Actresses pay Sebagh et al small fortunes for partial paralysis - enough to look young and fabulous under sympathetic lighting, but not so much as would take the Oscar potential out of the performance. I'm too tired to offer up an Oscar worthy anything 24/7. But I do have cogent business and personal reasons why I don't want to show any negative emotion whatsoever. Impassive would do it. Inscrutable would be even better. It worked for Diane de Poitiers, who wielded her power and allegedly maintained youthful good looks by never letting the slightest emotion register on her face. Quite how she did this without the aid of injectables I have no idea. But there's something to be said for the power conferred by an immobile face. The nuclear-powered botox had better be the answer.
All my life I've been cursed with a Roger Moore eyebrow. I don't want to raise one eyebrow quizzically: it's all right for Romantic Heroes and Sir Roger, but on me it not only gives me shocking horizontal forehead lines, it also makes me look at people like I think they're mad. Or stupid. Or worse. At the very least, this involuntary quirk makes me look as if I'm expressing mild disbelief and believe me, in this economic climate it's not good for the Managing Director to think you're questioning a decision. To be fit for business in 2009, one should look like one could achieve the impossible for the ungrateful, single-handedly waging war on recession armed only with a pair of sharpened Rupert Sandersons and a 'can-do' attitude. Exhausting. I can't possibly manage that amount of 'Captain of the Netball team' enthusiasm, and even if I could, my left eyebrow would denounce me, raising itself into my hairline in an unbecomingly cynical manner. All I can manage is to deny readability. We don't realise how much we rely on reading people's faces, until those faces become unreadable. Applause junkies work harder if they're not fed with tacit approval. The inclined to criticise climb down, because you appear unaffected by their judgements. Bad news is received with apparent equanimity. Good news the same.
It's not just in the workplace that showing one's feelings is a hazard. At home my face seems to have set itself in the disagreeable lines of the permanently disgruntled and dissatisfied. Curiously, this isn't a true reflection on the inner workings of my head - fundamentally I'm content - but Mr Trefusis has registered the constant scowl and is disobliged to cajole me out of a black humour, choosing instead to play it back to me with some special features of his own. One of us will have to break out of this mexican stand off and stop glowering and start smouldering instead. Much more fun. And if muscle paralysis is the simplest quick fix and an easy shortcut to rebooting the mood chez Trefusis, sign me up for a lifetime's supply.
It seems that changing the look on my face is the best I can muster right now in the way of managing my world. My first attempt at botox only confirmed to me that a smoother expression begets a smoother life. Pray God I'm not resistant to this variant too.
This is not, then, about the pursuit of youth, but the pursuit of peace: Sanity not vanity.
Dr Preema Vig MBBS MRCGP. Preema@gmail.com. 02079385488