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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Go ahead and get that plastic surgery

If I had my life to live over again, I'd get plastic surgery at age 22 or so. Why not? Everybody judges you by your looks. To say otherwise is naive.

Like it or not, your looks shape your life. Obviously, your appearance has a huge impact on your love life. And of course no corporation would ever admit to this, but the fact is, good-looking people get preference in hiring, too; beautiful young women are rarely on the unemployment line.

So why not put your best face forward?

Most people hold off because they'd feel foolish, and don't want to appear vain, or are worried that something might go wrong.

The biggest problem is when people don't know when to stop. Michael Jackson famously went from looking like this:

To this:

Jackson is always cited as a cautionary tale. But what everybody forgets is that he looked great after the first two or three surgeries, about the time Thriller came out.

He'd had his nose narrowed, and his eyebrows done, and maybe one or two other procedures I can't put my finger on. But, then, he couldn't leave well enough alone. 

The rule of thumb seems to be that one or two or three operations are good. But becoming "addicted" to plastic surgery never ends well.

Jackson is the most widely known cautionary tale; but there are plenty of others who've had bad outcomes. Here are a few more you may be familiar with. 

The operations to avoid seem to be lip plumping, which always seem to go wrong, and cheek implants, which usually look unnatural. (Those two operations in particular, for some reason, always seem to make women look sleazy.)

But go to any plastic surgeon's website, and you'll see a lot of good outcomes. And even if you're not going to have career in show biz, if can correct small imperfections, why not?

Look at these before and after photos of Scarlett Johansson:

Pre-nose job, she has a pleasant face, but doesn't look all that different from half the girls you went to high school with. After, she's pretty enough be a movie star.

The question  you have to ask yourself is, even if you don't plan a career in show business, wouldn't it be preferable -- for all sorts of reasons -- to go through life looking like the girl on the right? We all know she'll get more attention and in general be treated better than the girl on the left.

Or look at Michelle Pfeiffer:

If she hadn't had that original nose job, she never would have become Michelle Pfeiffer. (One strange side effect with both Johansson and Pfeiffer is that both look more intelligent post-nose job; it makes absolutely no sense, I know, but somehow, they do.)

The same principles, by the way, apply to men.

Nice girls would be mortified to have people find out that they'd gotten cosmetic surgery. And, as most nice girls have been taught, it wouldn't speak well of them as people if they cared enough about (superficial) appearances to have the operation.

But, that doesn't mean they shouldn't do it.

And I'd tell the 22-year-old version of myself the same thing.

Think about it this way: you don't feel ashamed if you work out in order to look better, do you? A regular workout routine certainly entails putting more effort into your appearance than a one time medical procedure does. And you don't feel foolish about buying a new outfit. But why not? New clothes express a certain vanity as well.

The truth is, we're all vain, and we all do things to indulge that vanity. Even if that indulgence entails the opposite of what we normally think of as self-indulgence -- like cutting out desserts. Or forcing ourselves to get down to Pilates class every other day.

Some cultures are already more accepting of it. Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela are said to have already gone plastic surgery-crazy. And Seoul, South Korea, is now supposed to be the world capital of cosmetic surgery.

Why let those countries have all the fun?

As it is now, narcissistic personalities and sociopaths are far more likely to have procedures done. Why let them be the only ones who benefit? My general advice to most narcissistic personalities (if they'd ever listen, which of course they wouldn't) would be, be less the way you are, and stop acting as if the world revolves around you, and learn to admit when  you're wrong.

But my advice to "normal" people would be the opposite: be more like narcissistic personalities. Don't let a sense of shame hold you back from enjoying all the advantages that accrue from a better appearance.


Anonymous said...

Michael had vitiligo, the autopsy showed he did have it:
It's a disease that causes loss of pigmentation in many major areas of the skin.
He bleached his skin to hide his disorder.

John Craig said...

Anon --
That makes sense, though the things he had done went way beyond skin bleaching.

Anonymous said...

People who have too much plastic surgery end up looking unsightly.

- Susan

Anonymous said...

Looking repulsive is almost as good as looking very beautiful, if you do it right.

