Friday, July 27, 2007

Plastic People

Here's what I'm wondering. When you see folks with scary plastic surgery—strange, plumped-out lips; taught, shiny faces; teeny, implausible noses—is it:
a) the shoddy execution of an inherently plausible vision?

b) the successful execution of an inherently scary vision?
In other words, did the patient want something different, but the doctor botched the job?* Or did the patient want something weird and got exactly what they wanted? Both? How much of each?

Inquiring minds want to know.**

* A good plastic surgeon must, I assume, have a good eye, not just good technical chops, and I'm sure a lot don't have it. (I vaguely remember hearing some story somewhere... NPR...? Isn't that where I get all my information...? about plastic surgeons taking art classes to improve their aesthetic sensibilities.)

** Don't feel compelled to back your answers with facts and references. We're perfectly content with idle speculation.


  1. Hmm... as Abe Simpson says, "A little from Column A, a little from Column B." One also notes that plastic surgery that looks good on day 1, tends to look fantastically stupid on day 18 or so.

    When I had my nose plumped, it wasn't the collagen implants that failed, it was the nasal botox that really left scars. Emotional, I mean. My nose looks great.

  2. Anonymous6:36 PM

    ...and with the title, I was all pumped up for a post on my favorite 60s era Czech pop group.

  3. From one LaLa land (in my case, Los Angeles) inhabitant to another, I am very familiar with the sight of horrendous plastic surgery results. My conclusion has always been that what seemed like a good idea at age 40 looks very very scary at age 60. And also, that some people have a very skewed idea of beauty. Give me smile lines any day!

  4. With the scarier ones, I think it's 'b.' Like the woman I saw last week at Zea's - so scary that my coworker felt compelled to exclaim. And then wanted to hide under the carpet as the woman sat down at the table next to us. Evidence that the scary face was part of a greater plan? The equally scary hair (of strange texture and multiple shades of blonde), makeup (very -there-), and clothes (metallic and animal prints and such). The face was no accident.

  5. I'm torn - I think it is a little from A, a little from B.

    I've seen my share of the women shokufeh mentioned. I sometimes wonder whether they are afraid of aging and clinging to what they think makes them look young, or whether they are going for a specific fierce look, and they don't care what other people think. Take Anna Piaggi, for example - she's a writer for Italian vogue.

    Some might call her scary, but I am beginning to think she's fashion's equivalent of the Cubists - that she has a vision all her own, and I have to tip my hat to her, because it is an aesthetic all to herself. Everyone else is happily in Impressionist land, and she's out there with the harsh angles and seems to be saying "this is me."

    with regards to your original question, i think the vast majority of people who undergo plastic surgery have some form of body dysmorphism. Except for those who had an accident/birth disfigurement, I think it would take a lot to deliberately have someone cut your face. I think it must be like anorexics - you get conditioned to the point where you think thin is normal, and normal size is unattractive. I remember the day I decided I had to quit lightweight rowing was when i realised I began thinking like that. It creeps up on you. Takes a while to notice what's going on.

  6. I have obsessed a lot about other people's plastic surgery, and I think it's B. People who get plastic surgery don't understand that what's unique about them is the same which makes them beautiful, and then they go and "correct" it, to a completely misguided vision, and they go to the other extreme- a slightly big nose becomes an abnormally small nose. It really freaks me out how many friends of mine have said, "If I had the money, I would totally get my boobs done..." What???!!! If I had the money, I would totally... go on vacation to New Orleans or some other exotic place!