Say What? Botox & The Fine Art Of Conversation

HERE’S A NEW-TO-ME PROBLEM…

I’m Botox-free, but have a micropeel at the skin care department of a doctor’s office every couple of months.  I started doing these peels about 15 years ago, on the advice of a doctor who told me they’d reduce my acne.

And they did.

Now I continue to have them because they keep my skin looking clear and healthy. Plus the peels kind of reduce wrinkles. Sort of.

I admit to being vain, to a point, so I’m not going to stop using them any time soon.

BUT HERE’S THE THING…

I’m beginning to interact with people in my real life who have availed themselves of the other services that this type of doctor’s practice provides.  That is to say lately various people who I know have wrinkle-free frozen faces that seem to be the result of using Botox.

I’m talking about people as young as their late 20s and as old as their late 60s whose faces suggest to me [or sometimes they tell me*] that Botox is part of their regular skin care routine.

To be clear here, I’m not writing this post to pass judgment on whether anyone who does this medically approved procedure is more, or less, beautiful because of it.

Do what you want, that’s cool by me.  Be pretty in your own way.

No, what I’m getting on about here is the fact that these people suddenly appear to be devoid of emotions.

AND IT’S THE DARNEDEST THING.

I’m an above average communicator with the ability to read people… if they give me something to read.  Yet I cannot, for certain, tell you if when speaking with these Botox-ed people if they understand what I’m saying, or asking.

There’s no emotion.  There’s no feedback.

And to be honest, as an introvert interacting with seemingly non-empathetic people who lack expressions, I feel more alone than usual.

And a little bit scared.

Because without some visual clue from a person about what’s going on within their mind, I’m left to parse their words to determine if what I said was, at least, heard– and then, possibly, understood.

I mean, suddenly I’m conversing with people who are most likely distracted, complicated, perhaps even not the clearest communicators to begin with– and now I have to guess what they’re feeling, too?

Groovy.  Just groovy.

* So are they confiding in me?  Or are they telling me I need Botox, but they don’t want to come out and say so?

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Ally Bean

Observant. Creative. Humorous. Adaptable. Happy enough. Looking for the crumb of truth in the cookie of life.

76 thoughts on “Say What? Botox & The Fine Art Of Conversation”

  1. That would be a bit unsettling. I’ve not met in person anyone who has had Botox, but there were a couple of local TV news people here like that. Their mouths were moving, but there was just nothing else there in any kind of expressions. So weird. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ghostmmnc, unsettling is exactly how it is. I’ve known these various people for a while, so I can sort of guess what they’re saying with their non-moving faces. But it’s weird…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I have friends who do it and friends who don’t. Some you can’t tell and some…well…sadly you can. Perhaps it’s the skill of the doc or the insistence of the patient that more is better. I don’t know why a 20-something would need it for wrinkles. I’ve seen that they are using it for migraines and incontinence too. Can you imagine those injections? But your topic is really about trying to read what people think. Sometimes I can’t do that even if the person doesn’t have Botox.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kate, I know some women who have just a little bit of Botox going on and they look refreshed, not frozen. But lately I’m seeing more of the frozen look, which I believe you’re right, has to do with the doc.

      I’m told that 20-somethings use Botox now so that they’ll not get wrinkles then. Also, they fear, as I understand it, the possibility of being photographed in a way that makes them look “bad” because the pic will be online forever.

      Didn’t know about Botox for incontinence, but can’t get that image out of my mind now… so thanks! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m imagining people wearing emogi buttons that show their emotional state when their face can’t. Reading people really is an essential part of social interaction that we do, or try to do automatically and unconsciously, and not being able to do it severely, as is the case for many people with Autism, is even disabling.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. bobcabkings, I like your emoji idea. If the trend toward using Botox to immobilize your face continues, there’s a fortune to be made in those buttons!

      Hadn’t thought of the Autism aspect of these new conversations that I’m having. What an insight it is into that condition! I miss my visual clues as to what is really being said between us. o.O

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I found, way back in my semi-youth, that I couldn’t do social high on pot. That automatic people reading pretty much shut down and I had no idea what was going on without consciously analyzing, which was much slower and confusing. It was paralyzing.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Interesting. I must be auto pilot about reading people, because I just do it. I can understand how if you had to consciously tell yourself to analyze, you could drive yourself crazy. People are always a challenge, in one way or another, aren’t they?

          Liked by 1 person

  4. The eyes have it – but then again who knows? Just eyeball them – straight on eyeball to eyeball if their eyes are too far apart from the botox. Which can be hard. I agree though botox or not, it can be hard to read people – take them at face value at the moment 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Susan, I am eyeballing these people. Kind of like a loony woman, searching their faces for any sign of… interest? comprehension? irritation?

