Photo here and on the front, iStock.
By Janet Kelly
IS THERE a certain age when vanity is no longer a concern—when you can look at yourself in the mirror and be happy—or at least satisfied—with the image reflected? Anyone out there so secure? Not I, although I applaud Valerie Monroe, who writes in Substack’s “How Not to F*ck Up Your Face” that we don’t need to fix our faces, we just need to learn how to accept them.
Then there’s SJP’s alter ego Carrie Bradshaw in And Just Like That, who has an accidental consultation with a plastic surgeon and decides afterwards that she doesn’t want to erase the lines of the past 15 years, even though, as my colleague comments, her face is quite drawn. Maybe a little fat transfer?
Like Carrie, my face is thin, but mine is kind of pruning in. Fillers have filled it in in the past, but my DC doctor told me that at a certain point, Voluma, Restylane, et al., no longer do the job; in fact, they can make your face look weirdly over-plumped. Take a look at Kristin Davis aka Charlotte in the Sex and the City reboot.
Last month I decided to do some local legwork on plastic surgery. I made two appointments—one with a plastic surgeon and another with an oculoplastic surgeon to discuss a facelift and an eyelift (blepharoplasty), respectively. I had some confidence in both doctors thanks to my good friend, a retired nurse anesthetist, who had worked with both during many surgeries and admired them—a lot. (She had an eyelift 10 years ago with one doc and has scheduled her own facelift with the other in July. )
After examining my face and saying something about how he didn’t advise a brow lift, Dr. M., the plastic surgeon, recommended a fat transfer for my face hollows, along with a cheek and neck lift for sagging muscles. Oy. He took lots of photos, explained the operation (cost: approximately $15k) and how long it would take to heal. He wants me to return so he can map out the procedure looking at those pictures. Wonder if he has a fancy machine like Carrie’s doctor?
What gave me pause was he didn’t seem keen on doing much to my eyes, specifically my upper lids. Every dermatologist in DC whom I saw advised me to have an upper eyelift.
A couple of weeks later, I saw Dr. B., the oculoplastic surgeon. He, too, took photos but had an entirely different, er, view, of my eyes. He was confident my droopy eyelids were not only impairing my vision but also that insurance would pay for the surgery ($6,000 to $7,000; for both lids it would be $10,000+). He told me I was unknowingly opening my eyes wider to compensate for my vision. When I tentatively told him I had seen Dr. M., who was not as enthusiastic about an eye fix, he assured me that he and Dr. M. were good friends, and Dr. M. preferred facelifts to blepharoplasty. Dr. B. also advised me to get an eyelift before a facelift. Sometimes you’ll find that you don’t need the latter after you have your eyes done, he said. I had heard that advice before—from another friend , who had an eyelift from Dr. B. a couple of years ago. To date, she’s not considering any further surgery.
Just a couple of days ago, a woman in Dr. M.’s office called me to ask if I had any questions and, I presume, to make another appointment to review the photos. I told her I’d get back to her. In the meantime, I did make an appointment with Dr. B. for an upper eyelift at the end of April. I’m debating whether to keep it.
My predicament: I know it’s my only life, but it’s also my only face. If only I could learn to accept it or reach the age where I no longer give a damn.