Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Tales From the Shallow End of the Pool

I think I've seen enough episodes of Dr. 90210 to scare me away from plastic surgery forever. Between the Doctor who dresses like a West-end British dandy to the scenes of true gore wherein the client's face is ripped off and repositioned two inches higher, I'm not exactly a candidate for any surgery that doesn't save my life. I find it both repulsive and fascinating, and of course I'm hooked within the first few minutes of the show.

I love it.


I'm good friends with some o.r. nurses, as well as women who are married to plastic surgeons, and the stories I've heard? Unbelievable. Obviously, most people who go under the knife turn out just fine. But it's those one in a million stories that people share, and let me tell you, they're terrifying.


Like the woman who simply died on the table during a lunchtime liposuction. Or the plastic surgeon who sees each patient as a slab of meat with dollar signs on her boobs, to the other doc who is so set on conforming women to his set ideal of Hooker Barbie that he routinely pushes huge implant sizes for women, regardless of their frame size. And this is just in my small town.


That said, I'm still a vain girl. I even went through a phase my best friend calls my "wrinkle-rexic" days. I had just turned thirty, and that's when the crow's feet start to make their entrance, and frankly, I was alarmed. I really didn't want those lines on my face that had taken residence seemingly overnight. Thankfully, I've been a product whore aficionado for my entire adult life, so the "damage" (oh, don't be all mature and call it life lines, or signs of living. I call it damage) isn't nearly what it could be.


I have the distinct memory of my friend's mom telling us (back when we were no more than twelve) that we should start using moisturizer every day and night as soon as we hit nineteen. And to never, ever rub our eyes. My friend was dismissive, "uh, huh mom. Now would you please leave us alone?" Whereas I was strangely, intently enraptured and let those pearls of wisdom burn themselves on my little growing mind.

Fast forward to my sophomore year in college, and while I barely had enough to eat (I literally went hungry sometimes) I almost always had a bottle of Estee Lauder's Fruition or night serum in my cosmetic bag. I had an excellent barometer for priorities back then.

And while I get chills from the vision of a scalpel searing through my skin, or parts of my body being peeled like an orange, I am not afraid of needles. Needles that can freeze the errant crow's foot from becoming an eagle claw? Sign me up. Injectables that promise to subtly plump the contours of my face that perchance have hollowed over the years? Let me have a glass of wine first and someday I just may. I already color my hair and wear a little makeup. I exercise every day, and try to keep a holistic approach to the health of my body, my mind, and my soul. How is this so different? Is it a slippery slope or a distinct line in the sand that delineates self care from shallow, high maintenance?

I watched a fascinating show about a month ago on the History channel on the history of beauty products. Did you know that the first documented case of plastic surgery was Queen Nefertititi? What about the waxing/sugaring/kohl-loving Egyptians? Vanity, it seems, its timeless.

So how much is too much? When do you cross the line between caring about your looks and becoming unhealthily obsessed? More interestingly, where do you draw the line? And did I ever say I was a deep thinker?

Personally, I like the occasional dip in the shallow end.

7 comments:

Mary Alice said...

Ahh, my dear friend, do you recall the day at the Atlanta Bread Company when you demanded that I look at your crows feet? I said I couldn’t see anything and you shrieked "look closer" and I leaned in, squinting near sightedly at your face until it appeared to some excited Southern gentleman in the corner that we were kissing and it was his lucky day ....girl on girl action in the Hotlanta Bread company... whooo hoooo. You know I still couldn't see anything.

Absolutely Bananas said...

Oh I love this post! I am definitely there in the shallow end with ya... although finances keep me yearning rather than partaking in most things you describe. But I do pay an unreasonable amount to get my hair done, so I guess that counts!

Nancy said...

I'd prefer to not grow old gracefully, tyvm, lol

I do say ... "these lines, these craters here" (crows feet) "I have EARNED everyone of them, I DID raise kids through the teen years yanno"

I don't think I could pull a Sharon-Osborn-all-over, but a nip and tuck, if I could afford it, sure, why not?

Sarah said...

Sharpen the scalpel and put me under! If I had the $$$, I'd get a tummy tuck and lipo in a millisecond! I've had 3 c-sections, and during my 3rd, I seriously asked my dr. if she couldn't perhaps just stitch my lower belly up a BIT tighter, you know, since she was already in there and everything.
No dice.

Sarah said...

Sharpen the scalpel and put me under! If I had the $$$, I'd get a tummy tuck and lipo in a millisecond! I've had 3 c-sections, and during my 3rd, I seriously asked my dr. if she couldn't perhaps just stitch my lower belly up a BIT tighter, you know, since she was already in there and everything.
No dice.

Lawyer Mama said...

I don't know. I think there's a pretty deep line between plastic surgery and make-up, highlights and good moisturizer. I've been contemplating breast reduction because, well, the girls are always in the way! But I don't think I could every have surgery on my face.

I tried the same thing as Sarah when I had my second c-section. I mean, c'mon, it's a teaching hospital!

Kian said...

OMG have you *read* my blog? (nice plug huh?)

I'm not really into plastic surgery (though I do love Dr. 90210) but I've thought about Botox. A lot. My obsession is forehead furrows and believe me my obsession is justified. They are there in a big big way. And I'm also obsessed with beauty products so I'm hoping that I'm doing *some* good. But the furrows, they're still there.