This blog is written by Lee Gale Gruen to help Baby Boomers, seniors, and those soon to retire find joy, excitement, and satisfaction in life after retirement. Her public lectures on this subject are titled, “Reinventing Yourself in Your Retirement Years.” Her memoir, available at Amazon.com, is: Adventures with Dad: A Father and Daughter’s Journey Through a Senior Acting Class. Click here for her website: http://AdventuresWithDadTheBook.com
Now, on to my blog:
This is a continuation of the conversation in my last blog post.
Few admit to having a face lift or bags removed from under their eyes or (fill in the cosmetic procedure/surgery of your choice). The euphemism “I’m having work done” has replaced the embarrassing to admit, “I’m having plastic surgery.” The euphemism “to look more refreshed” has replaced the truer “to look younger.”
We’ve all heard the phrase, “That’s between a woman and her doctor.” If it’s so okay, why the secrecy, shame, avoidance of public discussion? Do the refreshees think that others don’t know what’s going on; if it isn’t spoken, it doesn’t exist? Do they think that others don’t know the huge amount of money they’ve expended to look youthful which could have been spent on something much more substantial like their retirement? Do they think that a face without wrinkles and bags really matches nicely with stooped bodies, age spots, sagging necks, and loose skin?
Shakespeare, that sly bard, said, “What’s in a name?” Yes, if we can use a different terminology, we think it changes the stark reality of what’s really going on: I want to look younger because I’ve bought into the hype that it’s more desirable than how I look now—your true age, God forbid.
Marketing for elective cosmetic procedures and surgeries has played on our insecurities: I’m ugly, undesirable, and unlovable the way I am. If I do (again fill in the blank), I will be beautiful, desirable, and loved.
We all know on a visceral level this is not true. But, we’re flocking to the purveyors of these myths “just in case.”
Recently, a friend had cataract surgery. I emailed her to inquire how it went. We had the following back and forth emails:
Lee Gale: How are your eyes doing?
Friend: The great part is the richness of color and the clarity. I feel like Dorothy in Oz. The bad part is looking in the mirror and seeing all the lines and bags and spots so clearly. I aged 25 years in 24 hours.
LG: You are Dorothy. People are attracted to you because of your talents, your enthusiasm, and your zest for life. That was so 24 hours ago and has not changed just because you can see your physical self more clearly. You’re fine the way you are. Don’t start getting crazy notions into your head. I just saw a current picture of (famous 1950s movie star) who now has one of those grotesque, plastic surgery faces. OMG!
F: I am going to copy your words, enlarge them and hang them next to my mirror. THANKS a hundred mil.
The singer, Michael Jackson, was a sad character who, despite talent and success most people never achieve, was so insecure that he became a plastic surgery junkie and, in his own description of himself, ended up looking like a lizard. We can all name one famous person after another with a similar story. Most of us can name one not-so-famous person, too.
I call it the plastic surgery merry-go-round which is my euphemism for addiction to those types of procedures. I’ve heard of physicians who put out newsletters about the latest tweaks available for potential buyers of their wares. Others have parties so their clients can show off their most recent, surgically-induced look to each other and shop for what their next youth-enhancing move will be. Then, there are those addicts who are so self-critical that they have the same procedure repeatedly because the outcome from the previous one wasn’t exactly what they had envisioned, or now that look is out and another is in—kind of like trendy clothing. Michael Jackson became a man with almost no nose at all.
So, what I want to know is where are the spouses, the significant others, the children, and the good friends to tell people that they are fine, lovable, and desirable just the way they are—that they don’t have to spend thousands of dollars, put their health or life at risk and take the chance of looking grotesque just to get people to like and accept them?
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