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Hack, the knife

"Calling Dr. Botchworth..."

First off: I will never have elective plastic surgery. And not just because I am a man, and therefore destined to age gracefully and grow more roguishly distinguished with each passing second.

The truth is, I just don’t like the odds. In any profession, I’d say optimistically that for every person with half a clue about how to do that job, there’s another who is a complete hack. And from the litany of Before and After photos of disastrous plastic surgery (Mr. Rourke, white courtesy phone!), the hacks are having their day, hacking formerly beautiful faces into grotesque pieces.

Inspired by Ali Wentworth’s decision to have her eyes very publicly de-bagged, we Babble Voicers had a dialogue about how desperate so many people are to look like something other than they are. And dammit, it’s truly one of the most pathetic elements of the human condition.

I could go off on a full screed about urging people to be who they are, and look like what they look like, but it’s a fool’s errand. I might as well demand that waterfalls flow upward, or that all Americans have access to affordable health care. Humanity is vain, judgmental, prejudicial, and shallow, and the data back it up. Attractive people make more money, have better sex, are more immune to diseases, and get the lowest numbers at the deli counter. No matter how much we say it’s not about looks, it’s ALWAYS about looks.

Which brings me to my point about how this affects me, a single man in his mid-40s who prefers to date age-appropriate women. It pains me to admit this, but it took way too long for me to fully appreciate how our society trains women to hate their appearances. (I think I got the first glimmer of the idea when I read that Shania Twain showed off her midriff in order to deflect attention from her legs. And I sort of fell over.) Subsequent discussions with women about plastic surgery have revealed that many of them want it, no matter how complimentary or physically attentive their partners are. They want to do it for themselves.

It’s not a terrible sentiment, I suppose, to resolve to do something like that on your own terms, and not let your body esteem rely on external opinions. It’s especially important when the man makes passive-aggressive (or worse, overt) swipes at a woman’s body and then shakes it off as, in his view, harmless teasing (which we men do way too often). The flipside, though, is when you tell a woman you love her and lust for her just as she is, and you get a transparently half-hearted “thank you” in return. It can make you feel like she’s not listening to you. Or worse, that nothing can shift her belief that you’re wrong.

Sexy is all in your mind, anyway, and all you need for proof is the jaw-droppingly active sex life of Gene Simmons. He’ll be the first to tell you he’s ridiculously ugly and has very little talent. All he’s got is rock-star swagger, and he makes it WORK. So if you need to tummy-tuck to unleash your inner Simmons, then by all means: Rock it out!

I don’t know Ali Wentworth, but let the word go forth from this time and place that I think she’s as smokin’ hot now as she was when she Shmoopied into our lives in 1995. That she probably doesn’t care so much about my (and hopefully George’s) opinion leaves me ambivalent.

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Read more from Doug on his personal blog, Laid-Off Dad.

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