My brother recently wrote a blog that mentioned the pleasures of yelling at television characters when we have our own ideas about what they should be doing. This morning I was scanning my online news sources when I came upon a photo of a senior citizen featured in an article. My first thought was: You need to whiten your teeth.
“Get a hairdo!” I might yell at some poor soul on TV, or “Honey, pluck your eyebrows!” “Haven’t you ever heard of brown spot remover?” And who among us can’t spot a bad wig, especially on a man?
The long, wide reach of the media does not leave many of us out.
I’m finding that I’ve been slowly and subtly—perhaps subliminally--conditioned to expect white, perfect teeth and flawless skin, beautiful hair and an attractive physique on anyone in the public eye. Some part of me is surprised and turned off when these folks don’t “take care of themselves.”
At the same time, there are TV channels I will not watch, a whole swath of them featuring (my term) “fake women” chosen for reality shows that highlight their bitchiness and balloon-like lips. Plastic surgery can enhance us or make monsters of us.
I find it disturbing to see young people who have never experienced a wrinkle hawking anti-aging products, for example the beautiful girl in the Juvederm ads. How old is she, twenty? Could that trend have anything to do with reality shows that highlight bridezillas barely out of their teens plumping up their faces for their perfect day? It's all part of the media message.
The next step, after blithely informing the men and women on TV that they need Botox or a Lifestyle Lift, is looking at oneself. Ah.
With a second book about to be published and a co-author who would love for us to be interviewed on TV, I keep wondering if I should be taking my own advice. I suppose a few layers of Luminess sprayed on before the cameras roll would give me that airbrushed look, but what about taking advantage of the products and procedures that are now as common as face powder?
I have friends who routinely take Botox injections, have their makeup tattooed on, get chemical peels, and always look like they should be in the movies. I often think it’s too late for me, that if all those procedures had been pushed at everyone with a pulse twenty years ago, I might have started.
What about the money, the endless appointments, the risk? Marie Osmond looks lovely these days, but she does not look like Marie Osmond. Does it matter? What if things didn’t turn out so well? What if I underwent some procedure and the doctor overdid it? Can you ever go backwards? Do any of these enhanced people ever want to return to their former selves?
The world has become so competitive. I’m not sure what I’ll do about beauty enhancements, but I keep thinking about it, weighing the questions, especially this one: If I had, if I did, who would I be right now?