I am not your typical high-maintenance girl. I do love shoes and lip gloss but I prefer to spend my fun money on electronics. Yes, I own one or two of those too, but I’m referring to a MacBook pro, an iPhone, the Flip, etc.
I was standing in the Sherman Oaks home of my friend Carrie Stevens, a Playboy Playmate and proud Botox subscriber and model. I was helping her curl her hair with the newest novelty hair care item. She was on her way to the Playboy Mansion and wanted to look her best for Hef (as if she has to try).
It’s hard enough to simply stand next to a Playmate, let alone side by side, in a mirror! Talking beauty regimes or lack thereof, she stood behind me, placed both her index fingers on each side of my temple, pulled up just a smidge and said, “Botox will take 10 years off your appearance.” OMG! Seriously? I need to look 10 years younger? Who knew?! Certainly not me! I am 42, pretty, petite, and in great shape. I don’t love the fact that I am a 42yr-old single mom, but it sure as hell isn’t because of the way I look! Or is it?
Carrie suggested I make an appointment for a consultation with her doctor, Dr. Bradley Friedman (gr8skin.com). The idea of sticking a needle in my face was as foreign as my daughter’s new-math homework. Although new math made me want to stick a needle in my eye, I wasn’t so sure about doing it voluntarily. Nonetheless, I have to admit something about Carrie’s suggestion piqued my interest.
A part of me wondered if Carrie’s assessment of my appearance was right. A part of me wanted to try the treatments, and a bigger part of me wanted to spit in the pretentious eye of Los Angeles.
After a few conversations with me, myself, and I, I found myself sitting in Dr. Friedman’s waiting room. The décor was made up of rich brown wood, leather and earth tones. Trendy celebrity publications filled the shelves and the benefits of procedures played in a continuous loop on the flat-screen television directed toward clients awaiting their appointments. It was simply a beautiful room to subliminally coax you into wanting to look just as beautiful. I was fidgety. I was conflicted. Oh, and that waterfall fountain babbling in the office, which supposedly invokes calm, felt to me more like water-boarding. I couldn’t help feeling like I was drowning, exacerbated by the noise from the waterfall and my own thoughts and fears about what I was doing.
What the hell? I never succumb to peer pressure. I’ve never disliked my appearance and I’ve never even been to the Hollywood Wax Museum, nor did I want to emulate a wax figure.
“Dani Parker? Hi, I’m Dr. Bradley. Let's get you started.”
Dr. Friedman (who likes people to call him “Doc”) showed me around his office and introduced me to his team of specialists who were informative and kind. He pointed out some of the laser tools his team utilizes. There was, for example, a CO2 RE (resurfacing laser), a Thermage laser (radio waves that stimulate collagen and lift) and, of course, the photo facial laser. My nerves were shot and my head was spinning from the medical terms being used to describe the areas of my face on which these tools would be deployed. Did he really think I was retaining any of his medical mumbo-jumbo? Do women really go to these lengths to slow the aging process? Do men?
Did I find the fountain of youth, and was I going to drink?
Doc probably has 10 years on me but you couldn’t tell because he doesn’t have more than a wrinkle or two. His skin speaks volumes. He is not tan, per se, but his cheeks have that hue of “I just ran a mile but I didn’t break a sweat.” Also, his eyes aren’t sinking; and, apparently, that is my Achilles heel. Clearly, the Doc buys what he sells, but I'm not so easily reassured.
I sat in one of Doc’s treatment rooms. He explained that I carry my age in my eyes and that I should sleep on my back, not on my stomach (Phew, at least I know I’m doing that other thing right!) After a plethora of examples and simple truths about the aging process, the thoughts resonating were: “You look like crap! You’re always going to be single! You look exhausted and, oh, btw, you look like crap!” He did say that I had pretty golden-colored eyes. I suppose he had to butter me up a little.
He took his notepad and wrote up a laundry list of procedures he would like to perform on me. Ha! It would take two life savings to complete all of those procedures. I was floored! How did I really know if I needed all of it, much less any of it? How did I know Doc wasn't selling me the “Single Full-Time Working Mom” package? Did he think I was the type to sell my firstborn to regain my youth?
My trusty instincts kicked in and I started to reclaim my genuine self. I realized I didn’t need any of this crap and what I wanted was to share my life with a man who adored me and my physical imperfections and ultimately would love my daughter and me equally. Aha! I needed to be more open to dating, more vulnerable and possibly even more approachable. Well, I’ve been divorced for almost seven years…“Doc, stick me!”
It’s been just over a week since I let Doc give me both a glycolic peel (I did not peel and the treatment took all of four minutes), and microdermabrasion (2x), and a few Botox injections next to and between my eyes.
I can’t say it was physically uncomfortable. I can’t say that I don’t like it. If fact, I do like it! And when another Sherman Oaks mom and I were kibitzing in our kids’ schoolyard—we were having a few conversations simultaneously (as most women will do), she stopped and commented on my skin: “Wow, you look amazing, your skin is glowing. You must be seeing someone?”
Isn’t it interesting that we equate a glowing complexion and a less fatigued face with getting a piece of… Well, you know what I mean. All the same, the mom’s comment was especially precious because she had no idea I had indulged in a few beauty treatments.
I am no fool. I know beauty definitely comes from within and, although I’ll never be a Playboy Playmate and I’m not striving to look 10 years younger, I do love my insides. Furthermore, I also learned that I am not opposed to a little pinch from a needle and scraping of dead cells to help me feel less tired.