Cruising Facebook the other day, and I saw a post from a woman who announced to 7,000 of her closest friends that she’d just returned from a third stint at Serenity Lane and was now determined to remain “clean and dry.” It seemed that this was quite a bombshell, because the resulting thread expressed high shock from friends (and future employers) around the country that had no clue she had a drinking problem. They do now.
I got to thinking about how much personal information we put out on social media. We post about our successes (or failures) at rehab, our mental health issues, struggles with spouses, boomerang kids, crazy ex’s, certifiable families, horrible bosses, and our colonoscopy results. Details we used to discuss only in late-night, wine-induced confessions to our BFFs are now blasted out every morning to the universe before our first cup of coffee.
But in all this oversharing, it occurred to me that I’ve never read any posts about someone having had any recent nip/tucks. Apparently we’d rather admit to a secret Oxycontin stash in our underwear drawer than share the fact that we recently had our belly fat sucked out or got our eyes “done.” Cosmetic intervention has become the last taboo.
The American Society for Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) reports that we spend $11 billion a year in the U.S. on cosmetic procedures. Yep, eleven billion dollars on something that nobody’s doing. Well, somebody’s doing it.
If you see a woman over 40 with an unlined forehead that doesn’t move when she talks, she’s been Botoxed. If she’s a size 2 with Double DD cha-cha’s that make her resemble an upside-down Weeble, she’s had them re-sized. If she had an unfortunate honker nose at your high school prom, but at the 25th class reunion, it was slender and proportionate to her face, it didn’t just “get better with age.”
We may or may not we choose to confess our collective vanity, but the ASAPS performed over 15 million procedures last year. I love that the #1 reason cited was not “looking younger.” It was “I want to look as good as I feel.” Boom. We don’t want to look 25. We don’t mind looking 60. We just don’t like looking 60 and tired.
If you’re considering getting a little outside help to lift, tighten, or smooth what middle age, menopause, and gravity have assaulted, here’s a few of the most popular options:
Breast augmentation. Commonly known as a “boob job.” The doc cuts under your boob and inserts a silicone bag underneath the tissue. It kind of like wearing a permanent, padded push-up bra. Great if you’re a Victoria’s Secret model and need visible boobs to get work, but have the body fat of a swizzle stick. Unfortunately, this can result in loss of nipple sensation (I don’t know about you, but at 60 years of age, what else are they for?), hardening, or bursting inside your body, spraying internal organs with implant solution. Your other option is just to get a better bra.
Liposuction. Sucks out excess fat from the back, belly, or thighs. Works like a human Space Saver bag to shrink fatty body parts, by sucking out fat. Sounds reasonable. But be careful. Fat in your body has to go somewhere. If you Hoover it out of one area, it’ll show up somewhere else. I’ve seen many women with beautifully flat bellies for the first time in decades after liposuction, but who then grew giant thighs when the fat in their diets found a new home. So I have eight pairs of Spanx instead. Much cheaper.
Botox. The most common non-surgical procedure. Tiny injections target specific muscles in your face (frown lines, laugh lines) and temporarily “freezes” them. Your skin looks smoother and less weathered. Works beautifully if your practitioner is experienced. This is not the time to bargain hunt. Try to avoid a provider who’s fresh out of Botox school and “needs the practice” or who took a three-hour class at the local Red Lion last weekend.
Blepharoplasty. “Getting your eyes done.” Small incisions around the upper and lower eyelids to remove fatty deposits or excess skin that make your eyes look droopy and puffy. Make sure you ask to look “more rested,” not permanently stunned. You need to be able to blink. Again, get someone who’s done several thousand. Successfully. This one is hard to fix if some Doogie Howser doctor screws it up. I had mine done by a board-certified, well-recognized cosmetic surgeon when I turned 50. Still love it.
Breast lift. This one I understand. By the time you’re 60, those perky peaches have gone south like migrating geese. Your bras have gone from wispy, “Hey, Sailor” pieces of lace, to full-coverage granny bras with Kevlar underwires, just to get the girls back up there. I did have a consult with a doctor on this one, but I opted out. (Find out why in my new book, Who Left the Cork Out of My Lunch?, releasing 2/14/16. Shameless promotion. Shameless.)
Butt augmentation. This one totally eludes me. I’ve spent most of my life trying to make my butt smaller, and now women across the country are lining up, requesting Kim Kardashian’s backside?? I figure that until I have Ms. Kardashian’s face, I don’t want her butt. I’d just look like me, with a gigantic ass.
Lip augmentation. WTH?? The positive side of this one is…Nope, I’ve got nothing. While I get the fantasy of having lips look slightly swollen and just kissed hard, I’d prefer to wait until that actually happened. Otherwise you look like you’ve recently faceplanted into a bee’s nest. Plus, you lips don’t move properly (how could they?), causing you to appear to suffer from Bell’s Palsy or a recent stroke. Kissing is so much more fun.
So, with 15 million procedures a year being performed last year alone, we can safely assume that many of us have had a little something done by the time we’re 60. It’s time to stop making our friends feel like God obviously loves us more than He loves them, because He gave us permanently perky breasts, while they got wet sock puppets on a clothesline. ‘Fess up, ladies, and let’s exchange the names of our doctors.