When people imagine someone who has had plastic surgery, they often imagine a woman with pushed up, too-round breasts and a stretched, unnatural face. There is something sad about her. It is sad that she “needs” it. It is sad that she is vain enough to get it. She lacks character, she has the wrong priorities, she is admitting defeat. She is, above all, superficial.
No one can ever guess by looking at me.
The end result is nothing like the stereotypes, so people say things in front of me about women who get plastic surgery. Those things are never nice. Sometimes I just listen, too uncomfortable to chime in with my own story. It’s not a story I like to tell. It’s an awkward story about awkwardness. It implies the kind of self-dislike that feels like a messy secret. It’s inherently painful. It’s also a story with a happy ending.
It’s not just me — I know a lot of women who have chosen cosmetic surgery. Young women who I was friends with for years before they mentioned their breast reduction. Older women who finally whispered something about their face lift, confessional, nervous. Lipo, eyelids, jaw, breasts increased or decreased—some of the surgeries sound (and are) more medically necessary than others and others are obviously purely cosmetic. Like mine. The modern Jewish woman’s procedure of choice: rhinoplasty. The one with the worst name. Rhino. Great. I always have to picture the damn animal clomping around with its massive snout and horn. That’s me!
(I shouldn’t be so hard on the rhino– it’s really kind of noble looking. source)
In my family alone, I can think of three other women who have had nose jobs. Their profiles were whispered about at Passover and Chanukah gatherings. “Did you notice . . .?” I never had.