At a luncheon last week, held by the National Osteoporosis Foundation to honor my friend (and “Chief FOF Pundit”) Barbara Grufferman, for her work to promote women’s wellness, I sat next to a senior writer for HuffPost50, who is years away from 50.
“I’d like to do a piece for your site on the new face of plastic surgery,” I told the writer. Ever since we created a section on faboverfifty.com, featuring interviews with leading plastic surgeons across the country, I’ve learned a great deal about how we age and about the spectrum of treatments now available to make us look the best we can.
“Oh, Arianna (Huffington, the founder of Huffington Post) is against plastic surgery. We won’t cover the subject, ever. She believes women should look natural as they age,” the writer shot back, as if I had cursed right smack in the middle of the Pierre Hotel.
“What a ridiculous attitude,” I answered, at which point I noticed the 40+ something woman recoil at my definitive response against an “icon” of our generation, and her boss!
“That’s just my point,” I continued. “Plastic surgery today is not like it was even a decade ago, when women had their skin pulled up and back so far and so many times they could no longer smile. Women now want to look natural. They also want to look the best they can for their age.”
“They want to look younger,” she answered, touting her boss’s attitude. “Nope,” I persisted. “I know I’m never going to look like I did at 40, or even 50, but I sure want to look as good as I can at 65. Why do I want to have jowls, droopy eyelids and cheeks, and a neck that shouts ‘gobble, gobble.’ When I was your age, I vowed I’d never have cosmetic surgery. But now, when I see how I looked before a chin implant, liposuction on my jowls and excess skin removed from my eyelids, I cringe.”
It amuses me when women like Arianna, who wear layers of makeup and dress to the nines, make pronouncements about the evils of cosmetic surgery. It’s their prerogative not to want work done on their pretty little aging faces, just as it’s their prerogative to be Democrats or Republicans, pro or anti-abortion, vegetarians or carnivores.
I respect the plastic surgeons I’ve interviewed, every single one of them. And I love the partnership FOF has developed with the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. I love when the doctors teach me about collagen, the SMAS layer of our skin, why our breasts sag and the important role our eyes play in how we look. I love their passion in wanting to make women look good. Plastic surgery used to get a bum rap. “Years ago, you either had an upper and lower face lift or did nothing,” said Dr. Kevin Tehrani, one of the surgeons I’ve interviewed. “There were no other options.” Today, there are new non-invasive procedures and more sophisticated surgical procedures.
Yes, plastic surgery can be expensive and not everyone can afford it. What we spend on our hair, makeup, clothes, accessories and jewelry every year all adds up, too.
We’re not going to stop aging, at least in my lifetime, but if we can give it a run for our money, I say: “Count me in!”
P.S. I know there are bigger, more important issues to discuss today, like the impact of the Presidential election on Medicare and Social Security; the economy; women’s rights and unrest in the Middle East. But I will leave those discussions to places like the Huff Post. I like to hear Arianna’s opinions on those subjects.