Vanity, and the fleeting joy of beauty

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“We don’t mess with crow’s feet on men,” Dr. Becky told me as I leaned back into her chair. “Women like them.” She grabbed my chin with a rubber-gloved hand.

“You’ve got a great chin,” she said. “Makes you look like royalty.” And I blushed like I was just named Peach Queen at the High Point farmers market.

I have come to terms with the fact that I am a man of vanity. I’m not as vain as my father, who sometimes executes three wardrobe changes a day, each with its own shower and hairstyling session, including 20 minutes under the blow-dryer. Every time. My maternal grandfather, too, I remember, was fastidious about his appearance and, according to my grandmother, somewhat enamored of his own reflection in the mirror.

I’m fine with the way I look, but still I push my thinning locks around to cover my bald spots. I suck in my stomach during work hours. I shave the back of my neck. Like that.

As I hit my own midlife malaise, I’ve become more aware of the things that mark my age, particularly on my face: deep lines in my cheeks and forehead, a pronounced ruddiness of the skin, crow’s feet. No big deal, really. I take them with the same spirit of inevitability as the changing seasons. And I never thought I’d, you know… do something about it.

And then Witneigh introduced me to Dr. Becky.

When Witneigh Davis, one half of the leadership team at Greensboro Fashion Week, makes a style suggestion, I take it seriously. So when she scheduled me for a session at Eye Salons in Greensboro, I showed up with an open mind and an open schedule.

Pedicure. Eyebrow tint and, later, a wax. But before that they handed me off to Dr. Becky.

That’s where she pointed out the (rare!) bifurcation of my procerus muscle before administering 10 units of Botox to it, and complimented my dimples before erasing my nasolabial folds with needles full of filler.

The difference in my face is quite subtle, not really noticeable to anyone except myself and the people who are closest to me, which I suppose is the point. My eyebrows spend most of their time behind my glasses — I can’t even see them myself unless I’m a couple inches away from the mirror. But I know they are, most assuredly, on fleek.

And I’ve still got that chin going for me. Dr. Becky says it makes me look like royalty.

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