A close friend of mine recently admitted a deep, dark secret: She had Botox treatments.
She had a certain feature she hated, and finally decided to do something about it. Although I didn't really notice, she was thrilled with the results. And, of course, that's all that really matters.
I'm not against noninvasive procedures such as Botox. I've never had any, but the day I have extra money burning a hole in my pocket you can bet I will be first in line for some laser hair removal.
I do think, however, that Botox, collagen injections, chemical peels, permanent hair removal and other nonsurgical procedures can be a slippery slope.
It probably starts innocently enough, like it did with my friend. A woman looks in the mirror and can no longer stand her crow's feet. So she heads to the doctor, gets a few injections and immediately looks 10 years younger, at least in her mirror.
Well, she might think, that worked great. I wonder if they could do something about these lines around my mouth? So she goes back, gets more injections and is once again thrilled.
So this same woman might decide she's tired of her thin lips. Back to the doctor, more collagen injections and suddenly she thinks she looks just like Angelina Jolie.
What unfortunately happens with both surgical and nonsurgical cosmetic treatments is that soon the woman has gone too far, and instead of looking like Jolie, she looks like The Joker from "Batman." (Think Priscilla Presley. Have you seen her lately?)
Once this happens, there really is no going back. The line has been crossed, and it's difficult to reverse the results of too many cosmetic procedures. The thing is, these procedures really are becoming more normal, almost expected. I know many friends and relatives who've never admitted it, but it's obvious they've had work done. I see it in their lineless face, their puffy cheeks and lips. I once had a woman, whom I didn't know, approach me in a casino in Las Vegas and ask me who did my breast implants. I don't have breast implants, I told her. She looked at my chest, raised her eyebrow skeptically, and said, I swear it, "Yeah, right," and walked away. So now we can't even believe a woman's breasts are actually natural? Well, maybe in Vegas ... I sometimes wonder who we are doing all this for. Are men really more attracted to a woman with plastic features trying to look 10 years younger than she really is? Is the opposite sex only attracted to swollen Jolie lips? OK, maybe the breast implants are a draw, but the rest just seems ridiculous. I guess we do it for ourselves, and maybe other women. We are trying to delay the inevitable; to make our faces somehow match the youthful attitude we carry in our hearts and brains. I've said it before, but I do believe there is something for simply growing old gracefully. Sure, when I look in the mirror, I look every bit my 43 years. And, it doesn't always make me jump for joy. But I also wouldn't trade my face for Priscilla Presley's or Joan Rivers' or Meg Ryans' for a million bucks. Theresa Myers is the editorial page editor at The Tribune and lives in Greeley with her husband and two preteen daughters. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.