Tag Archives: getting older

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Forehead

21 Dec

I’m getting dumber as I age, because in my 33rd year on this planet, I decided that it was time to inject poison into my head.

Botox.

God knows why. It was largely curiosity, which appears to be the driving force behind my every impetuous decision. And you should know that the word ‘largely’ is used rather ‘loosely’ there.

Ten days later I fucking hate it. Hate it. And there’s nothing I can do about it, either. I’ve got to marinate in my stupidity and wait for my vanity to wear off, which will take approximately three months. This is just long enough to come to terms with the fact that I’m ageing, and also dream up a bunch of Botox jokes that’ll never get old.

Ha!

So, it’s an ordinary morning in an unnamed laser clinic in Sydney’s inner-west. I’m in a plastic chair, fingers clutching the leather satchel in my lap, and I’m grinning like a fuckwit before a woman with an I’m-still-funky-in-my-fifties orange dye-job and freakishly smooth skin. She repeatedly calls me ‘Gorgeous’ in an attempt of camaraderie that’s about as natural as her hair; and she is hovering over the top of me: an odd, waxen Skeksis from a nebulous era.

I trace a finger lightly across my forehead, emphasising that my presence in her salon is only spurred on by the appearance of “some fine lines starting across here”. I’m not, you know, vapid or anything.

Her hazel eyes zero in on my face as her throaty voice corrects me. “No, Gorgeous. Those are deep lines. Quite deep for thirty two, actually.”

Great. Apparently I’m ageing in dog years.

“And you’ve got a frown line beginning here,” she continues. “That’s a fine line.” Pause. “There’s one here, too. And your crow’s feet could do with a little…” She puts down the marker that she’s been using to Crayola my face with and picks up a brochure. “There’s a package available for treating two areas or more. It’s discounted at the moment,” she makes a show of flipping pages even though I’m fairly certain she knows the price by heart. “$459,” she glances up, her emotionless face incongruent with her tone. “It’s our Christmas special!”

Now, to put the cost of these injections into another context, $459 is roughly equivalent to the GDP of Liberia.

*Pause for effect.*

And, if a woman were to get this package four times a year (once every three months) her budget for facial paralysis would be the annual income of a Vietnamese fisherman.

Or, in other words, it’s a Christmas special fit for Tiny Tim himself.

Essentially, this package would make everything from the cheekbones up immobile. And, while this did appeal to my narcissism on some primitive level, I declined. At least until I learn how to express myself like a chimpanzee.

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The side effects are listed as she preps the syringe. “…drooping eyelids, bruising, headache, a heavy forehead-”

“Wait, wait,” I stop her. “A heavy forehead?”

“It’s not a pleasant feeling, but you do get used to it. You might have to raise your chin to read anything above eye line.”

I stare up at her. Without lifting my head, incidentally.

“I’ve got a date tonight, I’ll be alright for it, won’t I?”

“Of course. Just remain upright for the evening. If you lay down there can be complications.”

“Complications?”

“It can spread and paralyse other areas of your face.”

Best birth control ever. Sorry cute musician boy, I can’t shag you- unless you keep me perfectly vertical during the entire event- because nice girls don’t let their face get fucked on the first date.

Three days later I can’t move my forehead. And I’ve tried. When I do, one eyebrow twitches and the other flattens- I’ve nicknamed them ‘Mr Abbott’ and ‘Mr Shorten’, respectively. Yuk. Yuk. Yuk. What’s more- or possibly, what’s worse– is that she put far too much in. My eyebrows, once as delicately arched as the Bridge of Sighs, are now two broken roller shutters hanging over my face. I’ve devolved into Cro-Magnon woman. The skin under one brow bags attractively- sort of like a prolapsed uterus. I look like a Fraggle with a busted facial stitch.

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And one could argue that I am a complete muppet for doing this to myself. I mean: I can’t express how I feel about the results. I’m absolutely horrified, by the way, but you’ll have to take my word for it because I’m currently unable to convey that emotion.

