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July 2005

Botox Parties

Crabby Old Lady had never watched more than ten minutes of one or two reality television programs. But to write this story today, she has to admit that one afternoon over the Memorial Day weekend, clicking around the television dial looking for an hour or so of mindless relaxation, she was hooked – sucked in for hours – with a marathon broadcast of a reality show titled Blow Out.

It’s about the trials and tribulations of a Los Angeles hair stylist opening a new salon in that bastion of over-priced bling, Beverly Hills. The sleaze factor is high, and in Crabby’s tired state, the show was utterly compelling, in a twisted way, as the self-absorbed hair stylist/owner (“I'm all about hair!”) hired, fired and berated workers (in front of customers) in a quest to create his distorted notion of classy ambience that will attract the rich and famous to his shop.

The oldest among the stylists, manicurists and assistants couldn’t be more than 32 or 33, and even in the harsh lighting of catch-as-you-can video shooting during a “real-life” salon workday, their brows are smooth. Laugh lines show up only temporarily when someone tells a joke. And if any of them have serious crow’s feet yet, they are not apparent.

So Crabby was startled out of her malaise when, at the end of a workday in one episode, most of the salon’s employees tripped off to a Botox party together as casually as going for an after-work drink. In fact, the doctor, who appeared to be administering the injections in his waiting room, served champagne to the group.

Is Crabby Old Lady completely out of touch? There is no doubt about it. In Googling “botox party,” she got 261,000 returns, including one that approvingly states:

“The occasional Botox party is thrown by BevHills plastic surgeon Paul Nassif, M.D., who springs for get-togethers in upscale locations like The Palms in Las Vegas. Moreover, he totes along his doctor’s bag and gives a few Botox injections on the spot.”
- cosmeticsurgery.com

Botox, though greatly diluted, is a poison which, as Nina Turns 40 pointed out some months ago, even has a contraction of the word “toxin” in its name. And Botox injections are a medical procedure. What are these people and, particularly the doctors, thinking?

On a less alarming but spiritually discouraging note, this tells Crabby that the age and beauty police of our culture are on the march and more determined than Crabby had ever imagined. When unnecessary medical procedures become as commonplace as Tupperware parties, especially among young adults who are in the bloom of youth, ageism rules.

No wonder Crabby Old Lady, who believes cosmetic medical procedures to be an odiously misguided practice at any age, can’t find a job.


Patrick Duffy, Barbara Walters and Ronni

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[1987] When my plane arrived late at LAX, I grabbed a rental car and sped off to the location survey on the studio set of the television series, Dallas. The kid at the deli where I made a pit stop for a snack said it was a nice day.

Yeah, I agreed, and how much are these bananas? I asked. He told me some more about the nice LA weather. After some additional back-and-forth on this topic, I snapped, “Just tell me the price of the damned bananas.” The kid paused for a long time, then drawled, “Chill out, lady. You’ll get there.”

A perfect demonstration the difference between New Yorkers and Angelenos.

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COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS WEBSITE
ribena @ 2003-10-25 said:
And how quickly we non-native New Yorkers adapt to your ways.

colorstalker @ 2003-10-25 said:
Great story. Well told.

zinetv @ 2003-10-25 said:
Working on a New York production at an LA studio we, the New Yorkers, were told to slow down, "You walk too fast!"

boogers @ 2003-10-25 said:
Oh, so it’s not just the southeast that’s slow. One time I was touring with a band and we went from my home town in NC up north to New Jersey and then turned around and went back south.

I noticed that the cashiers at the fast food places up north would drum their fingers on the counter and look at you like you were an idiot if you took time to scan the menu before ordering.

Then when we were in a fast food joint in the middle of nowhere down south, the kids behind the counter were joking around and acting like there wasn’t any hurry to take my order. At the time I would rather have been chastised for being too slow than seemingly ignored.

I think it would be nice if people could find a balance between the two extremes. It’s possible to be courteous and efficient at the same time. Just my two cents.

williambernthal @ 2003-10-25 said:
You shoulda wrung that kid’s neck!


Bryant, Ronni and Jackie

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[1987] One of the perks of working for a big-time television show is that the best-in-the-business hair and makeup folks generously step in when you need help for a professional portrait.

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COMMENTS FROM PREVIOUS WEBSITE
hamlet @ 2003-10-24 said:
I guess the wardrobe folks wouldn’t step in when someone came to work without a shirt! ;-)

ribena @ 2003-10-24 said:
I was thinking the same thing, hamlet. Reminds me of two authors who wanted to use a shot of them together for the dust jacket of their book--a picture of them at a beach, cropped to display their bare chests but no sign of clothing. It took longer than I could have imagined to explain to them that the photo really didn’t match their academic creds.

jungalero @ 2003-10-24 said:
These are great. Does Bryant always go around shirtless? Must be distracting. ; )

hillspan @ 2003-10-24 said:
Shirtless guy: What’s up with that?!

zinetv @ 2003-10-24 said:
It is obvious that they literally stepped in to the picture on a day when the air conditioning was on the fritz. Was this a single portrait or some sorta group thing?

av_producer @ 2003-10-24 said:
This looks like a sitcom promo shot...and looks like lots of fun!

ronni @ 2003-10-24 said:
zine, you win the prize - the air conditioning was not working well. And you’re right too, av. We had a good time that day. And zine, it was a for a formal portrait I needed for something I don’t remember, but old friends who’ve worked together a lot should have a picture of themselves, so we did that too.


Blogher Conference

Blogher.com has just posted an announcement that the “How to Get Naked” panel is now complete and what interesting, smart company I am in. Be sure to read panel moderator Jory des Jardin’s introduction to all four of us.

