What She Said: That’s What Friends Are For

FOR WOMEN, turning 30 is a wake-up call. It dawns on you that the people around you — the ones driving cars, making deals, and showing their boobs in Playboy – happen to be an entire generation younger! It comes on so fast. When you’re an actor, the deck is shuffled and, just like that, you’re replaced by a younger queen. You get offered the far less glamorous roles of wife, mother, and lady who patrols the Cul-de-sac with an Ugg-boots-wearing dog.

The problem? You still feel like a kid. You think: This can’t be happening. I only just started forgiving people for how they treated me in high school. And: Now I’m being tossed out with the trash, written off as a ‘puma,’ and relegated to the C-storyline of some sexy CW show were I play the mom? FUCK. THIS. SHIT. I’m getting Botox!

Here’s the deal with Botox. It’s awesome. The only people that don’t like it are people that don’t get it. Prime example: My husband, Jason. He thinks freezing your face is a gateway procedure. Something that will eventually lead to knives, and lasers, and me looking like my parents. Which is completely ridiculous since I’ve been using lasers waay longer than Botox! So in a selfless effort to appease him, I don’t tell him about it. And aside from one or two occasions where I’ve had to throw myself down a flight of stairs to explain a rogue bruise, or pretend that the environmental stresses of our home life have resulted in a mild case of Bell’s palsy, things have been pretty copasetic. My husband is happy and completely in the dark and I look ever-so-slightly photoshopped.

I was the first of my friends to take the plunge with Botox. But over time, I’ve watched almost all of them succumb to the delicious temptation to stave off nature with injections.

My friend Candice is one year older than me. She’s one of those purists who never really got into makeup. She never needed to. Her skin is porcelain and her eyebrows are full. She’s the type of chick you picture stands in front of a mirror for two seconds and just sort of wills her (never-been-dyed) hair into submission. Nothing about her is forced or fake. So you can imagine my surprise when one night, over dinner, she blurted out: “I think I want to get Botox.”

A warm soothing wave of validation washed over me. Candice wanted to look amazing — like I do. “What were you thinking you needed?” I asked, as if she’d just said let’s take a bath in a tub of Nutella.

“Oh, I don’t know, I wanted to fill in these smile lines and maybe tweak this dent between my eyebrows,” she admitted bashfully.

I offered to take her to my guy.

Candice is so innocent it’s hard not to want to expose her to every depraved thing I can think of. It’s what I picture taking a child to Disneyland must feel like for parents. I wanted to be there to help her, but also to vicariously experience the wonder that comes from seeing a couple CCs of Restayln shot under your skin for the first time.

A dermatology office is like Planned Parenthood for the middle-aged. Nobody makes eye contact, nobody talks, and everyone is guilty of something. After several uneasy minutes of Candice making me swear on my dogs’ lives that I would never tell her husband about our little visit to the dermatologist’s, a nurse walked out to greet us. She escorted us back to an exam room where we waited for Dr. Rosenblatt.

Dr. Rosenblatt is a handsome, hyperactive, narcissist man of unspecified age who, over the course of the last decade, has become Los Angeles’ uncrowned king of injectables.

“They call me the uncrowned king of injectables,” he said as he strutted into the room like he was on a fucking catwalk.

Putting on gloves and grabbing a black marker, Dr. Rosenblatt didn’t ask Candice any questions, he just drew. After Jackson Pollocking Candice’s virginal face, he handed her a mirror.

“So this is what I would suggest. What did you have in mind?” He asked only out of obligation.

“I — uh –” Candice stuttered as she examined her Sharpie tribal face tattoo.

“I don’t think she needs all that,” I interjected. “ We were thinking just some Restylane in her smile lines and a couple drops of Botox between the brows.”

“Oh, is that what YOU were thinking?” Rosenblatt chided. “Okay, fine. You’re the boss,” he said, reminding me that I was in no way the boss.

“That work for you, Candice?” he asked, probably hoping she would take his side.

“I think for now, yes,” she said.

Suck it, Rosenblatt!

The nurse came back in and cleaned the abstract expressionist rendering off Candice’s face. Rosenblatt prepared his syringe of hope and approached us like John Wayne at high noon. “How very Pollock of him,” I thought.

“You gonna hold her hand?” he asked.

Candice clawed into my wrist and answered for me. “Yes, please,” she said, trembling.

With precision, Rosenblatt injected the Restylane and massaged it down each side of her mouth. He then took a separate syringe and injected several dots of Botox into her forehead.

“I have a bit extra so I’m just gonna put it in your crow’s feet. That okay, with you, Jenny?” he asked.

“Sure,” I said, mortified that he just told my friend she had crow’s feet.

Minutes later, the nurse handed Candice back the mirror.

“Wow! This shit is amazing,” she said, blown away by the drastic effects of the filler.

Pleased with his work, and with himself in general, Rosenblatt rattled off his routine advice, “No exercise for the rest of the day, any slight bruising is normal, and if you have an adverse reaction, please call the office immediately.”

