I had this freckle. Now, I am a fair-skinned person, so I have a ton of freckles, but this one was different. I would never have known it was different if a friend of mine had not noticed it at the beach one day. It was raised, but a few days earlier a bee stung me there, so I knew in my head that the new look to the freckle was more about the bee bite than something more sinister.
Still, my friend started to go on and on about all the things it could be until she made me crazy, so I called the dermatologist and had the damn thing removed. It turned out fine. The doctor looked at it and said, “It’s a freckle with a bee bite, but since you’re here, let’s lob it off.”
Anyway, as she was burning the freckle off my skin, she started to talk to me about other cosmetic procedures that she and her plastic surgeon partner do. She said, “You have a baby face, but sooner or later that baby face will show its age.”
So, she sent me home with a few dozen brochures that showed me how I could look better. I am probably the most easily influenced person on the planet. I poured over those brochures lamenting the fact that I could not afford to do any of them right now. Not helping to assuage my “getting old” fears were my friends who offered a variety of comments such as, “Wow, they can contour your chubby cheeks!” Or “What would you do if you didn’t have that fat face?” Or “Why don’t you just get your hair straightened instead with that Brazilian smoothing system?”
Well, at that point, I was not thinking my hair was an issue, but now I knew it was. My husband dismissed the doctor’s comments with what I think was a sweet gesture. He said, “I love that fat face. I married it, didn’t I?” When my daughter called home that week, I told her about my freckle-removal visit and the convo I had with my friends about the Brazilian straightening system, and she emphatically objected to me getting anything done. Finally, someone who appreciated my “assets.”
“Dad and I count on your hair especially when we are in crowds. We can spot you a mile away!” Then she went on to explain how when I would chaperone school trips, the kids wanted to be with me not because they loved my chaperoning skills but because they knew they would never get lost. Apparently, the consensus was that my hair was like a beacon of light guiding the lost little lambs home.
Who knew? Anyway, I did laugh off the whole cosmetic surgery thing within a few days, but about two weeks later, I met with some other friends for a girls’ night out. I told them about my freckle experience, and they all easily admitted to having work done. One had her boobs done and her tummy tucked. I sort of guessed the boob one because she did appear to redevelop in her forties, and I never knew a woman to naturally do that. Yep, her drooping petals found life again, and her tummy tuck did take off about ten years from her figure. Another friend had liposuction on her thighs, and the third, her eyelids lifted. Wow. I didn’t even know you could get your lids lifted. Where do they get lifted to? They seemed like they were in the same spot as I remembered, but I can’t be sure.
They were all so proud of the work, and to be honest, their doctors did a great job. The boob friend, whose new husband bought her “the girls” as a wedding gift, invited me to touch them, so I copped a feel to see what they were like, and I have to tell you I was impressed and a little jealous. I go to the freaking gym and swim my butt off at least three times a week, and I lift weights, and I still have some problem areas. I even do that exercise to tone my chin and slim down my face—you know the one where you open your mouth really wide and then close it into a pucker. I do ten reps of ten per day. I usually do it while driving because it scares other drivers on the road. They think there is something wrong with me, and they leave me alone and let me go wherever I want.
Am I jealous that my friends could afford all this work, or that they had the guts to do it? No. I mean I would still work out because I love to work out, but it did cross my mind that they are getting more sophisticated looking, while I may be looking like an aging Shirley Temple. Will there be a time when they start to look twenty-something again, and I will be the really old friend they take pity on? If that happens, I may have to find older friends. That’s a lot of effort.
I kicked myself for the feelings of self-pity that crept into my psyche, and I decided not to get caught up in this trap. I don’t have anything against plastic surgery if it makes people feel good about themselves. But, it’s not right for me—now anyway. If I want to look perkier or flatter or thinner or whatever, I can still scour the Victoria’s Secret catalogs and find an accessory item that will do the trick. As long as there is a push-up bra, and tummy-flattening underwear, I guess I can make do. The hair—well, the world will have to deal.