      I mean, I dunno what’s going on– but considering I’m stuck with these people, I better figure it out, huh? Or go live in a cave, I suppose.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Lynn, I’m with you. The idea of putting poison into my brain cavity scares me, but I know women, and men, who do it. I wish them all the best, but I think I’ll pass.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I forget who the actress was, but one sitcom star talked about how she would never get botox because of how expressive her eyes and the lines that etched her forehead were. Sure, she might not be able to pass for a twenty something anymore, but she felt that those who had the procedure were limiting their acting range.

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    1. Allie P, that’s fascinating. I never thought of Botox in that way before. It does limit your range of emotions, as I’m learning via these conversations. I realize that everyone has a different idea of how they should look, but I’m worried that these frozen faces come at the price of miscommunication. Which to me seems too high of a price to pay.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Uh, I don’t think YOU’RE at fault in any way in being unable to ‘read’ them. And they can’t, without more effort than perhaps they’re used to, give you more to work with verbally (I guess). Physically you hit the button – they are ‘frozen’ for a time. To ME? Yuck. But I’m not passing judgment either. Whatever floats one’s boat…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for saying this, Embeecee. I do feel like I’m not holding up my end of the conversation because I’m unclear about how to read what they’re saying. It’s not a big problem, but it is a different communication exchange than I’m used to. I figure this is probably just the beginning of what’s to come– especially seeing how all generations now embrace the frozen face look.

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  7. I have a few friends who peel and a few who botox. I don’t do either. It’s not because I’m not vain, it’s mostly because I’m a sissy… and too cheap. Maybe one of these days I’ll try it, but right now I have other things to spend my money on. Now, if I could find a way to reinstall eyebrows…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janis, you’re right about how costly all these procedures can be. I’ll spring for the peels, but I’d have to take out a second mortgage to cover Botox. If you find out how to get eyebrows reinstalled please share your findings. Mine appear to be long gone, and I miss them.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I don’t know anyone who has had the procedure, so I can’t say that I have had a similar experience. But I believe that *would* be a handicap, having facial expression removed from the conversation. Unsettling, for sure!
    Speaking of unsettling, one time my dentist asked me what I thought of Botox – he was polling his clients to see if we’d make use of the procedure. I don’t know about you, but the less time I spend in a dentist’s chair, the better!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Maggie, I’ve known a few women who’ve had just a smidge of Botox done around their eyes, and they looked fine. But lately I’m seeing people with frozen faces– and it seems weird to me. Not that they’d care about my opinion in the least!

      I’ve heard of dentists who do Botox, but like you said– I like to be in and out of the dentist office as quickly as possible. I dunno about this whole topic, to be honest. Yet it’s here to stay so I guess I’d better get used to it.

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  9. I know! Now you have to look at their lips about ten times more, cause the eyebrows and foreheads are frozen in time! Some of them do the lip thing, too, and they talk like their jaws are wired shut!
    I’m all for people doing what they will, but I don’t think I’ll ever be like, okay with it. Why people would choose to look youthful over having expressions is beyond me. I always struggle with people who mess with their faces. Cause IT’S YER FACE, PEOPLE!
    When I encounter frozen people I’ve known a long time, I can honestly say they looked PRETTIER before. They look younger, but not as pretty. Cause pretty’s more of a natural state, yeah? Pretty is not like hot, and to me, pretty people are losing out to trying look young and hot.
    I think of my whole body, especially my face, as being a work in progress. I want to experience the journey. I get that other people may not be as open to aging, but I have never understood why.
    Of course, I’ve got a thing about authenticity, too, which may screw up my perception. The empath still gets the feelings, without the expression, but it was always easier to read before the freeze.
    Also — Everyone’s concept of vain is just above their own level.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. joey, I’m with you in that I’d rather look authentic, than youthful. Not that I don’t try to not wrinkle/age, but I won’t go to the extreme of freezing my face in time.

      I get that for some people wrinkles and lines on their faces make them feel less than whole. And I can understand how if your self-worth has been based in part on how you look, then any change that you perceive to be deterioration is a threat. Enter Botox.

      I know a few women who use Botox in small amounts and look great because of it. But the people who I’m beginning to notice are the ones whose eyebrows and lips are totally immobilized. I don’t quite know how to interpret their lack of expressions in the context of pleasant conversations. I think to myself, shouldn’t they be smiling or winking or frowning or something? Then I wonder if I’ve said something wrong, or if they’re even paying attention to me.

