You may remember a commercial back in the 80’s featuring a lovely model intoning, “I don’t intend to grow old gracefully. I intend to fight it every step of the way.”
While that sounds very direct, it’s unlikely that the man in her life would have been received kindly if he suggested any kind of procedure to aid her with that goal. Similar to a common female question “Does this make me look fat?” The question and statement are rhetorical.
But at the same time, you want to help her feel good about herself. She has mentioned the things about her appearance that she would like to improve, and you are supportive of anything that makes her feel better. You may have heard about places like American Laser Skincare clinic and how treatments can help restore a youthful appearance, but how do you begin the conversation?
It takes some finesse to handle this situation. First of all, let her bring it up. And once she does, be kind, supportive, positive, and smart. Always bear in mind that any cosmetic procedure is more about a positive self-image than vanity. Here are some ideas on how to work through this situation to her benefit–and yours.
There she is on the television, the cover of a magazine, or the artwork of a CD. The flawless, glowing face of a 30-something or 40-something celebrity, not looking a flash bulb over 26. Your partner stares for a long time and says, “How does she do it? How does she look five years younger than me when she’s five years older?”
Setting Photoshop aside, this is the point where you mention that she’s probably had laser treatments and other things to fight off wrinkled skin. But sound positive about that, without sounding promotional. “I’d say she’s had those laser treatments to help her,” you can say. Don’t go so far as creating any kind of endorsement, just speculate that these procedures are what makes her look so young.
Then Keep It Hypothetical…
At this point, you’re likely to get a query from her. She may ask what you would think if she were to get those treatments. And this is where it gets hairy. You must be at your smoothest if you want not only to help her, but also to stay out of the doghouse yourself.
Your reply has to do a few key things. First, you must make it clear that you don’t think she looks old. Second, you have to be on the positive side of noncommittal about her own participation, and third, you must be clear that it’s her decision and you support what she wants.
So frame it like this: “Get it done only if it will make you happy and if it will make you look on the outside exactly how you feel on the inside. But it is up to you. I’ll love you regardless.”
Nice job. But the conversation probably isn’t over.
…Until She Gets Real
This could be a moment of revelation when she acknowledges having some thoughts about such a procedure herself. “I was thinking about one of those laser things for my skin.”
Tread lightly, tenderfoot. This is very delicate territory. Your response won’t matter in words so much as in tone. If you choose to say, “Really?”, it must sound like the same response you’d give if she’d told you that she was getting a bigger office at work. It’s not a bolt of lightning from the sky, and life would have gone on if it hadn’t happened. But because it did happen, you feel positive about it. Posing it as a question also puts the ball back in her court to let her talk through her process of considering the procedure. Like a good therapist, you shouldn’t tell her what to think or what to say but instead urge her to be honest with herself about her feelings and opinions regarding skin treatments. This helps redirect the question back into her direction.
Blame Aging Skin On The Rain…And The Sun…
She may blame her tanning habits in high school or maybe lackadaisical skin care in early adulthood for whatever wrinkles she is bearing. Don’t let her blame herself. You can’t say anything about it just being natural aging–because that says “You’re getting old”–but you can instead make it the fault of the scorching Texas sun or her stressful job, or her time spent outdoors exercising to keep her overall health good. A few crow’s feet are a small price to pay for averting a middle-age heart attack, right?
So let’s boil this down to its purest form. Don’t make her think you believe she looks old. Do be supportive of whatever she wants. Don’t bring up cosmetic procedures yourself, just be favorable to her thoughts.