It’s not that botox isn’t used for cosmetic purposes in Iran: it is. It’s used in such copious amounts that it can be impossible to find when needed for medical procedures other than making wrinkles disappear. In fact, the first time I saw a botox paralyzed smile was in the film “Marriage Iranian Style” where one of the actors spoke from a half-paralyzed mouth. “It’s botox,” a friend watching told me. “No,” I argued, “I’m sure he has bell’s palsey.”
My brother-in-law had bell’s palsey. For about six months he spoke from half his mouth. “Thank god his face didn’t get stuck when he was doing something weird,” my sister said at the time. “Can you imagine?”
I was not exposed to the full extent of botox-mania until leaving Iran, when I fell into a kind of stupor that found me hypnotized by the television. I saw one paralyzed smile after another. Every other someone over 38 (is it younger?) seems to have developed a kind of happy snarl.
Here's the one Tom Brokaw smiled on last Sunday's Meet The Press: