I had dinner with a friend of mine from college the other night who still looked 25 years old. I stared at her all through dinner, scowling. I was irritable to begin with from the ride over. LA uber drivers are notorious for not knowing how to drive, my pants were too tight, I had a headache, and I hated my hair.
And there was her face.
True, she was a model in her actual twenties, and her mom also looked impossibly young. There was undoubtedly a genetic component, but still. It was uncanny. At one point she leaned in and asked me,
“Why are you staring at me?”
“I’m looking for a wrinkle,” I yelled.
She put her hand on mine and smiled.
“No, seriously, what the hell?” I asked so loud she jumped back.
“Steph,” she said, and gently put her hand back on mine to calm me down.
“Stop hitting me!” I said.
A few minutes later she left the table and came back with a warm plate of vegan chocolate chip cookies. That she made. From scratch.
“I think you need to start taking hormones,” she whispered.
“Ok!!! Which ones? The kind that give you cancer???” I screamed.
“Bio-identical,” she whispered in her 25 year old voice.
“Fine!!” I said, trying to remember when I first started yelling at people.
I yelled at the TV all the time, I yelled (in my head) at people on the plane who put their carry-ons in the wrong overhead bin, and I regularly yelled at my sister for not picking up the phone immediately when I wanted to tell her what I ate that day.
I went home, did my research, and called the doctor who wrote the book on hormones. I won’t mention her name because apparently she takes drug money, but who am I to tell someone how to earn a living? All I needed was to stop yelling at people, to grow my hair back, and to not have wrinkles. And she had the drugs.
“Hello, this is Stephanie Lessing. I’d like a prescription for hormones. I want the same ones my friend is taking.”
“You have appointment?” the unprofessional woman who answered the phone asked me.
“No, I’m calling for an appointment.”
Considering how rude she was, I think I said it very nicely.
“Dr. L not in today.”
“Okay, well, how about tomorrow?”
“Is this emergency?”
“No, I wouldn’t call a loud voice an emergency, but I’d still like an appointment. It doesn’t have to be today or tomorrow.”
“Well, she only takin’ phone calls tomorrow.”
“Okay, so can I call her?”
“You need exam first.”
“Okay, then can I have an appointment for an exam?”
“She booked. When you want to come?”
“Oh my GOD!!! What is wrong with you?? Aren’t you supposed to tell me when I can have an appointment!! How did you get this job? ” I shouted.
And hung up.
I thought about calling her back, but there was no excuse for asking me when I wanted an appointment. I decided to talk myself out of taking hormones altogether. Life without estrogen wasn’t so bad. Thin hair doesn’t mean you’re a bad person, and I could always just warn people ahead of time about the yelling. Not to mention the serious health risks associated with taking drugs. What if they killed me? I took a long look in the mirror and asked myself, “Is thicker hair, a sweeter voice and a younger face really worth dying for?”
And then I called her back.