You just have to carry it off correctly. People should not worry too much about making themselves OBJECTIVELY look super-beautiful, usually it will be less work to just look so-so, and then use your personality techniques on your target audience to cover the same ground that looking super-beautiful would have gotten for you.

You can give away your sexual favors for $200 or for $200 million, and the difference between payouts is not from BETTER SEXUAL FAVORS (not primarily so), but rather, from attention to detail in a whole other set of techniques. By analogy, the quest for super-beauty/plastic-surgery is like perfecting sex acts quietly at home and then expecting that the world will send suitcases full of money over FOR THAT ALONE.

I think six months ago I did advise a young woman, "YOU LOOK GOOD, or, you look good enough, the problems you are having come from doing everything else wrong."


John Craig said...

I'm not trying to diminish the importance of other things in this post, but rather merely making the case that looks is one of the weapons in your arsenal, so why not make that weapon as formidable as it can be? Life is a competition, after all, and you want every advantage you can get.

How did the young woman take that advice? I'm guessing not with a great deal of equanimity.......

Anonymous said...

Overdone plastic surgery gone awry can be pretty horrific. I have read that many of those who take it nearly to the point of addiction are actually afflicted with Body Dismorphic Disorder, or BDD.

High Arka said...

Many Terran perceptions of plastic surgery are based upon studio-lit, makeup-covered, advantageously-shot models, as opposed to firsthand experience with people who've gone under the knife. Your argument will have a lot more merit if people persist long enough to accomplish remolding or body transfers, in which case the visual aspect will be undetectable on its own. At current local technological levels, though, it seems like even lower-functioning people who are non-drunk and non-desperate recoil from the comparative butchery of modern plastic surgery, particularly when aging adjusts purchased features.

A Venn diagram of the most evil and most effective physicians represents those who get into plastic surgery. If plastic surgery becomes more popular and/or more accessible, it will still draw the more evil physicians, but market demand will require the less competent among the evil to also engage in the practice. The work we tend to see now is on celebrities paying megabucks to the finest (sic) butchers in the world, and even then it requires constant expensive maintenance, largely disqualifies them from non-gentle physical activity, and still looks freakishly off when they either age or get caught without proper concealer. When people without maintenance staff start having work done by the finest, it is spooky enough; when lots of people without maintenance staff start having work done by the middling practitioners, it will leave you wishing for the good old days of fat lesbians rallying with vagina hats. Because seriously it is gross when you see a rich old lady with colored hair and lots of work trying to be 20 or 40. You can tell at the edges. It's like doing an ugly-as-sin woman wearing a sexy mask. Focus on the mask, focus on the mask, believe in the mask...ugh.

(Pray for surgery robots, I suppose, to alleviate at least some of the initial damage. Even so, the sense of artificial horror exhibited outside the studio will probably sicken a few of us, like the idea of having sex or a conversation with a very attractive mannequin doesn't appeal to everyone.)

On another note, it would be interesting to see an argument over student debt levels in 2037 if a majority of educated young job-seekers followed the advice in the original post. Older conservatives of the time would offer hilarious commentary about why jobless students shouldn't be bailed out by taxpayers since those students spent all their federal funds on rhinoplasty and useless degrees, while a bunch of gorgeously unemployed twentysomethings counter that modern standards require good looks as well as Masters of Science in Diversity Poetics. If I make it to 2037, I'll be looking forward to some rather hilarious comment-section browsing in the event John proves prophetic.

John Craig said...

High Arka (and Anon, and Susan) --
There's no question, excessive plastic surgery always has a bad outcome. And having it done in order to look younger usually doesn't quite work, either. We've all seen the hideous results of addicts, from Michael Jackson to Catwoman. Plastic surgeons are essentially artists; but the existence of bad artists doesn't mean there aren't good ones, and I've seen enough good results -- especially the ones that have resulted in successful show biz careers -- to know they exist.

Are doctors who go into plastic surgery evil? I suppose they're more ambitious, and more greedy (plastic surgery tends to pay better than other forms of medicine), which probably means that its practitioners are more clustered at the lower end of the decency scale. But I've known of plastic surgeons who volunteer for Doctors Without Borders and go around fixing cleft palates and the like for children from families too poor to pay for the operation. Are those doctors doing it just to broadcast their goodness? Maybe some of them. But not all. And keep in mind, plastic surgery encompasses doctors who help accident victims, etc, though, admittedly, that's not what this post was about.

