On the most recent season of Netflix’s original series “Selling Sunset,” real estate agent Christine Quinn hosted a “Burgers and Botox” themed broker’s open to promote her newest luxury listing. The not-so-average, albeit genius, concept brought every elite agent in Los Angeles to the property showing for a quick tune-up—men included. Her boss, Brett Oppenheim, even joked that he already had his fill the day before. “Confidence Is Key” was the name of the episode, but one could argue that there’s a fine line between confidence and vanity.
Just like these reality TV brokers and their million-dollar homes, keeping up appearances is everything. However, women aren’t the only ones feeling the pressure. For some men, cosmetic procedures such as Botox might be the key to their careers. Or at the very least, the answer to improving their online dating profiles. Which raises the question, would you date a man with Botox? For some single women, injectable treatments like Botox are enough to eliminate potential prospects from the dating pool altogether.
“There’s self-care, and then there’s playing God,” said a 28-year-old female from New Jersey, who firmly opposes the idea of dating a man with any kind of plastic surgery.
To put the market into perspective, male cosmetic procedures as a whole have gone mainstream in the past two decades—up 29 percent since 2000. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, Botox was ranked the most popular minimally-invasive cosmetic procedure of 2019 amongst both genders. And nearly 500,000 men reported having Botox injections in the past year. Former NFL star Deion Sanders has become the literal spokesperson for Botox Cosmetic. And “Vanderpump Rules” alum Tom Sandoval admitted to getting injections above his ears to keep his hair in place. Fellow celebrity and rapper, Kanye West, has also spoken openly about getting liposuction back in 2016.
It can be hard to comprehend how the demand for a wrinkle-fighting injection has risen to such great heights, especially with men. But physicians such as Dr. Douglas S. Steinbrech, a plastic surgeon based out of Manhattan and Beverly Hills, have witnessed this uptick firsthand. Since 2014, men now make up more than 80 percent of his clientele. “More and more men are turning to aesthetics to improve the way they look. They may be doing it for relationships, self-esteem, or improved confidence in the work environment,” he explained.
In a society that prides itself on filters and poses judgment at first swipe, one would think that these numbers suggest the stigma surrounding male cosmetic surgery endeavors has finally started to fade. To be clear, the stigma we’re referring to is partially what all people who get plastic surgery face. However, men also endure the unique pressure of not being able to express a desire for any kind of self-improvement. Will it make them look insecure or weak to their partner? How about overtly feminine? These reasons are perhaps why some women still feel that dating a guy who goes “under the needle” is a deal-breaker, and why some men don’t feel comfortable coming clean to their S.O. about their surgical habits.
We recently asked 100 heterosexual millennial women throughout the New York-New Jersey area if they would date a man who gets Botox. 55 percent of women admitted that it would be a deal-breaker, while just less than half said they wouldn’t mind. “Botox shouldn’t be gender-specific,” remarked a 25-year-old female from New Jersey. “If a man is getting older and has some fine lines and wrinkles, why shouldn’t he be able to treat that? Especially if it makes him feel more confident.”
To her point, when I was asked the same question, I had a very similar thought. Beauty standards are constantly evolving, just at a bit of a slower pace for men. And there’s no shame in wanting to assume an active role in one’s health and wellbeing. So just because a practice has been traditionally geared towards women, doesn’t mean it’s not applicable to the male market. It may just take longer to get there.
So, what reasons would turn females off to a guy who gets Botox? “If I’m not getting Botox, I don’t think my man should be,” a 35-year-old woman responded. My theory is that the average person’s frame of reference for all things plastic surgery includes the likes of the Real Housewives or Kardashian-Jenner clan. Meaning, there’s a fear of body modifications looking overdone. Here’s what another woman from NJ had to say: “There is such a thing as getting too much Botox. I believe most straight women do not want a Ken doll.”
Now, I’ve watched enough “Botched” to know that there is a literal, human Ken doll walking around the streets of Downtown LA. Through this lens, it’s clear that women don’t want to break the illusion that maybe their guy isn’t perfect. Or perhaps it trickles back to the issue of confidence versus vanity. A little Botox here and there to fix a supposed flaw is OK. But too much? And you run the risk of rejection.
“I wouldn’t mind dating a man who got Botox, so long as it’s not overboard. There’s a fine line. Sometimes you have to ask yourself, whatever happened to ‘men being men’? What I mean is, there was a time when the confidence and value of a man relied on his character, not whether or not he had crows’ feet,” a 31-year-old woman from New York exclaimed.
It’s obvious that things are moving in the right direction for men in the aesthetics space, and there are a number of reasons for it. More celebrities are speaking out publicly, gender stereotypes are being blurred and the promotion of self-care is now common practice. On the other hand, there will always be women out there who lust after the George Clooney types. The guys who wear their natural forehead impressions like a badge of honor symbolizing wisdom and maturity. And to that, I say, to each his (or her) own.
So, where do you stand? Would you date a man with Botox, or is it a deal-breaker?