September 27, 2023

Good Looks Are Everything


The whole world is science fiction. – Ray Bradbury

Before Homer took to the sea to write, and very, very long before Brad Pitt acted to recreate the Trojan War, the club-bearing Theseus ventured boldly into the Cretan labyrinth to slay the ferocious Minotaur, who was half-bull, half-man. What was the Minotaur’s crime you have every right to ask? It wasn’t prisoner abuse.

History informs that the creature’s specialty was dining on ugly little urchins, not favored by the gods with beauty. Were this larger-than-life-creature to be among us today, it would find itself in the immortal words of raconteur William Claude Fields “as confused as a bastard on Father’s Day.” Why? Truth be known, more and more people are becoming more beautiful with every passing day.

Now, gentle reader, you have every right to consider the previous paragraph to be not only outrageous, but absurd. After all, there is no need to wander in time’s ancient mists to focus on ancient monsters so long as there are well-dressed but frightening monsters among us today in two-piece suits.

Yes, you are correct that the focus should be on sending them into exile with a menu limited to old speeches and press conference transcripts about world domination. But that is for another column.

These days, like lemmings rushing toward a cliff, Americans of every shape, age and gender are busy e-mailing, phoning and lining up outside the offices of dermatologists, gastroenterologists, gyno-types, and other “nip and tuckers” that go bump all day long, and into the dark of the night.

One reporter for a small New York paper called the Times termed the rush of snaggle-toothed, pudgy, lopsided citizens a “cosmetic juggernaut.” Some bystanders credit TV programs such as Extreme Makeover with launching the juggernaut.

But that would be too generous.

For years, more and more people have gone to brobdignagian extremes to avoid looking like themselves, their mothers, their college roommates and yes, even their own children.

The tool kit needed for this new rage consists of all kinds of instruments to deal with tooth veneers, forehead lifts, nose jobs, lip jobs, breast shrinkage, enlargement of same, not forgetting penile extensions–and rare reductions of that particular member.

Some patients have all of those done at one sitting. Some are never seen again!

Time was that facelifts, and the other Frankensteinian adjustments, were for only the very affluent and fast-fading movie folks. Tales are told inHollywood about aging glamour queens who cannot close their eyes to sleep because they’ve had so many “lifts.” How the world has turned.

Today, banks fromPortland, Maine to Walla Walla, Washington sell loan cosmetic surgery packages to anyone who will just sit down long enough to sign one.

Nearly 10 million Americans went under the knife in pursuit of beauty last year. Such procedures have become so commonplace that high-profile divorce agreements actually include funds for annual “lifts” along with alimony and the house in Palm Springs.

A student of this bizarre cultural development, Ms. Marilyn Yalom, who is the author of the classic book, “The History of the Breast,” contends that anywhere or place on the human body where one finds an ideal, cosmetic surgery “will cater to that ideal.”

She wanders on to say that trends for certain body parts are changing faster than a woman’s mind. In the 1950’s, pointed breasts were all the range in Beverly Hills, Hollywood and elsewhere where there was no demand for food stamps. By the 1980’s, softer and bigger was IN. Today, she has observed, the large, very muscular bosom is IT.

No surgeon contacted for this column dared to predict the next fad. Indeed, business is so good these days, that the California dentist lobby is lobbying the California legislature (where else do fresh trends break on our cultural beaches?) to be licensed to practice cosmetic surgery, arguing that they are maxillofacial surgeons anyway.

Along the way, red flags are rustling in the breeze, but thus far, mainstream media mavens have mostly ignored them. First, if more and more women become busty and beautiful, will they become boring, especially if have superhero chins and teeth that blind one with their shining brightness? What would Theseus do today when good looks are everything!

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