery I compensated by lifting my eyebrows to hold my eyes more open. I had my eyelid surgery when I was 22 and then waited 6 years to see of the wrinkles would go away on their own and they didn’t. My fiancé and my mom weren’t super happy but after I got it done they realized that I still had a lot of movement and my face wasn’t frozen in any way. It’s not about looking older, I look young for my age and people still sometimes mistake me for being a college freshman even before I had the Botox. For me it’s about something being on my face that I don’t feel is appropriate for my life, life stage and disposition. No one ever questioned my treating and covering up my freckles (actually sun spots not the cute ones some people have from birth) and acne even though having acne is a thing that most teenagers go through. For me the wrinkles on my forehead were not reflective of my years but of compensation of a medical issue so just like acne I felt they didn’t belong there and I would try methods to get rid of them.
your body, your choice. simple as that. educate yourself about the medical risks involved, then do what makes you happy.
I am normally solidly in the your-body-your-choice camp. However, I do think that you should take your husband’s likes into consideration, NOT that you should ultimately make the decision only based on what he wants. Sometimes, people tell others what to do with their bodies in order to control them, but other times they really just have a preference. I do not like tattoos at all. My husband wants one, but I told him that they turn me off. I will love him whether he gets it or not, but I am glad that at least for now he has held off. I do understand that Botox is a lot less permanent than a tattoo. In the end you, and also my husband, have to do what is right for you.
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