On Plastic Surgery…

“A man’s face is his autobiography. A woman’s face is her work of fiction.”
Oscar Wilde

Most of us do not like to be thought of as shallow. Who is not?

The other day I was strolling in Calabasas, and except for teenage girls, there was not one woman who looked natural. There was this beautiful woman, whose face was so pretty, that I immediately considered whether it would be too rude to ask her for her plastic surgeon’s phone number (I know, you all think to yourselves: “Yes, Rachel, it would be rude”, so that is why I didn’t), but then I looked at her hands, and changed my mind.

And then I have this friend, who is obsessed with “improving herself”; her rationale is that we all try to improve ourselves by reading, exercise, taking classes,  etc. So why not improve our appearance? As of now- and trust me it can change any minute- she has had two face lifts, toes straightened, breast augmentation, hair transplant and laser peeling. The other day she was talking to me about another procedure, but I stopped paying attention.

But don’t think that this is not contagious, it is! I look at women and think whether it is ridiculous or not, but then I wonder whether I should do that as well. How would I look with Angelina’s lips? And what about just doing something with my eyes? A mother of a relative told her son that the only reason she is doing this “mini lift” is because she cannot see very well. She said her droopy eye-lids interfered with her vision. He believed her.

And when I waver between the “do” or “don’t”, I waver between my belief in the natural process of aging, “accepting it gracefully”, as my friend Kathy says and does, and looking at the Calabasas women marching to a different drum, and thinking that their drum is not so bad, and the bottom line is that I have to like what I see in the mirror. So what if I will only look at the face and decide to ignore the body? If I keep my head straight and not look down I can see only what I want!

Who said that denial is bad?


About rachel bar

Psychotherapist and supervisor.
This entry was posted in Aging, Fear of getting old, Illusions, Obsession, Old age, Plastic Surgery, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to On Plastic Surgery…

  1. Martha Carr says:

    I sometimes envy my friends who do it while vehemently protesting the idea of ever doing it! I have to say though, these days face lifts look more natural – not like the tight masks they used to do! The best ones are those that are almost imperceptible – but then why spend all the money and go through all the pain?

  2. Barbara Cooper says:

    Well, we live in Los Angeles where youth and beauty are not just revered but are considered the norm. It’s not so much about aging gracefully as it is about feeling young and passing a mirror which not so gently reminds us we are no longer that. It’s a rude awakening that deals with our mortality as much as our vanity. Reminds me of an old joke about a woman in a horrific car accident who faces death square in the eye and is told by an angel not to worry it is not her “time” yet. She has many, many more years on earth. So she begins her recovery and has plastic surgery to fix the disfigurement of the accident. While her face is being repaired, she decides to do it all- breast lift, tummy tuck, and liposuction. Six months later, she is gorgeous and fully healed when she has another freak accident and dies. When she gets to heaven she questions God and says. “The angel told me I had many, many , more years on earth- what happened? And God says, “Sadie, is that you? I didn’t recognize you!”
    If you need plastic surgery to enhance how you feel about you, then go for it. It’s no different than using make up or not using make up-it harms no one. We all present some sort of mask to the world- it just takes different forms in different people. It all boils down to being happy within yourself. Some think beauty is vain and shallow. I personally enjoy seeing beauty all around me, (in any form) and I appreciate any effort spent to make it that way.

  3. kirby tepper says:

    Here’s what sounds like a needlessly-flattering-but-regardless-of-what-you-think-I-mean-it comment: You look great like you are and I don’t think you need to do anything. In fact, I think most people don’t need the work they do because I like the natural look.

    But now here is the other side of the coin: who am I to judge how you feel about what you see in the mirror? Go for it if you want, and hell with those who can’t handle it, right?!

  4. Nancy Viller says:

    The blog on Cosmetic Surgery was the 3rd blog I had ever rec’d, I assume the other two prior ones were the beginning of them ?
    I have read all five now and I really enjoyed them…. very open and insightful .

