One hot night in the summer of 2012, I was standing in my bathroom looking at myself in the mirror with roommate. It was three in the morning, he was a little hammered and we were taking inventory on our looks, as gay men do at that hour on a Wednesday night.
"God," I said. "I look so fucking old." In my quest to catch up to George Hamilton and be as tan as he is and years of chain smoking that would have put Lucille Ball herself to shame, the lines on my forehead told a story. Not that of a 29-year-old, but that of someone pushing 40 at the very least.
"Get Botox," my roommate said. "When I got it, people literally stopped me on the street to tell me how young I looked."
"How did you respond?" I asked.
"I told them I got Botox. Who gives a fuck?" he said. "Listen, you spend like 12 hours a day working out and your body looks right on point. You should treat yourself to a little Botox -- it will do you some good."
"Oh, I don't know," I said. As I began to speak, my roommate pulled out his phone and began texting. "The other day some guy told me that I looked like Daniel Craig, which is flattering, but isn't he like 15 years older than I am?"
"Done!" my friend said.
"Done doing what?" I asked.
"I just made you an appointment for Botox tomorrow morning," he said. "Your life is about to change forever. Trust me."
I didn't question how, at three a.m. on a Wednesday in July my friend had managed to finagle a Botox appointment for me the following morning, but I decided to not ask questions and go with it. You've got to love the age we live in. Not only can you schedule doctor's appointments in the middle of the night, but you can also have your face shot full of poison the next morning and miraculously look like you've gone back in time.
The following morning, I put on my Sunday's best even though it was a Wednesday and went to the dermatologist's office in Chelsea for my first ever Botox injections. I was super excited about turning back time, mainly because I strive to be more like Cher on the daily, I am a relatively vain person and because the median age of people I was hanging out with had dropped by about six years. You see, this past summer, all of my old friends had disappeared. They had either moved, married or died in random kitchen grease fires, so I began hanging out with a younger crowd. I was always the oldest person wherever we went, leaving someone to question: "Hey, who's Grandad have you been hanging out with?" This was unacceptable and needed to be changed right away. I was also relatively unhappy this past summer. The love of my life had dumped me and instead of trying to make myself feel better through meditation or therapy, I worked out like a crazy person and apparently, thought it would be appropriate to get Botox -- because that would certainly make me feel better. Instead of trying to make myself a better person on the inside, I was in a constant struggle to make myself look better as if that was what was going to make me happy in the long run.
I rolled into the doctor's office humming "Do You Know The Way To San Jose" because Dionne Warwick is always in my heart and always in my head. I then proceeded to let everyone there know just how excited I was about getting Botox. Not once thinking that anyone could be in the office for skin cancer or an STD -- I assumed everyone there was as excited as I was to be there because everyone would be there for Botox as well.
Getting Botox would not only be good for all of the dates... that I wasn't going on but also for all of the sex... I wasn't having. At the very least, I would look good for myself on all of those lonely nights when I am home watching reruns of Petticoat Junction alone and that's what really counts. I knew I was there to make myself look better, but wasn't exactly sure what my motives were in doing so. Would people viewing me as younger make me happier or feel better in any way?
A few moments later, the attendant greeted me and told me to come to a room in the back so he could prepare me to have my face stuck with needles. I was so excited. The last time I had come close to a needle was a dirty one I had found in Times Square, which was not nearly as exciting. This was clearly a new ballgame in the needle arena for me.
"Let's play a game," I said upon entering the doctor's office.
"What game would you like to play?" he asked.
"A guessing game," I said. "You guess how old I am and I'll do the same for you." The attendant, who was sexy as hell, didn't look a day over 25. "You're single?"
"No," he replied. DAMN IT! I figured since I was already there, I could try to kill two birds with one stone -- get Botox and a boyfriend -- but no such luck.
"OK," I replied. "I am going to try and guess how old you are." I paused. "T25?"
"Nope," he replied, "32."
"Yep," he said, "Thanks to the Botox."
Seriously, where the hell had I been for the past 10 years? Apparently, everyone was getting Botox but me and I was not only beginning to feel left out, but out of vogue was well.
"Trust me," he said, "in three to five days you'll rapidly look 25 again yourself."
I hoped I would feel better as well, because looking better and feeling better go hand in hand, right? "How old do you think I am because I have been feeling about 100 years old recently?" I asked.
"29," he replied.
"Damn it!" I yelled. "I do need Botox!"
"I also, looked at your chart which clearly lists your date of birth," he said as the doctor entered the room. The doctor, also handsome, didn't look a day over 35.
"Let me guess how old you are," I said. He gestured at me to guess and blurted out: "35!"
"Nope," he said, "43."
"Get out!" I yelled. I had finally found the fountain of youth and it was in Chelsea, where any logical homosexual would have thought to look for it in the first place. "Are you single?" I asked. "My mother would be over the moon if I brought home a hot, 35 year old looking Jewish doctor."
"Nope," he said as he pointed to his wedding ring. Fucking gay marriage, meanwhile, is killing my game.
The doctor explained what he would be doing, which was simply shooting my face full of poison via several different needles. I had never been so excited to go to the doctor's office before, save the time I got that medication to clear up the scabies I got in college. He stuck my face with several needles and I felt relieved. It was as if a curtain came down over my forehead preventing my facial muscles from making any sudden moves. This was perfect because I never understood why, someone like myself who tries to show no emotion whatsoever had so many fucking expression lines. What a cruel joke God! Well played! After the procedure was over, I had hoped that this was what was going to make me happy. Looking good on the outside would certainly bring me joy on the inside, I hoped.
I was so excited about my Botox that three days later, after it had taken affect, I took pictures of my glorious forehead and sent it to everyone I knew. Four days in, I was carded for a pack of cigarettes and was so overjoyed that I went home and used Google to see if I could find the man who invented Botox's address and send him an edible arrangement as a thank you, but no such information was available. About a week later, as I was getting ready to do some laundry, I looked at my reflection in the mirror. I. Looked. Awesome. So young, and if I hadn't smoked a carton of cigarettes that week, so healthy as well. I took another picture of myself then opened up the door to the laundry closet. Before I knew it, the iron fell from atop the laundry machine hitting me directly on the forehead.
"Mother fucker!" I yelled. I bled out for about two hours. I am also pretty sure I had a concussion but didn't both to go to the doctor's to check it out because all expendable income that month had been spent on Botox. A few hours later, I looked in the mirror once again and instead of wrinkles, I had a huge gash in the shape of an iron between my eyes.
I couldn't stop staring at the gash. And so I said aloud: "You just spend hundreds of dollars on Botox only to have it ruined in a matter of seconds a week later. Bravo, asshole!"
I called out sick the following day because my forehead, glorious for all of five days was now a bloody mess and I couldn't bare to be seen in public. I began to wonder whether or not I should have spent that extra cash on therapy or a yoga class or two. I was pretty depressed trying to get over an ex and wondered if I should have spend that extra money elsewhere. I certainly would have felt better on the inside and although I could have never predicted the iron incident happening, I wouldn't have wasted over $500 for something that not only proved useless, but didn't make me feel any better at all. Perhaps next time I want to make a frivolous vanity purchase, I should check in with my inner self and see if he needs anything before spending money on trying to look better.