Fashion & Beauty

A Bird’s Eye View: Pondering Vanity

Mika Brzezinski / Photo

DONALD TRUMP’S now infamous tweets last week about “low IQ Crazy Mika” “bleeding from a facelift” made me think more than usual about the subject of cosmetic surgery, along with “less-invasive” fillers and Botox. The latter has become about as common as taking an aspirin. According to statistics on the website of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2016 marked the highest number of botox injections to date, with over 7 million. General cosmetic surgery procedures (facelift, eyelid surgery, brow lift, breast augmentation, etc.) clocked in at 1,790,987 last year, up 4 percent from 2015.

In a follow-up Vanity Fair story Brzezinski tells her side of the story saying she had undergone a procedure to tighten the skin under her neck, which she told Melania Trump about when the couple stopped by Mar-a-Lago on New Year’s Eve. “The irony of it all is that Donald kept saying, ‘That’s incredible. You can’t even tell. Who did it? Who did it?’ He kept asking for the name of the doctor.”  So, whether blood was streaming down from her face is debatable. Maybe not so much. In any event, she felt comfortable enough in the way she looked to at least drop by a high-profile New Year’s Eve party. Brzezinski is not alone in returning quickly to regularly scheduled activities. A little or even a lot of swelling isn’t enough to keep busy women holed up in their homes.

Coincidentally, before the Trump-Brzezinski brouhaha, I had a dermatologist appointment and decided to get a hyaluronic filler hoping to downplay those annoying lines around my mouth. I knew there was the possibility of bruising but I went ahead. And bruise I did. But the next night when I had to go to a fundraising event (the appointment was made well before the event invite), I had plenty of second thoughts. I couldn’t entirely cover up the black and blue marks with makeup, so when I ran into people I knew or to whom I was being introduced, I wondered whether they would think I had been punched, had dental surgery, had run into a door or would just assume I had been to the dermatologist. It was the double-edged sword of vanity. I was hoping to improve my looks, but there I was that night looking slightly scary with my bruised face. On the other hand, my fair-skinned husband who has frequent bouts with the dermatologist freezing suspicious skin lesions and/or with Moh’s surgery removing thin layers of skin on his face, doesn’t seem to feel the slightest pang about going out in public post-procedure. Sure, his are for legitimate medical reasons. But even though cosmetic surgery is on the upswing for men, no one assumes that’s why his face is blotchy and beet-red.

As for me, should I have stayed home until I healed?  Have you been in a similar situation? We’d love to know what you think.

—Janet Kelly




3 thoughts on “A Bird’s Eye View: Pondering Vanity

  1. Nancy McKeon says:

    Talk about looking scary! I had my own chin work done a few years ago, but I mustn’t have realized how bad I looked. Having dinner with my sister at an outdoor table (even though it was a bit chilly) at a restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, I must’ve scared the waiter, even though I was wearing a head scarf that shielded most of the bruising. He was so nervous his hands were shaking and he spilled coffee all over the place, was apologizing up and down. I finally took him aside and said it was only plastic surgery, that I wasn’t getting over a brain tumor or anything. Thinking back on it, I suspect the lower part of my head may still have been bandaged, so despite the scarf I guess I did look scary!

  2. Kathy Legg says:

    Would you have stayed home if the bruising really was the result of an injury or dentistry? Probably not. We’re just so self conscious of anything that smacks of vanity and yet it’s almost impossible not to be. No matter how evolved or accomplished a woman may be, aging is still viewed as a personal failure. Yet when we do something cosmetically to counteract it we’re self conscious of that too and don’t want anyone to notice how we’ve caved to vanity. It’s nuts! So for me the question of staying in or going out would come down to how much of a good time would I miss by staying in. I might still be self conscious, but I bet I’d make a lot of new women friends because they all would want to dish about whatever procedure I had just had.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      I would have loved to make some friends! If anyone had wanted to dish, it would have been much more fun and would have eased my self-consciousness. In New York or DC, I’m sure there would have been women curious and brave enough to just ask what procedure I had and who was my doctor. Not in Pittsburgh, although judging by the number of dermatologists and skincare centers, women are fighting back against wrinkles and the like!

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