Looks DO Matter

A FEW months back, Jojo Struys wrote about how women have gone through great lengths and subjected themselves to various forms of “torture” — all in the name of beauty.

We live in this appearance-centric society, where looks and beauty are key. Getting something lifted, tightened, adjusted or removed has become as fundamental as wearing mascara and slapping on hair conditioner; an essential for us to look and feel better

My friend, an aesthetic physician told me quite simply that beauty was a huge factor in everyone’s professional and emotional success. She added, “That’s the way it is, accept it or go live in a cave”.

I have to agree with her. In my line of work, the beautiful ones get noticed and have a better chance of ‘getting in’. I had recommended a few friends to audition as hosts for the various TV programmes I produce or anchor, and the first thing they ask is, “pretty or not?”

So yes. In our society, looks matter more than anyone would like to believe and it’s senseless to go through life feeling bitter and angry about it when you can just embrace it. Looking good equals feeling good. Feeling good equals having more confidence. So why not do whatever you can, within your means to improve your appearance, right?

Joan Rivers, the public (lifted) face of cosmetic enhancement said, “In the old days before cosmetic surgery, the secret of staying young was simply to die early.”

Trust her to go all melodramatic about it. But thank goodness that now, cosmetic surgery is available to anyone with some money and a good doctor.

Most women are curious about it. No wait, most PEOPLE are. They have dreamt about it and fantasized about having Botox injections, a face lift, a boob job or a liposuction done. I bet that 98 out of 100 persons out there, have had some kind of beauty change passing through their mind. And if you are one of them, relax. You shouldn’t have mixed emotions about wanting to be sexy and gorgeous.

I interviewed the ‘King of Botox’ when he came down to Malaysia last year to promote his new range of skincare. I asked him casually after the show “ Hey Doc … do I need botox?” Expecting a polite, gentlemanly answer, I was a little slighted when he started pointing out the ‘flaws’ on my face.

That afternoon, I went to see my friend and asked her opinion about my chin and neck. A friend but a businesswoman nonetheless, she told me, “well, you can do some work over here and here and here!” Total cost? RM2,200.

I chickened out. The thought of needles invading my face and paying that much was extremely painful for the purse and me. According to her, what she suggested for me were toe-in-the-water procedures. Geez. And I had fleeting thoughts of getting a lift on my left mammary gland!

History takes us back to ancient Egyptians who were the first civilization to do just about anything which included skins grafts to repair facial damage and crude nose jobs circa 4000BC. Before the 19th century, surgeries were done without any anesthesia. Ouch! I can totally understand why plastic surgery didn’t become more common till after a few hundred years.

As often is the case, necessity spurred innovation and the biggest advances in this field happened (unfortunately) due to the consequences of war and modern improvement of weaponry. Surgeons had to invent ways to repair injuries to the face and bodies of soldiers harmed. Fast forward many years later, advances in every possible cosmetic technique, has moved along at a breakneck pace during the 1970s and has continued to evolve at increasing speed today.

Many celebrities and others in elite circles have had some form of cosmetic enhancement done although many won’t admit it.

Oddly, people will tell you the most intimate details of their sex lives and money, but keep mum about plastic surgery. The subject of cosmetic surgery was whispered about and considered taboo for the fear of being seen as too vain or narcissistic, or due to religious beliefs that go against certain medical procedures —­ so many prefer to keep mum over the work done.

But I think over time, cosmetic surgery will be fully accepted and even encouraged in some circles. Shows like Nip/Tuck and The Swan shows the acceptance of it in our society. Countries offer Medical Tourism — even our Pearl of the Orient offers “Heal & Holiday” getaways for those ‘seeking surgical treatment and peaceful recuperation’ in complete anonymity. Just the other day, my party planner suggested a botox fun night for a friend’s hen party.

I will never say never to cosmetic surgery. But till I get over my fear of needles and I have some extra cash to spare, I think there’s no harm doing my homework on it so when I’m ready (or when I absolutely need it), I’d be mentally and physically prepared. One tip my gorgeous doctor friend shared with me is this: “Never trust an acne-scarred dermatologist or an ugly plastic surgeon.” Logical advice. Don’t you agree?

TV Anchor Daphne Iking was given another piece of advice by the doctor: Don’t tell your spouse about your cosmetic enhancements. She feels that’s going to be almost impossible if she decides to perk up her assets. Daphne would also like to apologise for inadvertently leaving out a credit mention to Marie Claire in her previous column on Drink-Spiking — for the inspiration and permission to use an excerpt in their article. Follow Daphne’s tweets on @daphCLPT.