And there’s got to be a feminist rhetoric hiding in that statement. Botox caps our emotional range. It lobotomises us, turning us compliant, docile. The patriarchal hierarchy is dimming our fire, man! The bastards. In Renaissance Italy, women used to drop belladonna into their eyes to dilate their pupils, which was the socially agreed upon sign of beauty. The side effects? Blurred vision and eventual blindness. So they were pretty as, but, you know, utterly fucking helpless. This sounds insane, right? Well, I posit that cosmetic injectables are the belladonna of the 21st Century. Don’t believe me? Botox is a compound of botulism, a toxin that was manufactured for chemical warfare in the Gulf War (among other places). Not only do we now inject this shit into our faces, but we pay people for the privilege. If the ridiculousness of that isn’t smacking you in the face like an autistic toddler, let me throw some farce comedy in to drive the point home: shortly after my botulism injections, I went and got myself an anthrax exfoliating peel and an ISIS labioplasty.

So my skin is now smoother, but in being frozen from the eyebrows up, I’ve lost something of myself. Botox has literally and figuratively flattened me out. My face- once earnest, friendly and reactive- is now a mask. I have permanent Resting Bitch Face. I’ve become Kristen Stewart. I didn’t realise how much I used facial expressions to communicate: to convey interest, surprise, to build rapport. Without my eyebrows, I find myself nodding a lot, like a bobble-head dog in a Chinese lady’s Corolla. In my haste to preserve my skin I’ve incapacitated a chunk of it, turning it into a metaphorical comic book that sits on the shelf in a plastic sleeve- the one that you never read and therefore never enjoy because you’re worried about a crease diminishing its value.

And I don’t know if that’s an equal trade-off.

Because I earned those wrinkles.

Sure, through smoking, but also experience. The furrow of worry above my left eye is courtesy of being trapped in Cuba with no money, no escape and no passport. The one above my right? Nursing violent lunatics for four years. That one there? A university degree. This vertical line above my nose? A crazy ex-husband. They’re the physical manifestations of a life lived. They’re my fault lines, each forming from the minuscule internal shift that has occurred from being thrust under a pressure that has tested me, nearly broken me, but ultimately fortified me. Would I trade them for a boring life and a smooth forehead?

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And, if you’re hurtling towards the bathroom mirror every morning to marvel at the way your face has subtly shifted in the past ten years, it means that you’re still alive with your motherfucking marbles intact, which means that you’re incredibly fucking lucky. And if, like many of us, you’ve been challenged in your life; and if, like many of us, your body is now a roadmap of your emotional scars, you should stand tall because it means that you’ve not squinted in the headlights of adversity (or, if you have crow’s feet, maybe you have) but bore a brunt instead. So be fucking proud of it. Don’t erase it.

Besides, as a smoker, I’ll probably have a few more wrinkles than the average girl, but that’s the price I pay for sucking nicotine through a little tube every few hours. Getting Botox to ward off the effects of that is like going to church for Sunday confession after you’ve spent the week beating the shit out of your wife.

Back in the clinic, when I decline her $459 package, the Skeksis warns me about the importance of injecting the rest of my face as a preventative measure.

“I never started getting it until late and now my frown line just won’t go away.” She points at her glossy forehead.

I squint. Nothing. There’s nothing fucking there. Michael Jackson’s sexuality was more pronounced than that wrinkle.

“Preserve your beauty now, Gorgeous. You don’t want to wind up looking like me.”

I blink, considering the sentence that’s running through my head, choosing to remain politely silent instead.

No. I certainly don’t want to wind up looking like you.

All My Single Ladies…

16 Dec

Okay, so I broke.

Not Facebook, but I am updating the blog. I can’t help myself. I’m writing anyway, may as well edit and share the nonsense.

It’s quite difficult to stay off Facebook. I have to say I’ve cheated- a certain amount of Facebook is necessary for travelling, so I send trip related private messages. I know. But I haven’t looked at a news feed. Surely that buys me some willpower points somewhere…right?!

After a week of my self imposed exile, Facebook emailed me. “You haven’t checked me! Are you okay? Have I done something wrong?! You have notifications waiting! Come back! Whatever it is, we can work it out, I can change!”

I told my best mates about my Facebook Holiday Ban during one of the semi frequent emails I send: Hello, not dead, robbed or raped. I’m here now, heading there tomorrow. How’s Sydney? Miss you! 🙂

One bestie drily replied to the FBHB news: Good. You aren’t there as a fucking foreign correspondent.
The candour that only fourteen years of friendship can bring.
You are there as CC trying to rediscover herself. Much more important.
The same candour that allows one to call out a self indulgent and hackneyed three month voyage of self discovery that only the immature ones with no responsibilities can afford to do.