When one of the conference organizers, Elisa Camahort, invited me to speak on this panel, I dithered over money and timing; the event occurs on the other side of the country just about when the closings on the sale of this house and purchase of the new one in Maine will be happening. But Elisa made the very good point to me that Blogher wanted women of my generation – that is, older – to be included.

Elisa could have talked all day about anything else, but that’s her statement what convinced me. It is well-documented, if you can believe surveys, that blogging is a young person’s activity. Ninety-plus percent of bloggers are under 29 and as we’ve discussed here in the past, I think blogging is an excellent activity for elders for all kinds of good reasons. And so I agreed to carve out the time.

The point of the panel is to discuss the limits, if any, to personal disclosure in our blogs and how to decide what those limits are. When I started TimeGoesBy, that is a question to which I put serious thought and came up with a set of loose rules which I follow most of the time, although they have far more to do with other people I mention here than myself.

I’m as eager as if I were not a speaker to find out my panel-mates’ points of view and curious to see if my being a good deal older, at 64, brings a different perspective to the questions. Or not.


Announcement(s)

category_bug_journal2.gif I have nothing to say today and no time to say it.

Things are popping on the sale of my New York home with much to do to prepare it to show within less than two weeks. And soon I’m going to Maine to look at houses there. There are tons of details to work out (the tax man is particularly unkind to unmarried old ladies) and I swear the earth has sped up on its axis. Days are shorter than they were a month ago - down to about 19 hours now, I think, and continuing to drop.

But the real reason for this "announcement" is that since I began this odyssey to a new life in another state, I have not been reading your blogs as often as I’m accustomed to. And I'm feeling out of touch.

My routine for more than a year had been to visit everyone on the Older and Younger Blogger lists (plus some others) at least four times a week and usually more. Now, I’ve been able to stop by only intermittently and at longer intervals.

I read you, you know, because you're good. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be on the lists. You each give me so much to think about (which is pretty much my highest compliment to anyone) and you make me laugh, make me cry and show me all sorts of wonderful things I wouldn’t otherwise know about. I never imagined when I started blogging how much you would enrich my life.

You are my friends. I treasure you and I hope you will bear with me if I don’t blog here or visit you as often as I would like for the next two months or so while I re-order my life. But I’m not disappearing and I’ll be back full-steam when I’m settled in Maine by, I hope, sometime in August.

And I’ll be peeking in on you as frequently as I can…

Oh, one more thing: I'll be speaking on a panel at the Blogher conference at the end of July, so if you're going, let's be sure to look up each other.

"My" panel is titled How To Get Naked, moderated by Jory des Jardins. Other panelists are: Heather Armstrong (Dooce), Koan Bremner and Jeneane Sessum.

Despite the title of the panel, this old lady is keeping her clothes on.

And one more thing: Many of you are posting your own stories about "A Sense of Place" and I'm collecting links to them on a page at that blog called "Other Voices." I've just added one from Claude of Blogging in Paris.

Please let me know when you've posted anything on that topic so I can add it to the library.


In and Out of Confidence

Tamar Tamar joined the blogosphere in January when she launched In and Out of Confidence. I don’t remember how, but I discovered her early on and added her to the Older Bloggers list right away. She writes always from the heart and she touched mine immediately with her third post - a letter to her father, after his death, about returning to her girlhood home in Rhodesia (Zimbabwe now) to visit him when he was dying:

“The smells of Rhodesia, the wide avenues, my little town! The daily visits to you in the hospital – just sitting by you as you slept, holding your hand, waiting with you to meet Death together. Ever since I was small I remember your hands – large, soft, wrinkled, warm – always warm. Dad, you had such a tender, loving smile at me. Do you remember when we’d walk in the park around by the ducks and the toy train with the beautiful bougainvillea and jacaranda?”

From day one, Tamar wrote of real things that matter. She is dramatically honest and open in reporting her own life experiences, but she has the remarkable talent, in doing so, to leave a lot of room between her words to fill in your own memories and feelings. Circumstances have often left me alone on holidays over the years and I remember nodding quietly to myself when I read this entry:

“I entered our apartment late last night. Ada and Molly wiggled and purred, rubbed themselves on doorways and between my legs. My life partner away at a conference, and for the first time ever, I will spend Passover completely alone this year. My cave feels warm and comforting. Alone does not mean lonely.”

Tamar and I spent an afternoon together last week when she was in New York. By the time we finished a couple of glasses of wine and big pots of steamed mussels in a little French bistro in the Village, I felt like I had re-met an old friend. On face value, our strings of life events appear to be very different (for god’s sake, her grandfather was the chief rabbi of Rhodes!) but those are not always what connect people and it was easy to feel a comfortable companionship with Tamar right away. Maybe that we both write to understand ourselves is a part of it, or that we are growing into old age with a similar acceptance and eagerness to discover what this era of life is about:

“Lately I like feeling my age. Sure there are disadvantages physically at times. But on the whole I am so much more self-assured and happier than when I was young. I am able to negotiate with my inner child more easily and find it less difficult to forgive. I experience love and compassion more deeply than ever before, and enjoy my solitude. I have more patience to listen to others and am more comfortable with unanswered questions or the mysteries of life. I have noticed that when I look in the mirror I am not so surprised to see gray hair or wrinkles…”

Tamar is a seeker of knowledge and understanding of the self, and she keeps at it every day on her blog with intensity, honesty, generosity and warmth. If you’re not reading In and Out of Confidence, you should be. It is only superficially about Tamar; you will learn things there about yourself that you may only have wondered about in the past.