Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cosmetic Surgery Confession

Or rather....pass the smelling salts

For many reasons, I recently made an appointment with a top NYC cosmetologist/dermatologist to discuss what could be done to restore youthful radiance to my 'tired' face. I am also writing a piece on how we have become just TOO CASUAL in our language about and attitudes to, cosmetic surgery treatments but I know none of you will believe that. Anyway....

Before I had even entered the office of Most Famous Doctor In NYC or the 'Filler but not Killer Queen' something horrid happened. Sitting waiting for my early morning appointment, couldn't help but listen in to the receptionist's babbling. As it sharpened into ear focus, I heard one of the receptionists speaking on the phone with a client who was telephoning to say she would be held up. Receptionist put the phone down and said to the other

 'Stupid freakin b _ _ _h! What am I, the traffic guru? How do I know how long it will take her to get here!' and so on....

 I was so shocked.  I'm easily shocked but honestly....after a few minutes bubbling with fury I went over to the desk. 'I heard what  you said about that client on the phone, who was late. It's just so awful and depressing, no it's disheartening that you can be so rude!!! '.

The recceptionists stared back at me, looked at each other and declared that they had no idea what I was talking about and that I must be crazy etc.  If I could remember any of the plot of Mean Girls or Carrie, it might have been a similar situation to one of the scenes in those movies. So I sat back down and returned to my Kindle instead of musing about what the doctors at this clinic must really think about the clients if that is how the receptionists view them.

Anyway, went in to see the doc. She was teeny-tiny, friendly and warm. I had to take everything off and stand there in my knickety knacks while she examined me. 'What, no treatments ever?' she asked incredulously, peering at the crinkles on my forehead and clearly wondering how I could have let myself get into this state. After a good look, she asked what I wanted to do with my appearance. I said, 'look less tired and lessen my jowls, without any pumping up as my face is fat enough, thanks'.. She discussed giving me a liquid face lift and showed me, around my face, where she would 'go in' with a hyperdermic needle. She would then, she explained very clearly and pleasantly, inject beneath my facial muscles and pump in a load of filler and poison.  This would have the joint effect of puffing out, sorry 'lifting' my face and paralysing facial muscles. Only temporary though, I would need to return and have it done EVERY SIX MONTHS. I was reeling. Had to sit down and breathe very deeply. Then, regarding my many and varied chins, she suggested paralysing my neck muscles. That was when I felt the light wave rising inside me, signifying imminent black-out. Thankfully managed to stop it with deep breathing labour exercises, once learned, never forgotten.

Barely able to compose a normal facial expression, I had to get us off filler and ask what the alternative would be. Ulthera was the suggestion. This is the advanced version of Thermage, famous for being cosmetic surgery's most outrageously agonising experience. Lasers, essentially set fire to your dermal layer, while you are awake. Your cells scramble, burn and try to heal themselves beneath your epidermis, while you listen to classical music on a set of headphones and pray the painkillers they have given you, work. The noise is almost as bad as the pain, I've been told. At least there's no burning smell though, like you sometimes get at the dentist. The results can be fantastic, in that your surface skin becomes plumped and taut as the scarring, healing and recovery of the cells beneath causes a collagen overdrive. What though, would your body, if it could speak to you, say about doing this to it?

It is important to mention that I paid for this appointment and the doctor was nothing but lovely, gorgeous and fabulous in every way. It was just the language that would have scared the pants off me if they had not been the only things I was wearing. Think about it. I know botox has been used for medical purposes for over a century but what does it really do to us? Does it emanate through our pores, like garlic, wafting around those closest to us? Does it's increased use mean it may begin to seep into the water supply like oestrogens in cleaning products and chemicals? Nobody knows. Supposedly the human body metabolises it. Oh. What must the longterm effect of say, five years of twice annual botulism injections be on the average human digestive or renal system?

 I am, as many others so often claim, just saying.........

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


We watched the HBO docudrama 'Game Change' - the film of the book by journalists Mark Halperin and John Heilemann. The book deals with all the candidates campaigns for the 2008 Presidential Election but the film honed in on the Sarah Palin story, especially the part played by John McCain's advisors. I will be beefing about that further down the page.

The film was riveting and Julianne Moore played Palin so masterfully it felt difficult to distill fact from fiction.  She was just brilliant at conveying those blurred moments some women experience as a new mother, when hormones have not settled back to normal and the connection with reality temporarily clicks off. It is hard to explain if you have never been through it. The descriptive version that appeared in the film is a tribute not only to Moore's outrageously fabulous acting but to Halperin and Heilemann's powers of observation. I know the film makers intended for me to walk away feeling that I understood Palin better and I really did. You must see it.

However, for as much as Moore resembled Palin, Woody 'the beast' Harrelson was a shocker as Steve Schmidt, John McCain's chief advisor. Woody is 'a beast' according to my teenage sons. This means he delivers on the action front. His hard-man fearless act renders him up there in the 'beast' category with other surprising outsiders including Liam Neeson and Harrison Ford. Not in the line-up, for instance, is Vin Diesel. Though he might think he is 'beast' (drop the 'a') Diesel is a wuss, ditto 'The Rock', though Steven Segal, I am told, IS beast.

Well my point here is, we (family) know Steve Schmidt. Well we've shared a cousin's wedding with him. He seems like a lovely bloke. Chatting at the buffet, having a little dance, joining everyone for breakfast etc. If he reminded me of anyone at all in this Whole Wide World and I mean anyone, it would not be Woody Harrelson. It would not even be anyone else in the 'beast' category. Which leads me to ponder, if you are a figure in the public eye,  how alarming it must be to hear someone is making a docudrama in which you will feature. One more reason why it is so fabulous not to be famous.

Leading to my final point....fame is for young people. Only the young and beautiful can enjoy it. For everyone over the age of 30 it must be the biggest pain in the ass. You cannot step out of your home looking less than perfect, no matter what walk of life you traverse. I understood Jennifer A moaning that NYC was like a goldfish bowl. Downtown, near my office in Tribeca which is, admittedly round the corner from Jay Z and Beyonce's gaff, not to mention scrillions of other celebs, the streets are teaming with paps. They just hover on street corners and in caffs. They raise their cameras like guns whenever a person passes by.  A lot of the paps out there now are foreign and unsure of who is and is not famous, so they shoot pics of everyone. Plus, they are getting shabbier and scarier. These are not people who trained in photography at St. Martins. They are street pedlars with cameras, increasingly desperate for a shot. I don't like the way it's going and I love a celebrity pic.

Er, that's it..