2008-06-26 / News

Facing a plastic surgery-free future

Flotsam and Jetsam
By Donna Drago

Am I the only one who likes my own face?

As faces go, it's not a great one, but it's certainly a good, perfectly adequate face. Everything functions well.

One of the things I like about my face is that when I look at myself in the mirror, I see a mosaic of people who came before me. When I look at my kids' faces, I see a little of me. I like that. Faces should reflect so me of th e history of the owner.

That, sadly, is changing.

Look in fashion magazines, in the Yellow Pages- just look at the sheer number of plastic surgeons, "medical-spas" and "rejuvenation centers," of all kinds.

Listen to the radio commercials that entice with language like "you'll be a brand new woman," or "let us help you find th e real you."

The way I see it, the constant tweaking, nipping and plumping that's going on is bad for all of us- on many levels.

First, let's talk about me. I have no desire whatsoever to have plastic surgery or "procedures," of any sort. The notion of being injected with Botox- the same toxin that is a food poison when you don't seal the jars of tomatoes correctly- makes me squirm. My reluctance to getting a new face would be okay except for one thing- the more women that have plumping injections, face lifts, nose jobs, the more likely it will be that those of us who want to age naturally will look like ancient, craggy crones. Someday, when pert, smoothskinned women appear on TV and in ads saying "this is what 70 looks like," and I actually look 70, I'll be sunk.

Plastic surgery is confusing to children. There's even a new book out helping kids cope with having a Mommy with a new face. If they have to learn to cope, there's something wrong with the situation.

In the old days, relatives went to visit a mother and new baby and exclaimed, "She looks just like her grandma." Fast forward a few years and the same wellintentioned people will exclaim, "She looks just like her grandma did before she got the new nose and chin."

Imagine the experience of looking at old family photos. Comments like "This is what Aunt Shirley used to look like," and "When Grammy was small, she had a funny chin and now she doesn't anymore," will be the norm.

People have physical imperfections and attributes that make them unique. Imagine if everyone with a big, bulbous nose got rid of it. What would cartoonists draw if nobody's ears stuck out? What if everyone got rid of their freckles? What if no one had "smiling eyes?" We'd all end up like that featureless little alien that allegedly landed at Roswell, N.M.

There was a time when only women of a "certain age," considered face lifts, brow lifts and other procedures. Now, it's not unusual for women in their twenties to buy into the hype and start on a long, painful path toward some skewed idea of perfection.

This is going to upset some people, especially those who recently spent enough on their faces to purchase a small sailboat, but here it goes: you just don't look that great.

Every time I see someone who's had work done on their faces, all I can think is that they could all be cousins to Joan Rivers- everybody looks the same.

Imagine this scene: walking in to your 50th high school reunion and seeing that everyone looks like everyone else. How would you find yo ur ni nth gr ade crush? How many people would you walk up to before you got the one you were looking for? Would you even bother?

What's the deal with the Hollywood celebs? Does anyone really want lips like Goldie Hawn's? She looks like the aftermath of a couple of rounds with Sugar Ray Leonard, which she clearly lost. How about Meg Ryan? I don't know what she did, but she's not cute anymore. Joan Rivers has always been the poster girl for plastic surgery, but she's a caricature, not a real person. I flipped channels and caught a glimpse recently of Priscilla Presley on "Dancing with the Stars." After shaking my head and blinking a few times to be sure it wasn't Marilyn Manson, I realized it was the formerly gorgeous wife of Elvis Presley. Priscilla, what did you do to yourself?

When did the notion of beauty start to include nose number 72-S, chin number B-14, and a round of blepharoplasty? What happened to not smoking, getting exercise, eating healthy, staying out of the sun, and making every attempt to enjoy life as a foundation for beauty?

What's wrong with showing a little age? My crow's feet are from years of squinting on sunny days and from laughing at good jokes. The furrows in my brow make me look interested and curious. The lines around my mouth make me look like my father. The bump in my nose is directly from my maternal grandmother.

I know exactly who I am and I'm just fine.

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