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Go ahead, stick your chin out

Published May 05. 2012 09:01AM


The latest plastic-surgery craze is the chin implant. I learned this from the evening news the other day. "Chin augmentation surgery" is the correct term. According to Fox News, "A total of 10, 593 men had the operation done in 2011, a 76 percent increase over the prior year, and 10,087 women had the procedure, a 66 percent rise…." The operation is most popular among the over-40 crowd. That's because "The chin and jawline are among the first areas to show signs of aging," according to the president of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. Why do it? Some speculate that people want to look better on Skype.

Risks inherent in a chin implant are said to include aesthetic discontent (like some of Hollywood's botox babes, e.g., Cher and Nicole Kidman, who ought to be discontented even if they're not); hematoma (a little pocket of blood… yuck); a mispositioned implant (yikes); and extended numbness (which actually might come in handy in a bar fight). Me… when I got old, I just let my beard grow… no infection, no mispositioning (so long as I trim it), and no numbness.

Then there's the feeding-tube diet for brides. For $1,500 the doctor slides a feeding tube into the bride's nostril and all the way down to her tummy. Through that tube the doc pumps a mere 800 calories a day. The fun lasts for a total of ten days. Young women, who have subjected themselves to this torture, report up to 10 pounds of weight loss at the end of the ordeal. One blogger, calling him or herself "Kirby" comments, "My message goes out to the grooms. Your woman is crazy. If she's going to these lengths in order to lose a little weight to look good for everyone else, she clearly has some other deep seeded issues. It's simple. Run, don't walk, RUN out the door and DON'T get married." I'm with you, Kirby, whoever you are. Does anybody think that these brides are ever going to go through this again, once they've bagged their prey at the altar?

The scariest new "enhancement" technique has to be leg lengthening. This is a Chinese trend. The procedure requires months in the hospital and tens of thousands of dollars. One five-foot-three woman is quoted on the Internet to the effect that "I want to be 5' 6" or 5' 7". Just being tall makes me feel much confidence. I'm always jealous when I see tall girls walking around." She adds that she's willing to take a year off to achieve her goal.

During that year in hell, she will have holes drilled into her leg bones and screws inserted to stabilize adjustable braces. Then the surgeons will saw each leg bone in half below the knees and use the braces to stretch the bones apart. New bone (they hope) will gradually grow to fill the gaps. If your hair isn't standing on end after reading this paragraph, you're a better man (or woman) than me.

Another wonder of our 21st century world is stomach stapling. I don't know one person who's had this done who hasn't had gastro-intestinal problems and who hasn't gained the weight back. No matter: a movement is afoot to get this procedure covered by health insurance, as a treatment for pre-diabetic conditions. How about "PDF" therapy instead? (Put Down the Fork!)

And, of course, there are tummy tucks, breast enhancements, breast reductions (for men, too), and liposuction.

Me? I'll settle for good health and a long life: old and ugly won't bother me. I'll let the rest of you stick your chins out.


We hear about the unreasonable and unrealistic beauty standards women are faced with all the time. It's not an uncommon topic of conversation, and yet little has been done to change how women are portrayed in entertainment and the ways in which girls and women are affected by those portrayals. Even those of us who are aware of the ubiquity of airbrushing and plastic surgery often can't help but feel like we're not measuring up when thumbing through the pages of Vogue or watching the latest Megan Fox movie.

But while this is upsetting, none of it is new or surprising. What I do find surprising is the fact that men are beginning to adhere to stricter beauty standards as well. Don't get me wrong I was a little excited when I realized that men might finally be getting a taste of their own medicine. But hear me out.

Jason Segel, star of "The Five Year Engagement," recently said during an appearance on "The Late Show" that the movie studio forced him to lose 35 pounds for his role. "I was told that it had to be conceivable that Emily Blunt would ever choose me to be her husband," he explained with a laugh and a self-effacing shrug. Because obviously a slender woman like Blunt would never, ever marry a slightly chunkier man.

Apparently gone are the days of skinny wives and fat husbands, a la "King of Queens" and other sitcoms where the hot wife/fat husband dynamic has been a staple for ages. Not that I mind seeing it go.

But here's the kicker: Segel isn't even what I would call chunky. Standing tall at six-foot-four, the 35-pound loss is barely evident to the naked eye. And yet, to the studio head at Universal Pictures, it seemed inconceivable inconceivable! that a woman would deign to marry one of the funniest, most charming men currently working in comedy.

This seems indicative of a larger trend to me: forcing men into narrower, more restrictive standards of beauty, much like the ones women have been boxed into, well, forever. And while my first instinct was somewhat less empathetic than I might like to admit, my second thought was: objectification and low self esteem for all! Yay?

It comes down to this: we need to be promoting healthy bodies and minds first and above all. No manner of plastic surgery can get you there at least not without some serious introspection and probably some professional therapy and despite what Hollywood may tell you, being stick-thin does not necessarily make you healthier or more desirable. But since that seems to be the angle they're going to continue to peddle, we need to focus on looking elsewhere for our role models, and help the next generation do the same.

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