My mother shocked me once some years ago, when she came home with two black eyes.  To my relief, she had not been attacked.  She had received plastic surgery! Although minimal (she had “only had an ‘eye lift’”) it shocked me because I had never begun to imagine that anything needed changing.  It was all in her own mind.  I had never noticed her droopy eyelids.

So who did she do this for?  My father? Us, the kids?  Her friends, other woman, other men?  “For myself” she told me. 

“But why?” I asked. “You were fine as you were.”

So actresses, models, presenters etc. can continue to get good work if they look younger.  So what? Isn’t that another world? Maybe not,  since plastic surgery has become cheaper and more widely available, we can all look that good for our age too!

The procedure that my mother had was simple.  Eyelid surgery or Blepharoplasty as it’s technically known, reshapes the upper, or lower eyelid by removing excess tissue and reinforcing the muscles around it.  It’s pretty common now.  I regularly also hear of breast enlargements or reductions, ear reshaping, liposuction, nose jobs and tummy tucks.  But most of all – Botox – I actually know quite few people who have this done regularly.

I’d just like to ask – what state have we got ourselves into that we feel that we’re not good looking enough?  And do we earn money easily enough to spend it on… faking it?

A work associate of mine recently ended our lunch early because he said he didn’t want to be late for his Botox!  I gasped with disbelief!  He explained by pointing to the natural vertical indent in the skin between his eyebrows (we all have it – are you looking in your compact mirror now?).  Something so normal, that I had never noticed.  But now I would – each time I saw him I knew I would look at the strained abnormalbit of skin between his eyebrows, and know.  I don’t think that’s the point.  And my hairdresser said last week she was about to do the same.  As she stood behind my chair, she looked at me in the mirror and with her thumb and forefinger stretched apart that part between her brows.  I laughed.  “You look weird”.  I did the same.  She laughed and said “you look surprised.”

Surprised and weird!  Who want’s to look surprised and weird.

Granted, none of us are ever totally happy with our bodies.  Our feet are too big, our bums too fat, our hips too wide, our bosoms are too big or too small, our eyes too close together.  This is natural.  But, to pay an unnatural amount of money to slice open a part of your body, take a bit of flesh or skin out, and then sew it up; or to inject a non-human substance seems wrong.  To me.

OK, so actually we’ve been changing our appearance the world over for many hundreds of years.  They Kayan women of Northern Thailand (originally from Burma) coil lengths of brass around their neck to extend them in the name of beauty; foot binding was viewed as a desirable fashion in China until the last century; and body piercing is all but a common practice worldwide in the name of religion, spirituality, fashion, eroticism, conformism, or subculture identification, depending of course, on where you live.

But in the modern 21stcentury, what has happened to the idea of being comfortable within ourselves?  Go back 100 years when anorexia nervosa was not so much of an issue as it is today, but a little known medical condition that affected few.  But then, fashion and the skinny catwalk images were neither so important or ‘in your face’ as they are now.  Can you imagine a Dickens character popping off to the surgery for a bit of Botox?  (Well maybe a rich one). I think it seems the state of being comfortable with our natural selves seems to all but have disappeared.  Our desire to look younger, or like someone else has weakened our self confidence so much that we have become completely open to obsessive impulsiveness, stripping us of our sensibility and money, as well as our weight and excess skin!

Growing old gracefully seems to be a thing of the past.  The days when we’d talk of inner beauty being the strongest beauty of all?  They eyes, they say, are the windows to the soul.  Experience shows in those lines, those creases.  How you have become the person you are, and why.  Here are the clues that hold the answers to what makes you strong, interesting and beautiful.   If you change this, you become a fake – you gloss over the truth, cover it up and hide away, like it is something insignificant that you want to hide.

But then again, when you reach the stage when half a lifetime of struggling with divorce, careers, kids, illness and death is beginning to show in your face and, just sometimes, a bit of foundation and mascara just isn’t going to do the trick!

So, medical reasons aside, the answers don’t come simply.  I guess it’s just a sign of the times – if we feel a little uncomfortable about the way we look, we can choose change it – we’ve never been so lucky!  

END NOTE:  The person who started me off thinking about writing this was Donald Trump.  I don’t like to write about politics, but if you can lie that much with your physical being, it must come easy to lie in every other way too.  Just saying!

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