Anyway, enough of that. Travelling. Alone. Hmm.

If I had a dollar every time I heard, “You’re alone? My god. Isn’t it scary?”

…Well, I’d probably have seven dollars, but this is South East Asia, man. You can live like a King for seven dollars.

This question is usually followed with, “Don’t you have a boyfriend you can travel with?”

I had no idea that a partner was a prerequisite. Now I know.

Come to think of it, the question at the Thai border makes much more sense now, “Ladies: are you in the company of a man who regularly fills you like a bathtub?

I, of course, answered no. I was preoccupied with the realisation of how long it had been between, um, baths. I had to bribe the guy to let me in the country by myself. AND he only did on the assurance that I would don the harlot lipstick and do my best to find a man and settle down like a normal person.

My solo bliss hasn’t stopped a hive of indignant-bees entering my bonnet. I actually wrote a messy rant: why is a single man a bachelor- a swinging, free, fun, hard drinking lad who has taken the brave path of avoiding histrionic banshees loaded with oestrogen. A single lady? Well, she’s a spinster, crying into her soup-for-one and forgetting the names of her fifteen cats. Because, we are worthless unless we are part of a couple. We have to be paired off like animals heading towards the ark before we dry up downstairs and become useless. Well, title of my blog aside, I would like to firmly place myself as a bachelorette rather than a lonely cat lady, and it’s so unfair that…

Eek.

I know. Me and Ms. Greer. Frightening.

If it can be edited to sound more clever and witty, and less slavering feminist, it may make the blog. Maybe.

Probably not.

You’re welcome.

I’ve had other reactions to being alone. I met an almost lady boy in Sihanoukville. Beyoncé. Yep. Truesies. I change names on here but that was too fabulous to cover up. I’d periodically see him sashaying down Serendipity beach, hawking cheap friendship bracelets. He would sit next to me as I sipped piña coladas and we’d chat. We initially bonded after he made fun of my arm hair.
“Let me remove it?” he asked, brandishing threading string with a wicked gleam in his eyes.
“No, it’s fine.”
He pouts. “Who are you here with?”
Upon hearing that I was travelling alone he bluntly asked, “Don’t you have any friends?”
“No, actually. People hate me. In fact, I didn’t come here for a holiday, I was chased from Sydney by a mob with burning torches.”
“You’re so funny. I’m going to make you a bracelet because you’re so funny. Even though you have hairy arms.”
“Beyoncé, I don’t have hair on any other part of my body. My arms are fine. Leave them alone.”

Girl power rants aside- Does solo travel ever get lonely?

Fuck. Yes.

South East Asia has been a whole other experience: quieter, more introspective. Europe was a giant party and it was so easy to meet fellow solo travellers but this is vastly different, and my time so far has been a long way from the drunken debauchery of last month. When I chat to people and hear their Full Moon Party stories I wonder if I’m supposed to be vomiting in a tuk tuk instead of blissfully reading trashy thrillers in a hammock on the beach. But, to be honest, I feel that someone my age at Koh Panang is a bit pathetic. If you’ve done it at thirty, power to you, but I’d feel like I was squeezing myself into a pair of jeans that no longer fit. Lying on the bed, wrenching them over my almost-thirty-one-derful hips, pretending not to notice the camel toe…I’m over drunken debauchery. Sigh. It’s happened. I’m getting old. I’m entering Cher-town.

To finish this post, I’d like to make a reference about how I believe in life after love, but I can’t figure out how to make the bad-synth vocals come off in print. My writing is rusty. Damn.

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The Curious Case of CC Button

8 Nov

I got old in Prague. Amazingly, it happened after getting younger.

I’ve started telling people that I’m 28. Why? 30 is old at hostels. I’m always the oldest, by a lot. I’ve never lied about my age before, and I usually don’t have a problem with 30 because I don’t feel old. This trip, I do. Well, not old, but the gap between me and my Generation Y travelling companions is painfully apparent at times.

