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October 10, 2007

Breakfast and Botox?

Why get Botox in a doctor's office when you can be pampered by room service and 500-thread-count sheets?

Botox procedures

Photo Credit: Digital Vision/Getty Images

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The topic at the botox party was testicles. "A friend of mine makes her boyfriend wax his — otherwise she won't put them in her mouth," says Jennifer DeMarchi, as she holds an ice pack to her newly injected forehead. The cheerful, effervescent blonde, a publicist, thinks scrotal waxing — or "scwaxing," as she calls it — would be a profitable sideline for one of her spa clients. Andrew, a 35-ish financial adviser and one of the few men at today's inject-athon, muses out loud about the possibilities of shooting up Down There. "I mean, they're kind of wrinkled. Maybe there's a way to inject Botox so the wrinkles relax, and they're more filled out — and bigger," he adds wistfully.

He's kidding. I think.

I am here at the Sagamore Hotel in South Beach, FL, for the first — and by no means the last — "Botox and Lox" party. The idea of a Botox party is not new; for years, women have been gathering their friends in their doctors' offices for champagne, canapés, and neurotoxins. What is new is taking the party out of a medical setting and putting it in the far more convivial atmosphere of a spa or hotel. Generally, people at a hotel are in a celebratory mood to begin with; certainly today, getting injected in a sun-drenched penthouse suite while receiving mani-pedis and sipping numbing "bikini-tinis" with one's bagels and lox only adds to that what-the-hell feeling. "We think Botox parties might become a fun alternative to bridal showers — or maybe divorce parties," says Neil Sazant, owner of the hotel.

The market seems ready: In 2000, Americans received about 787,000 Botox injections. By 2006, that number had increased 420 percent, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Professional organizations like the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery officially frown (watch those wrinkles!) on injecting Botox in "casual social settings." And even a drug with a 20-plus-year safety record like Botox isn't exactly foolproof — just ask anyone who's ended up spending months looking either perpetually startled or like a Shar-Pei.

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