Plastic Surgery's Twilight Zone


My boyfriend called me from L.A. this morning and said he’d just heard a radio ad for vaginal rejuvenation — just in time for Mother’s Day!

Portrait of a young lady in love – with herself. Improbable? Perhaps. But in an age of plastic surgery, body building and an infinity of cosmetics, let us hesitate to say impossible. These and other strange blessings may be waiting in the future – which after all, is the Twilight Zone.

When Hortense wrote this weekend about Hollywood’s “plastic-surgery backlash,” it prompted one industry-insider commenter to refer to a famous Twilight Zone episode, “Number 12 Looks Just Like You.” And she hadn’t even heard about the freaky Plastic Surgery convention, yet! In case you’ve never seen the classic episode about a Gattica-like society of identical, surgically-enhanced beauties, I won’t spoil the ending for you. Suffice it to say, there’s a lot of peer pressure. And people lose all perspective. And beauty is defined very narrowly.And it’s scary. In other words, it’s almost too perfect to serve as an effective analogy, because the irony would be pretty much lost on contemporary Hollywood.

Hortense commented that it’s a bit rich for the town that’s pushed a generation of women to halt time or play a neurotic harridan making hot-flash jokes (see: I told You So – or, better yet, don’t) to now condemn women for “doing this to themselves.” “This,” of course, is taut brows, trout-pout and cheeks as oddly cherubic as those of a QVC china-doll. But it’s richer still in light of today’s breaking news in the world of surgical enhancement.

First, we have the annual convention of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), which plays host to thousands of suspiciously boyish doctors (yes, the bulk are men) as they learn about the latest advances in injectibles, boobery and, natch, those sagging pelvic floors. Presumably, some of these doctors are experts in repairing cleft palates or reconstructive surgery, too – but to hear the Washington Post tell it, that’s really not the focus of the ASAPS event, in which “the models depicted in the oversize photos on the exhibit floor all look about the same — young, white, thin, robust of bust.” That said, the doctors are alive to what’s described as the “globalization” of beauty – Asians want to look Western while “Turks want Christie Brinkley’s nose.” A two-way street, as you can see!

And as if to give a lie to the supposition that Hollywood’s going natural on us, well, the numbers are climbing again.

Right now, the surgeons will tell you, business is pretty good and getting better. Everything sagged during the recession; not everyone had $7,000 for a facelift, and those who did held off, feeling kind of sheepish about walking around with a new face or a suddenly perky body part when times were so tough for everyone. “It’s fair to say that plastic surgery is a leading economic indicator and the consumer is back,” said Rollin Daniel, a cheerful surgeon from Newport Beach, Calif., in the body-beautiful center of Orange County. Daniel says his practice is about 20 percent ahead of where it was at this time last year. “Half of it,” he estimates, “is consumers feeling better about their economic situation and half is pent-up demand.”

Of course, no doctor’s a magician – a source, surely, of either frustration or revenue. And one of the reasons, as new research proves, is that, well, bones age, too. Summarizes Newser, “the researchers found that bones around the eyes, jaw, and cheek shrink and descend as people age.” The skin, therefore, needs to be continually tightened to result in the desired shrink-wrapped appearance. You’d think, at some point, that beautifiers would simply throw in the towel and cede to nature. But more likely, they’re busily at work perfecting a bone-plumper instead. Available at ASAPS 2011? And then, surely, as the mother’s day gift of any woman’s dreams.

Why Face-Lifts Just Make You Look Fake
Plastic Surgeons Provide A Fine-Looking Model Of Success At Gathering [Washington Post]
A Little Too Ready For Her Close-Up? [New York Times]

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