I fucked a 23 year old. It’s true. He couldn’t believe that I was “28”, thought I was in my early twenties. Yep. Not only did I fuck him, I lied about my age to do it. There’s a special place in hell reserved for people like me. I honestly don’t know how I put up with men when I was 23, at that age they are fucking horrible in bed. They have no idea what they are doing, they learn it all as they get older and leave a trail of unsatisfied women in their wake. The sex was dreadful, which is surprising because he was a freaking fantastic kisser. It was so bad I called it halfway through,”Dude, honestly, you’re just terrible at this. It’s like you’re just trying to jerk off using me. I’m going back to my room.”

I didn’t say that. I’m not that mean. I did stop it midway through, though. Pretended that I was uncomfortable about his friend being on the top bunk- which I sort of was- and that his friend probably didn’t appreciate being jack hammered gently rocked to sleep.

I’m swearing off younger men. I’d prefer someone older than me, anyway. Unfortunately, younger men are attracted to me like Lindsay Lohan to cocaine. They seek me out, often in the middle of the night, it’s never a good idea, and there can be regret in the morning.

Last night, I almost didn’t get let into the club. The bouncer asked me for ID, which I didn’t have.
“Get your ID and you can come in,” he said, blocking the door.
“Her handbag was stolen!” one of my companions helpfully offered, before adding, “Oh god, I think I’m going to spew.”
I pleaded. He shook his head. I couldn’t believe it. “For gods sake, I’m older than you. Look at the lines on my forehead, do you really think that I am under 18?”
He refused and I buzzed around him like an insistent little bee. Eventually he snapped, shaped up to me and pushed me with his chest, telling me to “just fuck off”. No lie.

One of the perks of being a psych nurse is that you become quite nonplussed when confronted with potential violence. I stared at him with a bored expression. Looking back, I’m lucky he didn’t punch me. I handled that situation with the misplaced sense of security that only someone who grew up in a non-violent household, and has found herself with non-violent men, can have. I wanted to say to the bouncer, ‘Look, I’m clearly in a state of arrested development, it’s true. I mean, I’m giggling and drinking cask vinegar wine with a bunch of 23 year old girls, but this doesn’t mean I haven’t been on this planet for three decades.’

Eventually, I wore him down. I lasted maybe half the time it took me to actually get in. I was never a club rat, and last night I remembered why. It was called the Retro Music Hall. It was actually House Music Hell. Two minutes of the repetitive beat and my brain began to dribble out of my ears. I followed the girls onto the dance floor and endured three minutes of young Czech guys grinding against my leg.
I said to one guy, “Honestly, just stop. You’re embarrassing yourself.”
The deafening music meant he apparently didn’t hear me. He pointed to his cheek.
“I’m not kissing your cheek. Does this actually work with Czech women? Go away.”

I fled to the fringes, bottle of Stella (that I had only paid $2.50AUD for!) in hand. I was happy to watch the dance floor with a bemused expression. However, when a woman stands alone in a club- and I only learnt this last night- what guys actually see is a big neon sign with ‘Hello! I’m after some dick, please! Swing it this way! Come at me with it!’

Before we left for the club, I sat with the girls of the hostel in the common room. We drank cheap wine, gabbed about boys, discussed genital piercings, and laughed. Honestly, I preferred that. The introvert in me prevails.

Earlier that night I had run into an older Czech man who ran the company I did the Underground Torture Chamber tour through. He recognised me and we chatted over a beer. That was awesome. It gave me an insight into life in Prague, the history of Prague, he even shed light on why the cabbie ripped me off. That conversation left me richer than the nightclub ever could. I think that the best way to travel- and gain something from it- is to hit the places where the locals drink and talk to them. That’s how you feel the country that you are in. You can’t pick up the vibe of a city in a deafening nightclub. Hurling yourself through Europe, fucking and drinking as you go, may be the way for twenty-something’s to travel. I’m beyond that. I can get drunk and fuck back home, I don’t have to travel much further than Glebe to accomplish that.

Realistically, I have done my years of Hunter S. Thompson style debauchery. They were fun. Really fun. But I don’t want to repeat them, I’m happy with the blurred memories. I don’t necessarily think that this makes me old, but I’m certainly at a different place to my travelling companions. However, I think I may keep masquerading as a 28 year old, though.