Dear Vinvan Vol #4/ “Should I Tell My New Partner I Get Botox?”

Our resident advice columnist is back with her latest installment – this time, a reader wants to know if she should tell her partner that she gets Botox.

Dear Vinvan,

I’ve been getting cosmetic ‘work’ done on and off since my mid-thirties. A lot of this time I’ve been single but now I’m in a serious relationship I’m torn over whether I should tell my new partner. Technically it’s not even his business as I pay for it myself and I am completely at ease with how it makes me look and feel. I really don’t know why I feel reluctant to share this info as I am open about going to the hairdressers or the dentist so why is this holding me back? And it’s not just him. I only tell friends who I know won’t judge me. Is it ok to keep a little mystery or is it outright lying to avoid the absolute truth?

About Face

Dear About Face,

For years I didn’t tell my husband I had Botox. Like you, I started before we were a couple and the first time I had anything injected into my face it was a work freebie (ah the perks of the magazine industry)  so I convinced myself it was more out of curiosity than vanity.

I would tell people that I’d tried it but then make out it was only because it was free and that I “hardly ever did it.” When I had a ‘vampire facial’ I shared all the gory bloody details because being both outrageous and topical it earnt me a decent chunk of conversational currency but I wasn’t exactly upfront about why I felt I needed it to begin with.

People tell ‘untruths’ all the time. People like you. People like me. People like Adele. Once the poster girl for body positivity, when she lost 22 kg the internet imploded with possible theories, endless assumptions and dubious diet hacks all detailing how and why she did it. Sirtfood! Pilates! Duh, calorie restriction! Whatever the truth I wonder what she actually lost if she has in fact gained the weight of keeping a secret. 

So ask yourself this About Face. What do you gain from not telling your partner? I asked myself this question when I heard my husband berating a woman online (no, not actually online, he’s not a troll) for looking freak-like after far too much plastic surgery. I found myself sticking up for her and somehow caught in the middle of a no-win argument that wasn’t really about this strangers decision to turn herself into a human cat-lady and more about my own sense of guilt for not being honest about my own choices. 

Because like you, I love getting Botox between my eyebrows. I do it twice a year. It makes me appear like I’ve been on holiday, had a decent night’s sleep and look a lot less angry than I actually am at any given moment.  I think my husband can handle this. And once I told him it turned out I was right. Turns out he didn’t know the first thing about Botox because why would he? Gordon Ramsey aside, being a straight cisgender male he’s not currently the target market. To him, anything from the neck up might as well be a full facelift.

And yes, I could be like one of my friend from school’s mother who used to get out of bed every morning an hour before her husband to ‘put her face on’ and then slip back under the covers to faux-wake at the same time as he did wearing a full-face of makeup. I mean I wouldn’t technically do this. But I could subscribe to this ‘feminine mystery’ bullshit. But it’s just a little bit patronising don’t you think? Not to mention messy, a waste of an extra hour of kip and all jokes aside insulting to both of us for making assumptions about trust and desire without checking in first.

A relationship is basically one endless conversation. It’s point? To reveal ever increasing vulnerabilities at the speed at which both parties can handle it. This includes the relationship you have with your face. Invite your partner into this conversation. He might surprise you with his own frailties and insecurities. Turns out I have quite a lot to say about men’s underwear. If I don’t like one of my partner’s t-shirts he immediately takes it off and puts it in the rubbish bin. These conversations can be fun, insightful and a little bit playful. The most important thing is to keep having them. Immobilise your frown lines as much as you want but just don’t put a freeze on open communication.  It’s where all the juicy stuff lies.   

(Main image by @dwarmeling)

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