It's one thing to look in the mirror and bemoan the effects of gravity and age. It's another thing to have a professional confirm your nagging fears -- and then point out the areas you missed. Vanity Fair's web exclusive (via The Frisky), "Plastic Surgery Confidential," details 27-year-old writer Melanie Berliet's undercover visits to three New York-area plastic surgeons. Though each doctor "prescribed" different procedures, all found ways to improve the author's 5'9", 120lb. frame -- which I mention only because the article makes sure to point out Berliet's figure, both in the text and in various scantily clad photos of the young writer. (It's meant to highlight the ludicrousness of the doctors' assessments, but would a 27-year-old with a less-than-svelte figure be a more appropriate patient?)
Berliet's first visit proves shocking. Without asking her why she's come in, the doctor proceeds to "deconstruct" Berliet's body. "'As a Caucasian woman, you probably -- if you were doing lipo -- would want this brought down,' he says, pointing to my 'banana rolls' -- his clever name for the part of my rear end that peeks from beneath my underwear lining." In addition to breast augmentation, liposuction, rhinoplasty and lip injections, the doctor recommends Botox "to control the 'disproportion in animation,'" whatever the hell that is.
The article steers clear of plastic surgery's potential danger, which has been in the headlines recently: Usher's wife suffered complications from an unspecified plastic surgery procedure in Brazil earlier this month and, of course, Kanye West's mom died in 2007 of complications from a combination breast reduction and tummy tuck (the doctor involved was arrested and sent to jail on DUI charges in January. )
Now, I feel people have the right to alter their appearances in whatever way they see fit. Berliet comes to a similar conclusion, writing that, "As for plastic surgery itself, I can't say that I'm against it...That said, I've decided (for now) to hold on to the genetic hand I was dealt." But with the number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on kids 18 and under more than tripling from 1997 to 2007 -- not to mention the ubiquity of celebrities who have been altered almost unrecognizably -- that's a less and less common decision to make. What will people look like in 20, 30 years, when they started nipping and tucking as teens? I'm afraid to imagine.