Bette Davis once famously said growing old wasn’t for sissies and as an aging actress in Hollywood she sure knew what she was talking about. Just ask Maggie Gyllenhaal who was told that at age 37 she was far too OLD and decrepit to be the love interest of an actor playing a 55 year-old who let’s face it is probably 75 in real life anyway. It’s no surprise that Rebel Wilson decided to shave a few years off her life because she is only a year younger than Gyllenhaal yet plays a college student in all those Pitch Perfect movies. You go girl! Too bad a classmate who she must have beaten in a high-stakes game of Guess Who (love that game!) back in elementary school decided to retaliate twenty plus years later by ratting her real age out to the tabloids. Revenge apparently is a dish best served not only cold but frozen as well. It really is no surprise then that so many women in Hollywood feel the need to do whatever it takes to keep themselves looking young enough to be the girlfriend (if they are super lucky) of a card-carrying member of the AARP.
Truth be told, I have always thought a large part of the enduring appeal/fetishization of Marilyn Monroe was down to the very simple fact that she died at 36 and therefore never got old in either the eyes of Hollywood or the public and was never cast as some actor her own age’s mother. My advice to Maggie is to stick with British TV where women who are over forty, even over fifty, are regularly seen as well as ones that are not size negative zero. Yes it is possible for women to be smart, talented and even a little hippy and still be allowed on television in the old country.
For a hilarious yet often times painful look at just how awful Hollywood is to women of a certain age check out Lisa Kudrow in The Comeback. There is no humiliation too demeaning for Valerie Cherish to endure as she sees her role in Room and Bored go from one of the roommates to the Mrs. Roper-esque Aunt Sassy of one of the roommates faster than the Republicans in the House of Representatives can come up with another way to try to get rid of Obamacare, or protect guns while doing their level best to make sure women’s reproductive rights are assured FOREVER, just kidding on that last one obviously.
Having just experienced another birthday, I can honestly say I will take getting older versus the alternative because that would kinda suck. That being said, there are certain things about approaching my Jurassic years (by Hollywood standards anyway) that are a bit troubling. Failing eyesight, the fact that my age box on surveys keep getting smaller and smaller and pretty soon won’t even be there at all because apparently marketers these days only care about millennials, you know those selfie stick carrying little sexters that won’t buy homes or cars and don’t give a shit about great-aunt Maude’s china that us late boomers/Gen X’ers have had to fake-care about forever.
A couple of years ago I decided to grow my bangs out, again, even though it is a horrible process and quite frankly I think I look better with bangs. However, it seems like my four-head was starting to become more of a three-head due to the Earth’s gravitational pull or some other timey-whimey thing and they seemed to get in my eyes and need to be trimmed a lot more than they ever did when I was younger. Now my stylist does the complimentary bang trim thing that they all do but he only works ever other week and it was always the week he wasn’t working when they bugged me the most. Being a semi-obsessive person this would often times lead to self-help in the form of trimming my own bangs and like a lot of DIY projects sometimes it worked better than others.
While I no longer had to worry about my bangs bugging me by constantly getting in my eyes I was now face-to-face with seeing my forehead on the regular and I was not liking what I was seeing. Twenty years of working in the insanity that is known as advertising (why do you think they all drink like fishes on Mad Men?) had resulted in those not-so-cute little eleven lines between my eyes and I could not un-see them much like I can’t un-see all the craptastic movies Johnny Depp has made since he jointly sold his soul to Disney and Tim Burton. Suddenly, the idea of Botox was not so unappealing anymore.
I pondered it for about a year, if I got my elevens taken care of would I be able to stop there or would Botox become my gateway drug to transforming myself into a candidate for The Real Housewives of Minneapolis? It’s not like being an actual housewife is even required. Would I turn myself into Nicole Kidman, only without the special FX department to CGI in my emotions? How else would my dog know when I am displeased that she mistook the dining room rug for the front yard for the millionth time even though they look absolutely nothing alike?
Who am I kidding? Like she gives a shit, real or figurative, what I think about anything. So as a birthday present to myself I booked an appointment with my dermatologist’s med/spa facility (he does keep them separately), got six little jabs in my forehead and went out for Thai food afterwards. Anyone who has ever had acupuncture can handle Botox. Will I do it again? Probably, I don’t really see those annoying lines anymore when I look in the mirror and they have a loyalty program and God knows I am a sucker for those kind of things.
*I love this movie and if you have never seen it you should, pronto, it is available to stream on Amazon. The story about how it got released is almost as insane as the movie, you can read about it here.