Last year I got an unexpected bonus and decided to inject it into my face.
Imagining what “me 2.0” could look like, I impulsively ran to the office of my dermatologist and asked him to make me look less tired. The result was a dermatologic orgy consisting of Restylane, Botox, micro silicon injections for my upper lip and a Fraxel Restore Dual 1550/1927 laser treatment. I had the head of a pumpkin for 3 days.
After I resurfaced to join the human race, I found myself over sharing details of my ordeal with my friends, secretly wanting validation for what I had endured. I got the equivalent of benign Facebook “likes” until I ran into my friend Maria.
“You didn’t really need it” she said, looking down at her IPhone and then slowly back up at me. I pressed on. “No really, I want to know. Do I look better or do I just look, you know…different? I was thinking of going back and doing another…” She cut me off before I could finish. “I wouldn’t. You look smoother, but you really didn’t have anything to fix in the first place and I miss your freckles. Honestly, you stayed flat on your 1-10 scale”.
She was right.
It’s almost impossible to get an objective grasp on what we look like because we’re too close. What’s in our head distorts what we’re really seeing in the mirror — too much history and emotional baggage clouds our beauty identity. Put this in the context of our culture where more is more, and if it can be done, then you should do it and you can see why it’s easy to fixate on one thing, the wrong thing and lose perspective on the bigger picture of you.
This is why you need a Beauty Wingman. These women are not merely your friends, they are your heros. They have the guts to tell you the truth and serve it up with love. You probably know who they are already. They’re the first to tell you when you have spinach in your teeth or when you need a mint. They’re not afraid to point out that “yes, you can see your cellulite thru your new white J Brand jeans”, but then hand you a pair of Spanx Power Panties to course correct. More importantly, they’ve got your back.
Now, not everyone we love in our lives is equipped to be a Beauty Wingman. Some considerations:
1. Ability to be direct. Some people just aren’t wired to be bold and candid. That’s OK, you love them for other reasons, but they can’t fly as your beauty wingman.
2. Relationship to you. Avoid frenemies, or competitive friends and family. They’ll take delight in bringing you down a notch. Husbands, partners, boyfriends make terrible wingmen because you’ll wind up fighting about money and they don’t want to know what’s in your special sauce anyway. A good rule of thumb is someone who likes you, relates to your quest to look great, but also has enough distance to be objective and non judgmental.
3. Relationship to the way they look. Think twice about enlisting anyone with serious body dysmorphic issues, whether it’s a delusional obsession with being thin, tan, young, plastic surgery, etc. You want an unbiased filter and want to avoid them projecting their issues onto you. Think about it, would you ask the Tanorexic NJ mom to be your wingman?
4. Boy or girl? For the love of God if you have a gay man in your life start there. They just know. Otherwise, stick with women. Again, do not use your husband or boyfriend for the reasons mentioned above. Straight male standards of what looks good tend to veer more towards porn than pretty.
5. Make the feedback actionable. There’s a difference between wanting a compliment and wanting feedback so make sure you know the difference. In my case, I was sub-consciously looking for a compliment which caused Maria to shut down, but when I mentioned I might go back for more, she intervened and that was helpful. Put another way, if you’re seriously considering a Hope Springs Eternal tramp stamp tattoo, consult your wingman before you get it, not after.
Lastly, don’t rule someone because they’re not a beauty junkie or fashionista. The Beauty Wingmen on my speed dial tend to be the ones that have the most insight, objectivity and always, without doubt has my back.