Has anyone seen the latest Scream movie? The Wes Craven reboot of his hysterically intellectual and scary series? We watched it the other night. Scared us silly with all that slashing, blood, and bulging eyes as one person after the other dropped dead amidst sharp violin notes and girls running around screaming from room to room.
And can I just say that the loudest screams in the little flat I share with Saffy and Amanda were reserved for Courtney Cox?
Amanda stared slack jawed at the screen. “Oh. My. God. What has Courtney Cox done to her face?”
“Has she had work done?” Saffy mumbled through a mouthful of Garrett’s popcorn.
“Of course she has!” Amanda said knowledgeably over the screams of a nubile wench being stabbed by the vicious man in black. “Look at the odd angle of her eyes! And, look, she can’t even lift her brows! Oh, Courtney, if Monica Geller could see you now!”
For days, it was all the girls could talk about.
“Got plastic surgery, meh?” Sharyn asked over afternoon tea at the Regent.
“Oh my God, Sharyn,” Amanda said, “she looked like she was caught in a wind-tunnel! Her face was so tight!”
“So tight!” Saffy repeated through a mouthful of chocolate éclair. “So tight that she never smiled. Did you notice that, Amanda? Courtney Cox never smiled through that whole movie.”
“She was pulled so tightly she probably would have farted if she’d smiled,” said Amanda, doing absolutely no credit to her expensive Swiss boarding school education.
It’s a sure sign that you’re getting old when every time you get together with friends from school, you find yourself scrutinising (and silently judging) their faces for lines and then realize, to your mounting horror, that if your friends are looking wrinkled, then so must you.
My friend Jonathan recently emailed me and told me to look up the website of the law firms that our friends were now partners at.
It wasn’t a pleasant exercise. I swear, if it wasn’t for their names, I wouldn’t have recognized anyone.
Guys whom I remembered to be fresh and handsome back in law school now looked haggard with thinning hair, sagging jowls, and huge bags under their eyes. Girls who once made professors stumble over their lectures looked positively matronly, their eyes hidden behind ugly glasses, their gorgeous faces buried beneath a mask of three-dimensional make-up and their hair burdened with enough hair spray to withstand a cyclone.
“What happened to everyone?” I emailed Jonathan in a panic.
He wrote back: “Stress. Children. Mortgages. Office politics. Loans. Life.”
It was such a depressing thought. It later occurred to me that they don’t tell you about this in school. No one does. It’s like a dirty secret. No teacher or responsible adult ever said to us, “Right, after all these exams and after you graduate and get a job, you’re going to immediately age 30 years and it’s not going to be pretty!” I suppose if they did, no one would ever bother wasting their lives at school. They’d all be at the beach having a party and getting drunk.
I recently spent an hour holding a mirror to my face in the bathroom looking for the devastating aging I saw so clearly in my friends.
“Should we fix an appointment to see Woffles Wu?” I asked Saffy.
“Good luck getting an appointment with him!” she said, never looking up from her latest copy of Prestige magazine. “He’s always going somewhere fun and giving lectures, or he’s traveling down memory lane back to Disco Singapore. Do you think he’s happily married? One of my life ambitions is to marry a plastic surgeon. Can you imagine that? Free face lifts and tummy tucks for life! Think of all the money I’d save! You and Amanda will get friend’s discounts, of course,” Saffy said magnanimously from the comfortable heights of her parallel universe. “Oh my God, have you seen this issue of Prestige? I’m halfway through it and I’ve not seen a single person who hasn’t had plastic surgery. Everyone’s been tugged, peeled and stapled! I tell you, if I ever looked like this, I’d never leave the house!”
“So what would be the point of getting married to Woffles Wu?” I asked.
“Oh, Woffles would never do shoddy work like this!” said the future Mrs Saffy Wu loyally. She snapped shut the magazine and struggled out of the couch. “All this talk of tummy tucks is making me hungry. What’s for lunch? I wonder if Woffles does Botox for tummies. Can you imagine it? Eat all you want and still be able to fit into a bikini without being mistaken for a beached whale! He’d be richer than God!”