Last night, D.C.'s first walk-in Botox clinic opened its doors to the wrinkled. Dr. Ayman Hakki, the cosmetic surgeon behind Glover Park's new Luxxery Express Botox Boutique, aims to inject the popular muscle-freezing protein into area faces without the hassle of a doctor's appointment. After all, hassle leads to frowns. Frowns cause wrinkles. And wrinkles require Botox.
Perhaps it was the heavily-trafficked open Champagne bar; perhaps it was the carefully blocked nerve impulses. For whatever reason, few frown lines were on display at Luxxery's grand opening fete yesterday evening. "Everybody's in a good mood here tonight," Hakki's 81-year-old mother, Maha, told me. "It's the idea of plastic surgery. It makes people happy."
"I'm 56 years old. I'm a child of the '50s, baby," says Hiba Bittar, Luxxery's chief operating officer and Hakki's wife of 33 years. Bittar, playing hostess tonight in a tight floral dress, looks neither young nor old. She agrees to give me a tour of Hakki's work.
"Obviously, at 56, I wouldn't have these breasts. I have breast implants and the whole world knows it," she says, clutching a Piper-Heidsieck Champagne cocktail in one hand. Bittar sweeps her free hand over her face. "And I do all the typical fillers and fat transfers that you need to do to look like I do."
And her husband performs it all for her. "Oh, he's operated on every family member of mine and his," Bittar says. "Our son, nieces, brothers, brothers' wives. His mom." Call it "Brotox."
Hakki's mother, Maha, received a face-lift from her son at age 55. Now 81, Maha doesn't do Botox. "I'm OK! I'm fine! I don't need it!" she tells me.
She gets a different kind of benefit out of Hakki's cosmetic treatments. "I have the in-law suite," she tells me. "Bedroom, bathroom, sitting room, living room, everything. I've got my own car. I drive places." And she gets invited to the parties.
"Botox knows no age, no gender," Bittar tells me. In fact, Luxxery's first male client walked in just the other day. Bittar estimates that 20 percent of Luxxery's Botox recipients are male, but that most of them "wouldn't want you to know they were in here."
Bittar has got a plan to change that. "I'm going to call it 'Boytox,'" she tells me. "Men shouldn't have to feel weird about doing what they need to do to take care of themselves."
The men in attendance are split on "Boytox."
"No," offers Pierre Rahal, 55.
"Possibly," Don Silvey, 41, says. "It's all about marketing. Why do you think they created Vaseline For Men?"
On a scale of 10 to negative 10, Christien Oliver, 26, rates his interest in Botox a negative 10. If Botox were "Boytox," "I'd still not be inclined," Oliver says. "I guess it might move me to a -9.5"
Timur Tugberk, who rolls into Luxxery in a V-neck t-shirt, blond-dyed mohawk, and sparkly gold slippers, is one of the District's elusive male Botox users. "Love it," says Tugberk, 26. "Necessary."
Tugberk's thoughts on "Boytox"? "That's cute. I mean, it sounds really gay," says Tugberk, who is gay. "But that's OK, gay boys need it too."
What about "Brotox"? "So lame," Tugberk says. "I'm not a bro, I'm a ho. They should call it 'Hotox.' They should call it 'Blowtox.' Now that's a party I'd go to."
Half of the attendees at Luxxery's opening are members of the press. A few are friends of Bittar's from her yoga class at SomaFit. And some are just here for the Peacock Cafe passed radish-and-seawood lettuce wraps, the free samples of Luxxery's private label skin care line, and the open bar.
In the corner of Hakki's clinic, three friends huddle near the gift bags, clutching drinks. They're not here to assess their periorbital lines; they just heard of the party through local business resource Bisnow. One of the guys introduces friend Mary Carrick to me as "a former supermodel. Back in the Stone Age, before you were born." She models "underthings," he tells me. "And shoes."
Carrick denies she models anything. "I'm five-four-and-a-half," Carrick, 44, says. In fact, she says, "I don't really do anything right now." I ask her if an interest in cosmetic surgery brought her out tonight. "Not surgery. I haven't really talked to anyone here," Carrick says. "It's a party. I like to see who's up."