Last night I took some male friends to a party for New Beauty magazine (it’s the plastic surgery magazine). Now, these men are pretty open to older women, and besides, there would be free booze, so they were initially enthusiastic. Then we entered the room and froze. A good half of the women had “The New Face.” Which is to say, a face made entirely out of plastic.
It was clear that each of these women had spent tens of thousands – perhaps hundreds of thousands – on their faces. They should have provoked uncontrollable lust in my young male friends. Instead, they provoked uncontrollable “non-teenage mutant ninja cougar” jokes.
The thing was, I don’t think these women went to bad plastic surgeons. You can’t dismiss the new face as just a bad procedure, because it’s comprised of dozens of procedures. You see it on Cher. Melanie Griffith. Madonna. Individually, all of their parts look pretty good.
So did the parts of the women at that party. Had I been shown only tiny pictures of each feature (“here are some lips, are they not lucious?” “here is a forehead, is it not smooth?”) I would have agreed that each of them looked terrific. But, on women I guessed to be in their mid-50′s, the lips and puffy cheeks of a 25 year old looked hilariously out of place, almost as though they’d taken those penny-store wax lips and stuck them on before going out. They did not look like Scarlett Johansson. They looked like Jigsaw.
Now, look, I’m really not anti-plastic surgery. I’ve known people who have had minor changes (some botox here, a breast lift after giving birth there) who have come out looking…rested (I don’t know about you, but my breasts are always perkier after resting). And that’s great! But it seems like when you overhaul every single aspect of your face, the only thing that happens is that you come out looking not-human. You look, instead, like an artist’s awkward sketch of a human. Or, I guess, like a new beauty?
Perhaps no one sums up new-beauty-dom more completely than Heidi Montag whose litany of procedures reads almost like a beat poem. Consider:
I got a slight eyebrow lift
And that’s why I have these staples in my head
I had my nose redone
I had my own fat injected into my cheeks
I had my ears pinned back
I had injections in my lips
I had my chin shaved-down
I had my breasts redone
And my back shaped
And then I had a little bit
Of inner and outer lipo done
You have to realize that
I’ve been through so much pain.
I can’t imagine the pain. And I can’t imagine the plastic surgery really worked. Or, maybe it did, but only insofar as Heidi survived the procedures, and perhaps got what she wanted. If the the intent was, as Heidi said, to stop anonymous internet detractors from making fun of her (for having a Leno chin!) then it failed rather dramatically. Even Spencer didn’t much like it, so it doesn’t seem like it provoked a newfound attraction in her mate. On the whole, rather than turning her into an object of desire, it turned her into an object of pity.
So, what’s the point? Are these women perhaps equipped with only very small compact mirrors and unable to see how their faces looks as a whole? 50% of women in a chic New York party can’t be entirely insane, can they?
But then, I suppose that their entirely overhauled faces did mean I wasn’t entirely able to pinpoint their ages. I grew up in the Midwest (as opposed to say, that town in Logan’s Run). I know what a 50 year old woman looks like. Were these women 50? 60? 35? It was impossible to tell, because Alien-face is not an age. Perhaps that was the goal all along, not to arouse, simply to confuse and in doing so, to grant them a sort of eternal indeterminate age.
Or maybe they were hot and sexy, and I just don’t appreciate modern beauty.