I recently watched the movie Death Becomes Her with Meryl Streep, Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis. An average to good, not excellent, black comedy that was filmed in the 90's. The basic theme of the movie is the age old quest for eternal youth versus living a healthy good and wholesome life that will end in all good time. At the time this movie was made cosmetic surgery was largely a practice of celebrity and wealth. Now it seems that everywhere you go there is another person that, looks the same, but different. Trying to fight time and gravity, a normal person like you or me has spent a chunk of change having breasts lifted, cheeks implanted, eyebrows raised, noses broken and fixed and skin stretched over their bones in the hopes of looking young. In my opinion (and it is just an opinion, I'm sure I'll offend someone with it), people rarely look better, just different.
On the one hand, it must be difficult to be one of the beautiful people, whose income and career depends on looking good forever. Everytime I see another celebrity or news personality who looked okay, skip that, great to begin with suddenly turn up with eyebrows raised and cheekbones lifted, I feel badly that they felt the need to go along with this trend. Just to compete on the morning news shows you see that even the medical correspondants or part-time people are having work done. The thing that troubles me is that mindset is trickling down to us normal people. I have friends and acquaintances who, on the one hand, are taking out loans to make ends meet, having trouble paying their bills, but on the other hand are holding onto some ideal of youth with a death grip and going further into debt in an attempt to get back to some image of youth. And trust me, it isn't just the women. We know a couple that has done the his and hers package.
Where does that leave someone like me? I'll definitely admit to a bit of vanity. I work out, color my hair, see a dermatologist for my skin (that can't decide if it wants to behave like a wrinkly old lady or a fifteen year old in hormonal breakouts) and try to dress to my strengths and hide my increasing age. I have had surgery before, life-saving surgery, and it was not fun. While I am known to have a pretty high tolerance for pain, I never want to test it by choice. There are times when I think increasing my bust wouldn't be a bad thing (like when I am at the gym faced with everybody else's fake bosoms), all I have to do is make a list of what I would spend an extra five thousand dollars on if I had it and on the list of priorities: furniture, a Golding spinning wheel and vacations always trump the boobs.
But again I ask, where does that leave you and me? The pressure that was up until now, only felt by celebrities, is now being felt by the rest of us, right? I mean, pretty soon everyone is going to look the same, pinched, pulled, lifted and injected. Is aging gracefully a thing of the past? Do you think beautiful women like Ruth Gordon and Katherine Hepburn lucked out in not living in a time when they had to make this choice? Those women were lovely, their aging faces held all the beauty in the world. It would have been a shame to lose that to a scalpel. And is it the same thing when someone holds up as aging wonderfully an actress that "looks great at 62!" when it isn't natural, but surgical?
These are just my opinions, and probably my fears, as I observe what is going on all around me and feel powerless to stop. I want to feel as if I am aging with grace and health, but if everyone is fixing things, will I have to as well, just to fit in? I hope not, but it is looking that way. Maybe my hermit tendencies will be serving me well as I move along in years. If I never leave the house, there won't be anyone to compare myself too. Right?
Two hundred seventy-five to go. Excuse me while I research my local cosmetic surgeons. Suggestions anyone?