    I decided to weigh in on this one as I have had a fair amount of cosmetic work done ( started with a nose enlargement at 30 ) something I thought would improve my profile while I was striving to be more photogenic for my Hollywood career aspirations . I actually retired my film aspirations later in my 30’s . (( wish this had a spellcheck :)) I realized that I was not talented and was losing the only edge I had going for me during those years which was youth. I then became a businesswoman and over the next 35 years I continued to do various proceedures that were always for my own saisfaction .As I matured I always felt that my looks were just as important to me as any other “talent” I might or might not develope.
    As age has continued to, inevitably, creep up on me I continued [into my fifties and early sixties ]to have proceedures every several years and to hopefully keep a step ahead of the ” stuff” that I knew was going to go south on me.
    I will point out that I was never one to “not say my age” or think that I was going to be viewed as years younger , I have always just wanted to appear the BEST that was possible and I was not fearful of the proceedured in terms of risk or pain. Clearly this changes as I age .

    Now @ 67 yrs. old I still feel young and certainly want / wish I was could stop the downhill slide however, the realites of how I may or may not heal plus the many other areas our bodies show tell-tail deterioration and aging become so evident …that the risks may outweigh the benefits?
    In retrospect can tell you that I would do it all again , , however I am now much more hesitant to put myself in there again…AND believe me I am still thinking about ” one more time ” to improve my face , before I give it up ! 🙂 I am considering a possible skin resurfacing proceedure which would most likely give me a slight edge for the next 3 or five years
    Botox is something I have only done a couple of times and only in the past 5 years . I have had it around my laugh lines, it’s a nice quick and temporary fix..
    Here is my opinion for the general public…… a facelift is best in ones 40’s to mid fifties, at that point ,most of us could use some facial help & eyes could possibily use some nips & tucks on most of us …I say go for whatever it takes if you really want to improve your appearance & obviously if one waits too long probably it will never be a choice . This is certainly not a moral issue or a decision that require other peoples opinions. Everyone is intitled to make improvements to their appearance if they really want to ……new clothes or a bit of cosmetic work can be very revitalizing.


  5. Nancy Viller says:

    Rachel I meant to say that I also enjoy your choice of photos with each blog

  6. Dvora Weil says:

    Hey Rachel, droopy eyes is a real problem. My sister at the Kibbutz holds her eye lid so it does not block her vision and does not pressure her eye ball. Saying that, I remember when I was young, much younger, 16-17, I stood in front of the mirror pulling my eye lids back so I will look like a Japanese or Shirley McLean, whom I admire.
    Today, I look at myself in the mirror and think to myself: I look OK, however, some light “touch up” won’t hurt. But Yes, it does hurt, not to mention the cost.
    I would look at plastic surgery favorably had it came from a place of choice : “I am OK if I do it and I am OK if I don’t.
    And going back to Shirley McLean, who looks as if she did not do any “touch ups”, even though she could diffidently afford it, I believe she accepts her aging with grace because she is very spiritual. If I had to choose I would rather invest in a “face lift” of my spirit and soul. This would stay with me for ever. It’s like a good wine – it gets better with age.

  7. Jordan says:

    I’m 28 years old and a guy. Why am I commenting on this blog you may ask? Yesterday, someone came up behind me at work and before our eyes met, I heard him say something to the affect of, “Losing some hair back there, eh?” I was kind of taken aback and instantly remarked with something neutral, yet reflective and witty…. but inside I was self conscious. What did he see? How bad is it? Should I comb it differently? How much time do I have left?
    …Reminds me of the first time I saw my profile in a mirror at age 12 or something and thought, “do I really look like that?” I agree with you, Rachel, we see what we want to see and and vice versa… creating our own reality… and just because we have a mirror in front of us (or in back of us… or the side of us) we will not always openly acknowledge what is. For now, I’m not going to worry about my hair…

  8. ShimonZ says:

    The choices we make are an important part of who we are. Some people, have many concerns that are more important to them, than how they look. I am one of those, and it would be very unlikely that I will ever have plastic surgery. On the other hand, when Freud lost part of his jaw to cancer, he did wear a veil over the lower part of his face, and it seems to me that was the right thing to do. If someone wants to look younger, and thinks it’ll work for them, that doesn’t really bother me. But I do think I feel more comfortable with people who look natural.

    • rachel bar says:

      When I was in France a couple of years ago, I noticed that many women allow themselves to age gracefully. Definitely compared to LA. Returning from France I’m resolute to not touch my face. And then, seeing all my older friends looking younger than me, get to me and I begin to think of plastic surgery again. Don’t know if I’ll ever do it, but I definitely give it a lot of thought:(

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