Thursday, May 27, 2010

Overkill


I couldn't help staring. I know better. My mother taught me manners, but the woman behind the counter at Nordstrom was shocking. She looked exactly like Jocelyn Wildenstein, aka "the cat woman." Seriously. I needed my sunglasses tightened so they would stop sliding down my nose. She offered to call the sunglass person but I knew she was probably on her break, so I left them with cat woman.

She caught me staring. "You look like a famous model," I blurted, "but I can't think of her name."

"Everyone says that, but nobody can remember who it is," she replied. "I have one of those faces..."

Oh, trust me, Sweetheart. You do NOT have one of those faces. Any real face you ever had is long gone. But nobody wants to invoke the "W" word.

Her eyes were pulled back so tightly that she probably can't drive without a seeing eye dog, and her fishy, collagen-bloated lips must make eating impossible. To say that she resembled an astonished alien slanders aliens. Her long platinum hair was not long for this world.

I don't get it. We all want to look beautiful and stay youthful as long as possible, but trusting our faces to Dr. Frankenstein is insane and has become epidemic. Such addictions used to be a malady of the rich and famous, but now even people in minimum wage jobs are saving every penny to buy themselves a new look and hopefully, a better life.

Call me crazy, but such drastic, permanent changes would feel disloyal, even ungrateful. I am also curious about how the natural process of aging looks as I journey through it.

While there are extremely talented cosmetic surgeons out there, even Hollywood stars often end up looking worse than they did before their nips and tucks. Apparently, there are no guarantees, and that's too much of a crap shoot for me. I would rather look old than deformed.

21 comments:

nick said...

I totally agree. As you say, the result of surgery is usually worse than what was there before. Self-harm and self-mutilation have been grotesquely euphemised as self-improvement. Let the body age naturally, with all the tell-tale sags and wrinkles that go with it. At least they signify a bit of wisdom and experience, unlike the weirdly distorted "ageless" faces that only signify self-delusion.

The Good Cook said...

I have earned every beautiful wrinkle on my face. Each has a memory of a life well lived.

secret agent woman said...

On my father's side of the family, which I take after, everyone has what he calls "sad eyes." The slope down a bit at the outside corner and as we age the fold becomes more pronounced. A patient who had her eyelids "done" suggested to em that I should consider the surgery. But when I see myself in the mirror, I see not only the family that gave me my appearance, but the children I made. I look like me - sad eyes, laugh lines and all.

TechnoBabe said...

I knew a lady who wanted to look good for her daughter's wedding and had a face lift a little too soon to the date of the wedding. She was not healed on the day of the wedding and she was swollen and awful looking. Oh my. For me, what the heck, I earned each little line and so what if I don't have permanent pouty lips.

furiousBall said...

i love curvy women. i love women with gray hair.

magazines, the internet, whatever. i like real ladies.

Pea said...

How sad. A

HAPPY IN NEVADA said...

I shall remember that great line you wrote:

I would rather look old(er), than deformed.

I know a few who've really messed up by going too far with their plastic surgery. I never quite knew how to express my reaction succinctly, until you wrote that 'one-liner' that I'll never forget.

I think if one has been injured in a way that requires reconstructive surgery, then I'm all for it.

I also believe to eat right; exercise right, and have a positive nature will give you the optimum 'look' for your younger years, and when you're a great grandmother (as I am now).

Diane

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you said it: what really counts is on the outside. Hear! hear!

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

YIKES.

Right back to butt implants. Sheesh.


Scarlett & Viaggiatore

Brown said...

Plastic surgery has definitely become an epidemic. For those in entertainment, I understand wanting to shed some years. But when did looking deformed and expressionless become so appealing?

I think you're right, the risk isn't worth it.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Nick,

It's not surprising. Every magazine has a beautiful girl on the cover, movies, TV, beauty pageants still exist, strangely... from our earliest perceptions we are blasted with evidence that to be happy and successful, we must conform to a particular beauty ideal, no matter how unrealistic it is for most people.

We need to reeducate our populations that aging can be beautiful, too, that it is not a shameful disease which must be disguised at any cost.

GC,

It's true. We earn our faces after a certain age - I'm not sure what that age is, though.

Agent,

I would also feel disloyal to my ancestors if I changed my face because it reflects all of them and their lives, even the ones I never knew.

Babe,

What a horror story! There is something terribly sad about feeling the need to undergo such drastic surgery to look younger, especially when celebrating the marriage of her adult daughter.

Van,

Oh, good. I'll call you when my hair turns gray. Seriously, look at Emmylou Harris - she's gorgeous, and her hair is completely, unabashedly, enviably white.

Pea,

I wonder if the woman I saw yesterday knows she went too far. Probably not, if her perceptions are so skewed in the first place. It IS sad.

Happy,

I am absolutely in agreement about reconstructive surgery, and also nose jobs if they will bestow confidence on a person. But the face lift mentality is frightening.

Jennifer Gray had a nose job after "Dirty Dancing," and said that she regrets it because nobody knows who she is anymore. I think it's fair to say that the concept of "character" is lost on the young who just want to be pretty in a standard way.

Congratulations on being a great grandmother! That's awesome.

Anonymous,

I just read a great quote from Yogi Berra: "Never answer an anonymous letter." I appreciate your comments but please use a name - even if it's not your real one. What do you say?

Scarlett,

Oh, yeah, the butt implants. I can't imagine it! (And don't want to.) JLo has hers insured for $1,000,000.00. Just saying.

Brown,

I used to watch "Extreme Makeover" with extreme fascination, but wondered how many of their subjects had disastrous results which were never aired. Why else would they have canceled the show? And I would fantasize about changing parts of my face and body which had never bothered me before. Surely this is not healthy.

Demi Moore's alleged $half-million makeover is kind of sad. Instead of being the classy middle aged role model she could have been, she chose to compete with 20-somethings. I don't think it's entirely an entertainment thing - there are many actresses who still get choice roles w/o drastic "youthanizing" :) surgeries.

Thank you for your visit!

meno said...

Was watching Wheel of Fortune the other night for the first time in years. Vanna looks scary.

Think i'll just get old.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Meno,

From blank and vapid to scary. Hmmmm.

I guess I'll just get old too -- after all, I already have so much time invested in it.

lisleman said...

agree - wow you have a great talent for cutting someone down to the bottom.

A sales rep bragged about his trophy wife. I got to meet her. I guess it was second place.

Actually I stopped here because of Dorothy's shoes. You might like this post of mine:
oz park
thanks

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Lisleman,

I think I was actually cutting down her doctor as she was clearly a victim. Second place trophy wife -- ouch.

I do like your post very much. Thank you for linking to it, and for visiting here.

Jocelyn said...

That body dysmorphia is a trend hurts me deeply; if people who choose to look freakish become the ideal, I need to stop playing the game.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Jocelyn,

I don't want plastic surgery - I want a portrait in the attic that takes all my lumps.

Is there such a thing as an anorexic brain?

mrwriteon said...

Homer Simpson shudder.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Ian,

D'oh.

Wanderlust Scarlett said...

Jlo has butt implants? Seriously? I thought that was natural!!

O.o

Scarlett & Viaggiatore

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Scarlett,

I've heard that, but have no way of knowing, nor do I care. The part that kind of amuses me is the million dollar insurance policy on her ass, whether or not it's real.