My Face Has Gone to the Dogs

More Bow Wow than Wow

My face has gone to the dogs

When I was a child, my Uncle George would grab my cheeks so hard I thought he’d lift me off the ground.

“Such a shayna punim,” he’d exclaim with joy. (The term is Yiddish. It literally means “pretty face” but colloquially means what a pretty girl.)

“Yes!” my parents would reply with equal joy.

At 6, I hated Uncle George as I rubbed my aching cheeks, and I hated my parents for allowing this unwelcome greeting.

Now, at 67, however, I hate my hollow cheeks. I hate my sagging jowls and most of all, I hate my nasolabial folds. (If you don’t know what nasolabial folds are, you’re lucky. It also means you’re a man.)

My Face Really has Gone to the Dogs!

These days I look more like an old Shar-Pei dog than a sweet young shayna punim.

At my age, I should know better. I should know to focus on inner beauty. But I also know this — Society values external beauty and youth.

So, to combat this distressing Shar-Pei reality, I make periodic pilgrimages to the dermatologist for cosmetic fillers.

“Fill ’er up,” I say, ever the wag.

I used to conceal these costly cosmetic escapades from Handsome Hubby but one time I bruised badly. I looked like I’d done 12 rounds in the ring with Mohammad Ali. I had to fess up!

HH was sweet and somewhat mystified. “You don’t need to do this to yourself. You look great.” Of course, the guy needs bifocals and he’s is hardly objective.

Besides, I don’t get fillers for him. I get them for me! Being middle-aged and invisible isn’t pleasant. Getting jabbed with a needle or two is a small price to pay (Well, it isn’t a small price to pay) for the illusion of a more pleasing countenance.

Anyway, these days when I return from the dermo-doc, HH no longer says, “Why do you bother? You don’t need it.” No, these days, he says, always a bit surprised, “Wow, I can see the difference. I have to admit those fillers really are something.”

Getting my Fill of Fillers

Which is, of course, the truth. Those costly nasty little injections do work their magic, lifting my sunken cheekbones, filling those nasty nasolabial folds, and softening the look of my droopy Nixon-esque jowls.

Yes, sadly, Mother Nature is tough on her daughters, especially those of us raised in a sexist shayna punim era. Still, I was lucky. Even though my parents were thrilled when Uncle George praised my looks, they also pushed — pushed hard — for me to achieve at school and in my career.

So, yes, I’m vain. But alongside my (photoshopped) professional photo, I’m proud to display my college and grad school diplomas and various certificates of achievement.

There are Limits

And in my defense, I’d like to point out that I’m not a filler-fanatic addict. The last appointment I had was two years ago. As the dermatologist not so subtly chided me, “You really need to keep this up more regularly. Say every six months for best results.”

What can I say? Vain, but also cheap (and averse to pain). It’s a fun splurge now and then, but every six months? Really now! Vanity, thy name is mine. But my middle name is “In Moderation.” Besides, Shar-Peis are kind of cute in their way, aren’t they?

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