      It’s unnerving, but considering how Botox is available through doctors and parties, I don’t think those people who use it are going to give it up. And in fact, more people are going to try it, so I’ve got wrap my head around this new way of conversing.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Akilah, it is sad, but more and more people are doing + over-doing [imho] Botox. It is beginning to make for some odd conversations. I don’t quite know how to behave when I cannot decode the visual cues behind a person’s words. Strange new world, huh?

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  10. I agree with retirementallychallenged. I am inordinately vain: I put on makeup and do my hair every single day, even if I’m just hanging out in the house with the cats. My shoes always match my outfit, and my glasses do too.

    Even if it were for my migraines, I would not try botox. I’m scared silly of it. It’s made from the bacteria that causes botulism, and that’s enough for me. It’s made from a toxin. It is a paralytic. ALL OF THAT SOUNDS TERRIFYING AND HORRIBLE.

    Plus, I am not willing to spend that kind of money on my vanity. I’d feel guilty as hell. I would sit there every day making Lists Of Things Vastly More Important We Could Have Done With My Botox Money. It would be endless misery. Not worth it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. nance, I see nothing wrong with looking good every day regardless of where you’re going. I think it’s one thing to keep up your appearance in a way that pleases you [and your cats], and an entirely different thing to keep up your appearance in a way that compromises your ability to communicate clearly.

      But that being said, I know people who swear by Botox because it makes them feel pretty. Just as long as no one is expecting me to follow suit, we’re good.

      I agree. I, too, find the idea of intentionally injecting poison into me a scary thought. And the cost… it’s not a cheap way to be vain. I’ll stick with my non-invasive micropeels, thank you very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I should volunteer somewhere to see lots of new faces. I’ve never talked to anyone with a frozen face, although I did see a photo in the newspaper that would qualify. It would certainly throw me for a loop.

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    1. Anne, you said it well. It did throw me for a loop. I mean the people who I know that are into Botox are nice enough, but it’s unexpected and disconcerting to see someone change like that. And no way will I bring up the topic if they don’t volunteer to tell me. Which some have.

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  12. There was a skit on Saturday Night Live once that had a bunch of women doing a talk show about how good Botox was, and all of them had this frozen face where all that moved was their mouths. It was like watching “Clutch Cargo.” (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTQI_XjoSSY)

    If they are telling you to use Botox, ignore them. Pretend they’re just confiding in you. No one should be injecting themselves with botulism.

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    1. John, I never saw that SNL skit but it sounds like a good one. Accurate. I’ve never heard of Clutch, but watching him now I can see that he’s very Botoxed, in his own he-man way. What a hoot!

      Trust me, if anyone is trying to drop a hint to me about using Botox it’s going to fall on deaf ears. Botox doesn’t seem like the thing for me, too scary + expensive.

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  13. I guess I haven’t noticed this where I live, which is good because I don’t do anything but use OTC drugstore products. I’m sure there are things out there that could make me look younger, but I’m too lazy to explore them. I find it difficult enough to get to my twice yearly dental cleanings! But I have noticed it in actors, and it’s the first thing that stands out. Actors (male and female) need a full range of expressions. Botox can dampen that, unfortunately.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Carrie, it’s only been in the last half a year that I’ve begun to notice friends + acquaintances who have fully Botoxed faces. Before that it was one or two people who used just a little of it around their eyes. It looked good, btw.

      Because I’ve always been the poster child for acne and rosacea, I use upscale nonprescription products that I buy from the doc’s office or online. I don’t know that they make me look younger, but they don’t irritate my skin, so yay!

      I think of Nicole Kidman when I think of the Hollywood frozen face look. She is a beautiful woman, but seems unwilling to look her age. Or to have the ability to express emotions. Go figure.

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  14. I used to watch a show called Lie to Me all about reading microexpressions on people’s faces to determine guilt and a whole host of other emotions. A couple of times they had trouble with people and realized it was because they’d gotten botox and were unable to move their faces the way they normally would. How lame, says I.

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    1. Betsy, what an interesting show. You’ve nailed my difficulty with these conversations, no microexpressions. I can understand how the people on the TV show had a difficult time decoding if someone was lying. I’m finding it hard to understand people who I know who aren’t lying. 🙄

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  15. I’m with Lynn. Botox scares the heck out of me!!
    Although I do think that Bobcabking is on to something with his emoji idea!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Donna, fear of Botox seems to be the norm among my commenters. No one wants to try it. I agree about the emoji button idea. It’s a good one. Would that this were not even a topic of conversation, you know?

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Although Ashley probably deals with it a lot in Los Angeles, I don’t see it much here in Washington State, where we’re mostly granola, natural types. I wouldn’t know how to react either!