Candice nodded and thanked him for his help.

“You’re almost due to come back in, aren’t you Jenny?” he asked sweetly, taking one last jab at me.

“Almost,” I smiled and walked out.

Candice paid her bill in cash and reiterated that under no circumstances should the office ever contact her via phone. One part paranoid and one part elated, she hugged me hard and bid me farewell.

That night, I sat in bed taking pictures of my forehead with my iPhone to ensure it didn’t need further freezing.

“Rosenblatt was just trying to mindfuck me into giving him more money or killing myself,” I grumbled to my dogs. “Oh, PS I swore on your lives today, try not to be mad,” I added.

When Jason came home, I spoke nothing of the occurrence and we fell asleep as the best of friends who tell each other everything.

The next morning, I woke to a series of cryptic texts from Candice urging me to call her immediately, if not sooner. Before I could even get through all the messages, my home phone was ringing.

“Hello,” I answered.

“Oh my god! Oh my god!” Candice sobbed into my ear.

“Are you okay? What’s wrong?” I asked, scared.

“My face!” she cried. “I’m bruised right next to my eye! Nick is going to shoot me!”

Feeling completely responsible, I threw on some shoes and drove to Candice’s house. When I got there she was wearing sunglasses from Nordstrom’s collection for the blind.

“Come in,” she said, as if someone had just died.

We walked into her bathroom, where she unveiled herself. Relieved that the bruise was small, I assured her it would only last a few days and that she’d just need some concealer.

“What’s that?” she said.

Oy vey! I forgot I was dealing with an amateur. Rummaging through my purse, I found a cover up stick that was at least a shade too dark. I mixed it with some baby powder and hoped for the best. Candice went back to freaking the fuck out. “This won’t work! Nick will be more skeptical if I’m wearing makeup! There has to be another way.”

“Okay, well in my experience I always find the easiest thing to do is lie,” I said. “What could you have done today that might have caused this bruise?”

“Um, maybe something at the gym? It’s just such a conspicuous shape. It looks like a needle was in there.”

She was right, the bruise kind of screamed: I just had face work, I’m afraid of getting old, and I was an extra in the movie DEATH BECOMES HER. We had only one choice… We had to make it bigger. Candice stood in front of me bravely as I cocked my fist back and prepared to slug one of my best friends in the face.

“Don’t break anything!” she warned.

Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes, swung… And hit the wrong eye.

“Candice!” I screamed.

“You got the wrong side!” she barked.

“I’m left handed!” I reminded her.

We both looked in the mirror at Candice’s rapidly swelling right eye. Not only did she look like she was recently Botoxed, she also looked like she had been mugged and possibly raped by a really small doctor with no upper body strength. This is how I picture those botched jobs you always hear about on the news. The only thing missing was a bathtub full of ice and a note saying, “I gotcha Kidney!” More afraid of her husband’s judgment than physical pain, Candice demanded that I finish what I started and clock her other eye.

“This is a terrible idea. Are you sure?” I asked, hoping she wasn’t sure.

“Jenny! If you don’t do this for me,” she started.

Before I gave her time to think, I knocked her in the face with my less graceful right fist. “This better bruise!” she said, looking in the mirror like some sort of masochistic freak. I was horrified by my behavior, shocked by what had transpired, and I was unable to say anything except, “The first rule of fight club is: We don’t talk about fight club.”

Candice erupted into laughter, then shrieked in pain and ambled to the kitchen for ice.

Later that evening, Jason got a phone call from his good friend Nick, Candice’s husband. I was too nervous to eavesdrop so I buried my head in a book and turned up the TV. His face was grave when he entered the room.

I was horrified by my behavior, shocked by what had transpired, and I was unable to say anything except, “The first rule of fight club is: We don’t talk about fight club.”

“I just got off the phone with Nick,” he started.

Fuck, she cracked under the pressure. I should have known she was out of her league in the lies and deception department, I thought.

“I guess Candice’s trainer dropped the bench press bar on her face today at the gym. They’re cancelling dinner this weekend because she has two black eyes.”

“Really! That’s insane,” I said, relieved.

“Why don’t you look surprised?” he asked.

“No, I am! Baby, that’s just my face.” I reassured him. “See, I knew I didn’t need anymore Botox,” I said smugly to the Dr. Rosenblatt in my head.

Once Jason was fast asleep, I texted Candice to congratulate her on pulling off her story. This was the response I got: “What do you think I’d look like with a boob job?”

 

Jenny Mollen Biggs is an actress and writer living in Los Angeles with two poodle angel muffins and an asshole miniature pinscher. She also has a husband. Keep up with her at IMDB or on Twitter @jennyandteets.

Related on The Smoking Jacket:
What She Said: Faking Seizures for the Sake of the Dog
What She Said: Blood on the Couch: A Tale of Making a Good First Impression
What She Said: Jenny and Her Husband Get a Whore

 

 

 

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