I know I wasn’t hallucinating; I know I wasn;t seeing things when those women came gliding by with imperfect noses, all nonchalant and without a seeming care in the world. It got me to thinking. And I did a double-take. But being the deep and ethereal type that I am, I started wondering about just how much rhinoplasty hs been going on out there.
In some cultures people are known to have naturally smaller noses. So if I spot some (naturally) blonde-haired, blue-eyed Scandinavian looking types, I know that they have not tried altering their DNA at any doctor’s office, but with those of the swarthy, Mediterranean bunch, such as myself, there is usually a more minute chance.
I sometimes regret that I fell into that group because there is beauty in imperfection. Barbra Streisand, by way of example, made a whole career of embracing what many would have had altered, though in her case, she knew that changing a thing would have perhaps relegated her to lounge singing status. The same for women and starlets who have pulled their faces so tight their expressions never change. Births, deaths, funerals, there they are kind of smiling and kind of not. I know it can be for business reasons, but once you start fiddling around with one thing, you have to start fiddling around with the rest, and it seldom works in the long haul anyway. It was and is about self-acceptance about embracing perhaps hips too wide, a nose a little too hooked and ears a little too big.
Maybe the sudden appearance of going au natural in the facial and body departments is a reflection of the economy. One plastic surgeon I saw for an imperfection asked me to send him some referrals because women aren’t even opting for breast enlargements anymore, and he was losing business over it. And he was a great surgeon with hands that could mend the legs of a ladybug, but he opted to retire rather than sit around and twiddle his (imperfect) thumbs.
This downturn can help the credo of women’s lib and help people the world over love and embrace themselves for what they are. As for me, my life may have gone down a different primrose path had I gone right instead of left. I may have even had a singing career like Streisand’s or Nicki Minaj’s and I may never have been kicked out of a choir in my life or watched my dogs’ ears twitch or run off and hide once I hit that first note.
There are times when a woman has to step in for Mother Nature to avoid ending up on the “Don’t” pages of a fashion spread. Usually it’s a minix fix here and there and amounts to no more than Crest White Strips and a box of Miss Clairol hair dye. Then there are those who engage in a tug-of-war with her while she tugs and pulls back because, after all, you can’t really fool her. This is the case with Cindy Jackson, who with fifty-two plastic surgeries has earned a place in the Guinness Book of Records and if nothing else, has written a book about all this and has a $750.00 an hour plastic surgery consultant. Jackson may be vain, but she’s no dummy. She’s also a member of Mensa.
Her quest for the Holy Grail of beauty started with a childhood, where she felt unattractive and unloved, and an inheritance from her father when she was in her early thirties. Fifty-two operations later, there isn’t a part of her body that hasn’t been remolded, re-sculpted or redone. Even the inside of her knees have had some work after she thought they were hitting a little too close when she walked. It might have been a millimeter or two, but it was enough to make her notice and her surgeon to agree. Her latest procedure was on her hands because they were looking a little too weather-beaten as most people’s would at 55.
I wouldn’t have continued tussling with myself like that because you never know when something’s going to come in handy. When it comes to my hands, for example, I’d start wondering what would happen if I needed a transfusion and the doctor had trouble finding a vein underneath all those injections and collagen. But maybe I’m not someone to ask because I’m always ready for an emergency and have bought just about every insurance on the market, including an organ transplant policy, that I’ll get a refund on if I keep everything, and heath insurance for my dogs.
Either way, had that been me, I would have skipped most of those surgeries and gone for therapy instead. It probably would have cost about the same, and there would have been no time inside a recovery room.
Maybe that’s why one of the most memorable people I ever met was someone who had gray hair at twenty and was okay with that. Her outlook on life was that every line, gray hair and every wrinkle were like metals of honor for a life well lived.
Another one is a grandmother whose salt and pepper hair is always perfectly coiffed, whose knit pantsuits always match and who adorns every outfit with jewelry and her face with just the right amount of make up. She carries herself with such grace and dignity, she almost makes others look forward to aging, if only they could be like her.
Besides, even the best plastic surgeons can’t undo the crapshoot called genetics. The best they can usually do is try for passable or attractive if the bone structure isn’t there to begin with. Take supermodel Laetitia Casta who is so beautiful that someone once said that looking her could make anyone believe in a Supreme Being. In her case, it’s as if the celestial beings lined up and bestowed heaping measures of gorgeousness and otherworldliness on her. The late Elizabeth Taylor also fell in that category.
I’m of the club that I want to hold onto my looks as long as I can, but I’ll have to have been swiped over the head with a two-by-four before getting fifty-two procedures. In the end, I want to be somewhere between the woman with the wrinkles and the grandmother with the grace and dignity. Though underneath it all, they really are one and the same.