Read an Excerpt
Change Your Looks, Change Your Life
Quick Fixes and Cosmetic Surgery Solutions for Looking Younger, Feeling Healthier, and Living Better
Getting to "Yes": Making the Decision
Now that you have a sense of what cosmetic surgery can offer, let's explore why you picked up this book.
Take a long, honest look in the mirror. You can do it for real (turn on that harsh overhead light and peel off some clothing), but my bet is you've done it often enough to know what it is about your body or face that you'd like to change.
What is it, for you? Maybe you've caught sight of that wattle that blurs your chin line (or, worse, that hangs over your crisp white collar) too many times. Maybe it's the crow's-feet that grab makeup and make a spray of fright lines at the corners of your eyes. Maybe it's your nose or earlobes, both of which sag as we age. Maybe it's your "Hi Janes" (the fleshy underside of the arm that continues to wiggle after you've stopped waving hello to your friend Jane); do they make you avoid wearing your favorite sleeveless blouse or halter top? Maybe it's your breasts -- how far down has gravity pulled them? Maybe it's your stomach -- are you willing to expose your midriff? (Perhaps you're currently carrying too much weight, once carried too much weight and your skin just hasnt got the message yet, or were never able to pull things up and together after your last pregnancy.) Maybe it's your hips: Is there no A-line skirt out there that can hide hips that bear witness to every Krispy Kreme you've wolfed down? Maybe it's those pesky spider veins, crisscrossing the backs of your legs like road maps of the East Coast. I could go on and on.
Perhaps you recognized yourself in one of these complaints, or more than one. If misery loves company, then at least you'll be happy to know that virtually everyone sees a problem or three when looking in the mirror.
That's the bad news. But we're positive thinkers here, and we're going to leave harsh reality behind. Instead, let's conjure that wonderful phrase again: "What if?"
Change Is Within Your Power
What if you could wave a wand and change just one part of your body -- what would it be? (Forget whether it's practical, reasonable, or defensible, or whether anyone -- including your own judgmental self -- would "approve.") Now ask yourself something else: How many times in the last week have you thought about your nose, or crow's-feet, or wattle, or saddlebags? How many times in the last day? How many times have you thought about that "flaw" in the last five years?
Now ask yourself how your life might have been different, in big ways or small, in the last five years if you hadn't been self-conscious about this part of yourself. How might your attitude about yourself have been different? How might this have had a ripple effect on the rest of your life?
The way we see ourselves and believe we're perceived by others is tied up with the way we look. Call it shallow, label it politically incorrect, swear that real beauty is on the inside ... but, like it or not, looks matter. Beauty has always been a powerful stimulus and motivator: Throughout history, across all cultures, people have loaded themselves down with uncomfortable jewelry, submitted to body piercing and tattooing, worn outrageous wigs, and squeezed themselves into constricting corsets, clothes, and shoes, all in slavish pursuit of their culture's ideal of beauty. Today, in every area of our lives -- at work, while socializing, in the public eye -- attractive people consistently get more attention than their acne-scarred, overweight, receding-chinned counterparts. What's worse, our culture is obsessed with celebrity, and the mass media multiply and magnify examples of human "perfection" every day. In such an environment, how tough is it to "just be yourself" and like it? (In a recent People magazine poll, an anemic 10 percent of women said they were satisfied with their bodies.) Add to all this an aging population with expectations (realistic or not) of prolonged youth. It's a marvel that everyone but two or three well-adjusted supermodels isn't wracked by feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
The pressure is often felt most intensely in the workplace. Studies show that traditionally good-looking people are perceived as smarter and friendlier than others; they make more money, and are five times more likely to be hired. But this isn't a recent phenomenon: Even the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle once said that "Beauty is better than all letters of recommendation." With the continuing influx of women and corporate downsizing making work environments more competitive than ever, there's increased pressure to look polished -- and youthful. One of my patients, a thirty-eight-year-old publishing executive on whom I performed a neck and forehead lift, describes the pressure this way:
"In my profession I constantly interact with people, and I believe maintaining my looks gives me an edge. I'm not talking about being movie-star beautiful -- who can be? -- but I feel that appearing well put together, energetic, and youthful earns people's respect and attention, and ultimately gives me greater credibility. I am convinced looks make you money, so I think of surgery as an investment. Plastic surgery isn't just about beauty. It's about power."
"Plastic surgery isn't just about beauty. It's about power." By allowing you to make subtle but important changes to your looks when and how you want, cosmetic surgery is a valuable, low-risk investment in your future health, happiness, and well-being.Change Your Looks, Change Your Life
Quick Fixes and Cosmetic Surgery Solutions for Looking Younger, Feeling Healthier, and Living Better. Copyright © by Michelle Copeland. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.