By Anita Doberman: Columnist
A few days ago, I was waiting for an aerobics class to start when I casually started chatting with a woman standing next to me. Thirty seconds into our superficial conversation, my new friend couldn’t contain her excitement, and told me that in two days she would have some “work” done, and energetically pointed at her bosom.
I wasn’t sure what to say, so I stated something obvious, “Oh, yes, gravity does take its toll on our bodies, especially after having children.”
She quickly explained she doesn’t have children, and she has always wanted her breasts enhanced, but only now got the money to do it.
I nodded, and made an effort to look everywhere else but toward her chest.
After this quick exchange, I started thinking, okay obsessing, about plastic surgery. After another fellow gym-goer nonchalantly told me about her procedure, there I was on the Internet, compulsively checking doctors, procedures, and prices.
I told myself there is nothing wrong with having plastic surgery. A lot of people seem to have come to that conclusion, just look at television shows like “Dr. 90210,” “Nip/Tuck,” “The Swan” — specials about plastic surgery that fascinate audiences and show us the plastic surgeon’s ability to give us our dream bodies.
And it’s not just here in the United States. My sister updates me regularly on how many women go under the knife in Italy. Going to the beach in the summer is like going to a fashion show. And if you know Italian men, they are not shy about appreciating women’s bodies, so there is a lot of pressure to keep up with Mr. Rossi’s wife. How am I going to survive when we go to Italy and the women ogle my husband, a tall and handsome American man, while I chase my five children? And even if he’s the one chasing the kids, it only makes a man look sexier.
The pressure is on. Many of my friends are having procedures done, smaller butts and hips, larger breasts, gigantic lips, wrinkle-free eyes. It’s spreading like pinkeye in a preschool and once you catch it it’s very hard to get rid of it.
No one is immune from the urgency to look good. Why should I feel badly?
But then I think, who am I kidding, this isn’t me, is it? Plastic surgery is shallow. It’s one of those things I really want, but realize has no intrinsic value. I am a believer that what’s on the inside should matter more than what’s on the outside.
But this is a case where idealism clashes with reality, so I am left wanting to keep up with the race. I know what I think I want, and I know what I think I ought to want, and they’re not the same.
There is no easy solution.
When I told my husband that I was considering plastic surgery, he told me that I certainly didn’t need it — right answer — and that right now it wasn’t really a consideration with five small children and one small bank account. But of course he wouldn’t stand in the way of my happiness if I really wanted to do it.
I will be honest. I haven’t decided yet. Fortunately, there’s no hurry. I’ll be getting older for a while.