“Eve nibbled on the apple because the serpent promised it would make her smart. If he had said, ‘It will erase your fine wrinkles,’ she would have buzzed through that Tree of Knowledge like a beaver.” ~Author Paula Wall

Father Time is my beauty consultant. “Think of wrinkles as underdeveloped dimples,” he told me.

My friend Betty, however lives to scrutinize my face as if she’s on a mission from God. Convinced of her divine calling, she wakes up each morning praying for an opportunity to pinpoint my imperfections.

“You need a nip and tuck,” she said yesterday.

“That sort of thing,” I said, “like marriage, should not be entered into unadvisedly or lightly.”

She widened her eyes as far as her recent Botox injections would allow. Betty’s baby blues get worked more often than a penciled-in crossword puzzle.

“Girl, did you forget to pay your brain bill? Time is not your friend. That lucky old sun turns you into a Maxine clone.”

Miz Southern Big Hair tossed her teased, sprayed and over-processed blonde locks and then grabbed a wad of mine. “A woman’s hair is her crowning glory but yours should be attached to a Halloween mask.”

Maybe my face looks like a map of Calcutta and maybe it’s time to swap Babe’s rusty dog clippers for a professional haircut, but a girl has to draw the line somewhere.

“Ouch,” I whined. “Stop yanking my hair, Betty, or I won’t be the only one in need of a surgeon.”

Betty’s snide Halloween remark brought up a memory I’d like to forget. A teenager dressed like a skank on The Real Housewives of Atlanta came to my house Trick or Treating last year. After an uncharitable glance, she asked where I bought my costume. I wasn’t wearing one. She stopped texting long enough to exclaim, “Like phat! You are like so bland? Like that dreary wig is so UN-chung, so howling. Like, you know, so yesterday?”

I told the skank to wait and then I raced though the house in search of something sharp to bury inside her freakin’ candy apple.

But back to Betty Botox. Since her last treatment, she wears a fixed smile as if she recently discovered multiple orgasms. Her eyebrows are tattooed below a transplanted widow’s peak and now even her grandkids don’t recognize her.

“Look,” I said, “the truth is Babe doesn’t want me to get any work done.”

That was a lie, but if I wake up wearing a Clarabella the Clown grin like Betty’s, Babe will make me wear a burqa to bed. Mama didn’t raise stupid children.

Betty’s overworked eyes stared at me like I was speaking in tongues. “Why did you ask Babe about it? He’s a man. They don’t get it.”

Betty’s recently implanted cheeks looked like over-ripe tomatoes. Longing for Audrey Hepburn cheekbones, she took a little trip to Implants-R-Us and wound up looking like Alvin the Chipmunk. You get what you pay for.

“When Babe opens his eyes in the morning he likes to recognize the drooling woman in bed with him.”

Miss Southern Big Hair snorted like a horse and shook her mop of bottled blonde hair. “Only one thing left for me to say.” She sighed with more melodrama than Hepburn could have mustered up if her skinny tush was on fire. “Make friends with that Kim Kardashian wannabe before next Halloween or she’ll recognize you.”

“So what?”

Betty gave me a look. “Have you been sniffing Babe’s aftershave or what? You put that child through a bunch of trauma.”

Tossing my limp head of hair, I tried to look offended. “Her meltdown was not my fault. I did not put anything in her apple. I only thought about it.”

“Then why did she hotfoot it down the street as if the Prince of Darkness was chasing her? Word got around.”

I fluffed my uncolored, unconditioned hair, forced a smile on my wrinkled face and hoped my unbleached teeth took focus away from my vertical lip lines. I batted my droopy eyes while my oversized, hot pink nose twitched like a bitch-kitty.

“I’m growing old gracefully.”

Betty blew air through her over-puffed lips, rolled her over-taut eyes and shook her over-bleached hair.

“FYI. Aging gracefully became a No-No when Baby Boomers hit forty and invented the computer, collagen and Botox.”

“Boomers invented computers?”

She sighed. “You’re hopeless. I might as well drink this martini.”

“Well, all right. Martinis make my wrinkles look like undeveloped dimples.”

“They do not,” she said.

“Drink up, girlfriend. Two of these puppies and you’ll see for yourself.”