I thought my new dermatologist was mocking me when she flashed me an expressionless smile—one that did not create a single crease in her face. It appeared her face was only stuffed with Botox and her eyebrows were a permanent tattoo.
She then said I needed Botox in my forehead ‘because I frowned.’ Sounded like a form of discipline. Wet your bed and I’ll spank you, frown and I’ll inject you with Botox. Her argument, however, was that injecting Botox can protect one against developing fine lines and wrinkles.
I asked how many pricks, and she scrutinized my forehead through a lens that probably made every pore in my face look like a cave.
She asked me to frown again.
I gave her the best of my scowls and she finally replied: “Hmmmm, not more than nine.” Really? Thank Heavens! ‘Not more than nine.’ I should drink a toast to this—only I don’t drink.
I’m very glad she did not see my smile or else she would have stuffed my cheeks, temples and eyes with Botox.
Her secretary tried to reach my phone for almost two months but I never answered.
I have a very animated face that makes plenty of expressions; I believe it is often easy to read my emotions. But why shouldn't our faces be a reflection of our emotions and tell when we are upset, happy, angry or surprised?
As I watched Patrick Melrose, in which Benedict Cumberbatch played the lead, I couldn't but admire all the expressions he made with his whole face and especially his forehead. They made him beautiful and loveable. How convincing would Patrick be if played by an actor whose forehead was half-paralyzed?
This isn’t an invitation to scowl more often, but to let your face reflect your emotions when it needs to.
A 2013 study published in the Journal of Nonverbal Behavior found that smiles accompanied by wrinkles around the eyes were rated as more spontaneous and genuine compared to those that caused no creases.
But then again, Cumberbatch is a man. Women, according to mainstream beauty standards—and especially in the Arab world, are expected to have marble faces, so to speak. Nothing puckered, no fine lines and no portrayal of intense emotions.
No, not even laugh lines.
You are beautiful with and without Botox; there is no harm in resorting to Botox, but I personally would go for fine lines and wrinkles because they show a person had experienced intense emotions, which in turn means they lived rich lives. Every blemish tells a story about the ups and downs we’ve been through, the days we laughed hard and the nights we spent in tears.
I am big on blemishes, scars, fine lines and facial expressions because they tell stories mouths and pens fail to tell. My novels are so full of them. Imagine a character that cannot furrow her brows or grimace. I would include this character but only to show that she either has a permanent poker face displaying no emotions or has had Botox injected in her face.
Our facial expressions make us unique and help us communicate better and express our feelings more genuinely, which is why we call them "expressions."
Embrace those scowls and smiles; they add character.
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