Plastic surgery DOES have lots of room for improvement. If rich people like Donatello Versace and Meg Ryan end up the worse for their operations, reasonable people conclude, what hope is there for the rest of us? There's definitely a luck of the draw element involved here; but there's also the matter choice as far as which operation to get, and as I said in the post, nobody should get lip plumping or cheek implants, and nobody should have more than two or three procedures, maximum. But, rhinoplasties usually turn out well, and who wouldn't rather go through life looking like the after picture of Scarlet Johansson rather than the before?

Okay, see you in 2037. (I'll be 82 then, but just look for the guy who looks like the 2008 version of Michael Jackson.)

Mark Caplan said...

Many movie actors and actresses resort to plastic surgery supposedly because of the high resolution of modern digital video projection systems. In their imagination, the surgeries will extend their careers. My own reaction is that the hi-res projections make the surgery all the more evident and distracting. If I know an artificially facially enhanced actor or actress will be in a film, I avoid it.

Even young actresses resort to some kind of plastic surgery. As a minimum, they get lip injections, which gives them that stupid, duck-lip appearance. Google British actress Rush Wilson, for instance.

In Hollywood's Golden Age, cinematographers intentionally blurred the images of the stars and used clever light and shadow techniques to enhance the star's appearance and we all thought the actresses looked fantastic and natural.

John Craig said...

Mark --
Agreed about lip injections, and Rush Wilson's lips aren't even that bad. (I thought she was good in "Luther," and to be honest, didn't even notice that they were artificial.)

I think generally, if the plastic surgery becomes self-evident, Hollywood drops those actors or actresses. Meg Ryan has been in exactly two films since she disfigured herself (since 2009), and I hadn't heard of either of them. (Of course, she's also 56 or so now, and Hollywood generally isn't kind to actresses after the age of 45 or so.)

But there's a long list of successful actors and actresses who've had work done, and just about all of them were more successful for having enhanced their appearance.

And yes, the old time cinematographers did use every trick at their disposal to make stars look better, but similar things gets done today with airbrushing, CGI, etc.

Justin said...

How do we even know ScarJo got a nose job, though? At least to me it's not obvious. People say Ivanka got one, too, but it's also not clear to me.

John Craig said...

Justin --
I think it's pretty obvious with both of them. Peoples' noses just don't suddenly get narrower like that naturally. I'm always struck by how that particular operation seems to go well. A few people over do it, like Michael Jackson, and possibly Megan Kelly (whose nose look preternaturally narrow at the bottom), but most people look better afterwards.

Justin said...

Interesting. I'm just not used to thinking about nose width too carefully because mine is aesthetically perfect.

I'd agree with you that nose jobs can increase attractiveness, but most/all other cosmetic surgery procesures seem to do more harm than good. A possible exception are hair transplants for guys. At least judging from Elon Musk, they can look pretty great.

John Craig said...

Justin --
Ha. Agreed, a lot of other procedures have downside risk. Actually, another operation with almost no downside is having one's ears pinned back. That can help, and I've never seen it go bad.

I know these things are subjective, and the presence of hair definitely makes guys look younger. But, I'm slowly balding, and somehow, it doesn't bother me. Too many other things going wrong at the same time, I guess.

Anonymous said...

“But I've known of plastic surgeons who volunteer for Doctors Without Borders and go around fixing cleft palates and the like for children from families too poor to pay for the operation. Are those doctors doing it just to broadcast their goodness? Maybe some of them. But not all.”

Based on what I’ve seen and heard – almost all doctors who go on these volunteer trips to do surgeries in poor countries are ALL ABOUT virtue signaling.

Doctors in general are obscenely overpaid. They are enabled by the health insurance / medical complex.

I have heard a number of different people tell me how their doctor complained to them that they are having trouble keeping up with their bills ( ex. Whinig about the cost of their daughter’s violin lessons) – intentionally leading patients to think that doctors are poor or underpaid. People like my mother swallow it – hook, line and sinker. She views them as these ultra-virtuous guys who work so hard and don’t get paid. What a crock – any doctor who whines about money is an ass.

