Better than Botox

‘Selfie’ photo of me with my daughter Scarlett.

I recently came upon a book titled French Women Don’t Get Facelifts: The Secret of Aging with Style & Attitude (Grand Central Publishing, December 24) by author Mireille Guiliano. I loved the title immediately, as here in Los Angeles, youth rules. I myself have thought about a facelift mainly because I have heard that getting a facelift in your forties gives you the most “bang for your buck” — words used by my dermatologist, who I adore simply because she is in her 50s and is, in my opinion, naturally beautiful. Unlike most women in Los Angeles, I go to the dermatologist to have my moles checked once a year rather than for Botox® and Juvederm®, neither of which I’ve ever had (no judgment for those who’ve had it). I have to make my appointments months in advance because there are only a few slots each month for “regular” appointments. I was recently informed that I could get right in right away if I were booking a Botox injection or filler appointment.

Back to the book — I was intrigued by the title of the book because I lived in Paris for several years, and even in my early twenties I admired older French women. They were just so, I don’t know, just so confident. I remember watching Belle du Jour for the first time in a Cinema class in college. Catherine Deneuve is the quintessential French woman: classic, sophisticated, demure, strong, sensual, playful, and confident.

French women living in France don’t seem to be caught up in staying young like American women appear to be. They just live, laugh and love with style, don’t they? I think it’s their savoir-faire that is so intriguing. Being a California native, albeit Northern California, and living in New York for ten years, I have witnessed a lot of bad plastic surgery walking down the streets.

Now I’m 46, and I think about escaping to France to get away from my culture that values youth. It’s hard for me not to get caught up in looking young forever living in Los Angeles. Everyone gets wrinkles, so why does it have to be a bad thing? Mireille talks about looking in the mirror and accepting yourself for who you are rather than who you were. She also talks about preventive measures such as skincare, diet, exercise and enjoying life through vacations, family, and friendships.

I know this is true. It is all about attitude. I see it in my mom. She is 89 years old. Most people are shocked that she is that old. She has never had plastic surgery; she’s never even had a facial, but she looks fabulous. She has wrinkles, but they don’t faze her. She takes care of herself. She walks, she does her ten minutes of exercise each day. She is always groomed—from her hair to clothing, to matching shoes and bag—to perfection. She has plenty of hobbies and interests, like her garden and tending her roses, watching movies and laughing with friends. She stays busy and never lets her age get in the way. She has always used creams and cleansers, but I don’t think they helped, not as much as her attitude.

Then I look at myself. I get upset that I care about such superficial shit as looking younger. I wish that the media didn’t put so much emphasis on who has had plastic surgery, or who looks the best in a bikini in their forties, or who has cellulite down their legs. I keep hoping that the values American culture thrives on will shift. I keep hoping that age and wisdom will come to be valued in women, as much as it is in men. I’m saddened by the current advancements in medicine that may perhaps end aging as we know it. I do believe that it’s an important right of passage … to age. Aging gracefully is what I intend to do because I have a daughter, and I need to lead by example. I will forgo the facelift, the fillers and Botox for now and live by the following mantra:

I will adopt the French attitude and accept who I am inside and out and move forward instead of backward.

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