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    1. Margaret, at first I was surprised to see the frozen faces around here because this area is so conservative. But a friend of mine who moved here from elsewhere once told me that her initial reaction to the area was that it was full of “showboats.” She understood what was going on long before I did.

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  17. It is understandable that people do not want to “look their age”, but I’ll never understand why people would prefer to take on the appearance of a department store mannequin. Do they really think those overly-botoxed celebs in the Hollywood scandal sheets look GOOD?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. evilsquirrel13, I don’t get it either. To me the frozen faces are more indicative of aging than the lines/wrinkles of aging. But people are taken with looking that way, so they do it. And the rest of us are left to deal with a new style of non-communication communication.

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  18. It’s impossible to read Blank Pages . . .

    “So, I’ve got to ask, what are you thinking about what I am saying? I ask because your face is giving NOTHING away.”

    “I’m thinking that I need to cut back on the Botox!”

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    1. Nancy, I like your conversation here. You said it with the blank page reference. This has been the most unexpectedly weird development in my life to now need to learn how try to converse with people who show no emotions. 👀

      Liked by 1 person

  19. No Botox for me either. I don’t even wear makeup anymore. I used to wear at least eye shadow and mascara but now I don’t even bother with that. I work at home in my pj’s most of the time! A smile is the thing I put on my face the most. Seems to work for me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Janet, I’m not much for make-up either. I wear enough to subdue the red and provide sun protection, but after that… not so much. I have to wonder what these Botoxed people think of me? Plain Jane and wrinkled. I must look like a horror to them! 😉

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  20. Are you sure they’re botox-ed and not bots? (I should stop watching HBO shows…..). And is that you, Ms. Bean? I do believe that’s the first glimpse of your eyeballs that I’ve ever seen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tara, I’d never thought of the bot angle to these faces. You don’t suppose that’s it, now do you? And yes, that’s me side-eyeing something or another. As one does.

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  21. I’m with you entirely. If it makes them happy, they should do it. It’s not something I would ever consider, not least because I am a cheapskate, and also the idea of having a toxin injected into my face seems stupid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. J, I realize that what other people have done to their faces is their own business, but once their faces are frozen, communication becomes [shall we say?] difficult. I don’t get it, but I get it. It’s not for me, either.

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  22. Forget poker face – don’t ever get into a game of UNO with someone like this. You’ll NEVER be able to tell if they’re about to load a DRAW FOUR on you.

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  23. I love this phrase: ” Be pretty in your own way.”
    Introverts (and small children/dogs) depend on facial expressions and body language to make sense of what it going on – especially if multiple languages are going on in business or social situations.
    If botox is the future, then I suggest the others who don’t botox get to hold up masks on a stick during conversations to even the info flow. (Shark Tank idea!) It only seems fair.
    As mostly a sunblock person without make-up ( luckily this is a beachy, boaty, resorty casual area I can get away with it) I wish if docs would tell these people to slather on creme and sunblock the minute you roll out of bed your entire life, then you won’t get as many wrinkles – so you won’t need botox. Some are too worried about being flawless on social media – so if they really want it, it’s their face.
    (Your post keeps reminding me of one of my daughter’s friends who 2 years ago got into selling special cosmetics and has now had so many facial procedures/injections, that you can hardly recognize her – much less expect any expressions other than plastic Barbie look. Sad as she’s young, was always cute. Their standards of what is acceptable is so different)

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    1. philmouse, I miss seeing visual clues as to what is going on with a person; words and tone of voice are good, but without the body language to confirm, I wonder if I’m getting the correct meaning. I do worry about how the frozen face is affecting children and their understanding of conversation.

      On a daily basis I use sunblock and that’s about it. I’m not much for make-up so all that bronzing and highlighting is lost on me. However, I do believe in good skin care, it just doesn’t include Botox, like it does for some people who I know.

      I’m amazed by the younger women who swear by Botox and other fillers. Your daughter’s friend would be an example of that. They are influenced by reality TV. And as such worry/fear ever looking their age, because that wouldn’t be pretty… in their eyes.

      Cannot even begin to imagine what they think when they look at my face! Don’t really care, I guess. To each his or her own.

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      1. Remember when people said to children “You look just like your mother” or “I can see you are your mother’s child”?
        Do more kids wonder if they are adopted as they look like no one in the family? HAHA
        Ditto to your last paragraph.

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        1. Good point. I know a woman who had a nose job as a teenager, married without telling her husband about it, then had a daughter who had her mother’s nose. AWKWARD, that one. Genetics are a funny thing, but then so is vanity…

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