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Lines at Rest

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I'm all for skipping past the small talk to get to the good stuff but, when at a party recently, a girl pointed out my 'lines at rest' within the first five minutes of meeting me, I was quite surprised.

First I had to ask what the France a 'line at rest' was?! She kindly explained that they were the lines that remain on your face even when your face is at rest. Makes sense. She then informed me that she had a fabulous botox doctor and offered me their number as casually as though we were swopping hairdresser recommendations. Five years ago that would not have happened and now I actually feel quite old fashioned for finding that strange.

The botox debate is a grey area and one that I've heard many times in the past few years. Simon Cowell seems to consider botox as a standard part of a beauty routine - and maybe he is right? Is botox very different from anti-aging face cream or makeup? Perhaps it's in the same category at brushing your teeth? Except with a deadly disease that can kill people in a hideous and painful way.

Even so, I can't say I'm not tempted. With botox now available at your local butchers, bakers, candlestick makers - in a moment of insecurity or whilst having a very-bad-face-day it's all too easy to cave and suddenly find yourself with a frown than won't turn upside down, or left or right or any way at all.

Since hitting 30, I have definitely noticed more 'lines at rest' - not helped by overly dramatic facial expressions that I've had since I was borneth from my mother. 'Wind tunnel face' is becoming an almost every-day sight. A few years ago, if a woman in the media had overdone it on Harley Street it would cause quite a stir, but now the perma-surprise face is fairly standard issue.

I do sometimes feel like I'm taking crazy pills - the debate around surgery sometimes misses the point that it so often doesn't look good. If botox and fillers and plumpers and marinades and basters (okay, not the last two) actually provided the user with a mysterious, age-defying effect then that would be one thing. But, so often, they don't. The skin is organic and changes and moves and shifts on our bones we grow older - and the surgery doesn't go with it - which results in a very strange, sometimes very scary look. I sometimes feel angry for these clever, interesting, wise women - they have been falsely sold a dream of eternal youth, only to be left with a look that completely and utterly distracts and takes away from their inner fabulousness. Can you imagine Samuel Becketts' face with botox? Maggie Smith? Judi Dench? The Queen? Are all our young women going to grow up watching their elders struggle to communicate vexation?

My main worry is that a surgically modified face will become so mainstream that young girls will grow up surrounded by older women who look permanently surprised, whose lips suddenly become thicker after 40 and whose boobs defy gravity - and feel they must also follow suit to fit in with the 'norm'.

I want to live in a world where #mygransays trends daily and where a woman's greatest desire is to be called wise and that she is a beautiful person rather than has a beautiful behind, and where her greatest fear is to be called a fool rather than fat.

I have visions of us respecting our elders like a tribe of Indians sitting round a camp fire (at a gastro pub), with the eldest sits at the head, imparting wisdom and smoking their electric pipe, whilst keen and respectful eyes look on through their thick rimmed Ray Ban glasses. It's going to happen people, just wait.

So, in the meantime, if I don't succumb to the siren call of Harley Street, what are my options? A facelift is out of the question (I believe our children will be taught about facelifts in history lessons and not be able to comprehend how we could do that to ourselves). I suppose I could stop eating or heating my house and spend £400 a pop on a pot of miracle cream made from the toenails of an ancient Tibetan goat herder? Maybe I could grow old gracefully and accept that lines are a sign of love, life, experience and with them comes wisdom? Heeeee. Hold on, haaaaa, hang on a minute, I just need to gather myself, oooo, that's a good one Chezza.

I suppose if I decide not to go down the botox route I'll either have to pray they invent something better or stop expressing emotion - I'll pitch that to my family and friends and see how that goes down.

(For posterity pictures of my wrinkles visit www.cherryhealey.com)