I saw a friend I hadn’t seen in a while, though we text frequently. The changes in her face horrified me. It was much broader, her cheeks were huge, and there wasn’t a wrinkle in sight. (We’re in our late 40s.) I thought she’d gained weight, but her body was slim. Later, a mutual friend told me she’s been doing Botox and fillers. The Botox user and I talk freely about our kids and husbands. We’re good friends. I’m surprised she hasn’t told me about the injections. Can I suggest she slow down?
Thanks to Facebook, Twitter and even the comments sections of online news stories, we have been tricked into believing that our opinions are essential, even when they are wholly irrelevant. I don’t blame us for thinking our views should be shared on a nonstop basis. Social media devoured the world, after all, because it married our powerful yen for more attention with corporate juggernauts that offer the illusion of just that.
But really, who cares what you think about your friend’s face? By your own account, she has not asked for your two cents. She hasn’t mentioned the injections to you. Given your surprise, she hasn’t even posted a picture of herself online for you to “like.” These are strong indicators that your opinion is not warranted. Mind your beeswax until your friend makes it your beeswax, by asking you.
Now, that said — and a little hypocritically — it is hard to ignore the stadiums full of women and men who are distorting their faces with injections. I claim no right to judge. But a note to injectees: It wouldn’t be the worst thing to ask friends whose aesthetic judgment you admire if they think you are on the right track. We retain control over our bodies, but sometimes it’s hard to see ourselves as we really are.
Baby Shower: Still an Issue
I am appalled that you did not point out, in last week’s question about the lady who gave herself a baby shower, how gauche and wrong that was. Honestly, I don’t know what you were thinking!
Then let me tell you, along with the 67 email writers who also objected, though none so breathlessly as you. Social rules are useful as long as they reflect the world we live in. When I was a boy, for instance, going to a psychiatrist was considered shameful. You could get thrown off a presidential ticket for seeking help. (Remember Thomas Eagleton?) Social norms dictated silence on mental health. Forty years later, it’s hard to get people to shut up about their therapists. Times change.
On to baby showers. In the old days, parents-to-be, their siblings and their parents would never give a baby shower. (Aunts and cousins were somehow fine.) This was because it was appalling — just appalling, right, Margot? — to think of people giving a party where they, or their immediate family, would collect gifts. Today, we’re all in on the joke: Baby showers simultaneously celebrate a joyful event and outfit the nursery. Gifts are 100-percent baked into the enterprise.
It is silly to distinguish between cousins and siblings (or parents-to-be, for that matter) as appropriate hosts. For folks who like the fantasy (“What? A gift?”), let them keep asking others, sotto voce, to host their showers for them. But why judge a pregnant lady who wants to give her own party? And now, for the mind-blowing finale: You don’t have to give a gift if you don’t want to. Simply share in the joy of the cupcakes and the coming birth. Ka-boom!
I Was Told There’d Be a Smoothie
A neighbor asked to borrow my blender. She had picked a lot of blueberries and planned to use them in breakfast smoothies that week. I delivered the blender with a smile. She promised a smoothie in return. That was two weeks ago. How do I get my blender back, and how do you explain her failure to give me a smoothie?
A call to your neighbor should see your blender safely home: “Can you return my blender, please?” As for her failure to deliver on the smoothie promise, add: “Whatever happened to my smoothie, Baby Jane? I was looking forward to it.” People generally mean well. But sometimes we get distracted and forget, or sleep late and fail to make smoothies, as our hoard of berries rots in the fridge. Turn the other cheek (and tell her you’re using the blender the next time she asks for it).
Prescription for Trouble
I sat next to my friend’s husband at the lunch counter where I often see him. When the waitress came, he couldn’t remember which salad he usually orders. (He always has the chef salad.) Should I warn my friend that her husband may have Alzheimer’s?
You people are working my last nerve this week! No, you may not frighten your friend. Unless you are a physician qualified to diagnose dementia and have evidence other than a momentary salad lapse, please be quiet about your (baseless) suspicions.