Further, along these lines – doctors are ALL ABOUT money. They do unnecessary surgeries FREQUENTLY – just so they can hit the cash register. Again, I hear the stories from my girlfriend, who is a nurse.

She has participated in several of these trips – to South America. The trips are covered in the paper. They get a photo of the whole group and it goes on the front page of the local paper. WHAT GOOD PEOPLE THEY ARE!!

The truth is that they screw the populace through the insurance / medical complex, and then we have to laud them for being altruistic.

The nurses go on these trips for both virtue signaling and to kiss doctor ass.

I walked in to the Y locker room the other day and there is ONE locker with a giant sign on it. Something like “this locker if for Dr Smith and his generous support for (some children’s thing). I hear a lot about Dr. Smith (not his real name). He does knee surgeries (my girlfriend works with him). He is relentless in pushing them through at breakneck speed, and gets monumentally pissed off if anyone slows him down. He’s well into his 60’s and has probably been pulling in $500K++ / year for decades. All because the insurance / medical industry allows him to overcharge to the extreme. And then we have to fawn over the fact that he kicked a few dollars to a children’s org.

LBD said...

Plastic surgeons do the Third World charity trips when they are starting out. It combines virtue signaling with the opportunity to get a lot of practice doing many surgeries in a short time, to hone their skills, in a malpractice suit free environment. It's a lot like doing emergency medicine in the inner city to gain experience with trauma surgery (knives and gunshot wounds).

You rarely see the older doctors on these trips unless they are mentoring a younger colleague. Once established in a lucrative plastic surgery practice it is no longer of interest to them.

High Arka said...

Ahh, it brings a smile to my face to see some people who aren't busy fellating doctors. I hope you guys saying those things are young--once you get older, more and more people realize that the doctors, even the young ones, are a vital part of the entire scheme. Overbook, overbill, make-believe surgery, pharmaceutical marketing, nonexistent customer service, et cetera. Hang on to your attitudes and you will be in agreeable company if you make it to your 70s-90s (except for knee & cataract people, who often remain perceived as humanitarians if that's the only major thing you've ever had done).

Having minority doctors has helped out. When white people get screwed over by a distinguished looking 55-year-old white professor of medicine, they tend to react differently than when they get screwed over in the exact same way by a 25-year-old Indian who has trouble pronouncing his words. It takes off the blinders, kind of like calling Microsoft tech support helps people indirectly realize what crappy products the company produces.

Anonymous said...

A natural beauty was Priscilla Presley. Her looks were negatively affected by plastic surgery. To me, it is a shame that some of these aging beauties refuse to age gracefully, doing the minimum as far as plastic surgery procedures goes.

- Susan

John Craig said...

Susan --
She, and plenty of others, are cautionary tales. But the mistake that most of them made was to keep having more and more operations, to the point where they became disfigured.

Anonymous said...

Regarding doing medical missionary work, I have a sister who LOVES going to foreign countries (mainly in South America). She is a registered nurse and coordinates these medical missionary trips (in her spare time), going at least every year or so (having done this for years and years). The people in these foreign countries receive free medical and dental care. I have no desire to go on any of her trips, simply not having the desire to participate. One woman who ran an organization that received medical help told her that some volunteers come for the right reasons and others, she's questioned why they bothered to do medical missionary work.

- Susan

Anonymous said...

I read the about the vitiligo:
One of his sons shows signs.
He started showing signs on his fingertips when young.

I wonder if he decided to just not bleach all his skin and live with it, he could have become a spokesman rather than make people think he wished to be white or something weird like that, and that would be less weird.

Why did he go so far with the plastic surgery though? He could have just stopped at his first and stuck the way he was in the later 20th century than look even weirder. He was fine like that.

Why? Do you have a clue cuz I don't. Maybe a psychological addiction to it?


John Craig said...

Ga --
I'd have to go with some sort of psychological addiction as the answer. It wasn't just the vitiligo, btw, and I'm not even sure I completely buy that he had that. Anyway, the vitiligo doesn't explain why he had his hair straightened, his nose narrowed, the implant put into his chin, and so on.