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Past a certain age, to paraphrase Catherine Deneuve, it’s either your fanny or your face.
August 6, 2008 7:03 AM   Subscribe

How Plastic Surgery Can Give An Older Woman The Face Of A Baby:
She looked a little like … Madonna? Strange, I know, since Madonna and my friend have little in common, at least physically. But when I saw the Big Ciccone on the cover of Vanity Fair a couple of months later, I couldn’t help but notice the similarities: the Mount Rushmore cheekbones, the angular jawline, the smoothed forehead, the plumped skin, the heartlike shape of the face. Their faces didn’t seem pulled tight in that typical face-lift way; they seemed pushed out. Looking at Madonna, I kept thinking of the British expression for reconditioning a saddle: having it "restuffed." Perhaps that’s where she got the idea to have some work done. After the hunt, Madge dismounted her trusty steed and thought, My saddle needs restuffing. And, by George, so does my face!

Another excerpt:
I decided to e-mail Liz Rosenberg, Madonna’s publicist since fuh-evah (and no relation to the doctor), to see if she would have lunch with me and talk about celebrities and plastic surgery. "Absofuckinlutely," she wrote back. "Though why you think anyone I represent has done anything to their faces is beyond me. Ha-ha. Getting any artist besides Joan Rivers and Kathy Griffin to go on record about the subject is not easy. Of course one of the great quotes came from my gal Cher, who said in an interview, 'If I want to put my tits on my back it’s my business.' Whatever Madonna has had done—and I really don’t know—she looks truly amazing."
posted by beaucoupkevin (47 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Old women struggling to look twee. . . albeit a weathered alligator handbag kind of twee. Following in the wrinkly twee facesteps of Phyllis Diller and Carol Channing.
posted by isopraxis at 7:19 AM on August 6, 2008


Weird, she's sporting a female version of McCain's asymmetrical walnut-stuffed cheek.
posted by mullingitover at 7:20 AM on August 6, 2008


Weird, she's sporting a female version of McCain's asymmetrical walnut-stuffed cheek.

The dude has cancer. Don't be a dick.
posted by nasreddin at 7:22 AM on August 6, 2008


"wrinkly twee facesteps"
posted by DU at 7:25 AM on August 6, 2008


nasreddin writes "The dude has cancer. Don't be a dick."

From his wiki page:
In May 2008, McCain's campaign released his medical records, and he was described as appearing cancer-free, having a strong heart and in general good health.
Are you calling WALNUTS! a liar?
posted by mullingitover at 7:26 AM on August 6, 2008 [2 favorites]


In May 2008, McCain's campaign released his medical records, and he was described as appearing cancer-free, having a strong heart and in general good health.

He had a melanoma removed from his cheek, and that's residual scarring, from what I understand.
posted by nasreddin at 7:28 AM on August 6, 2008


Past a certain age, to paraphrase Catherine Deneuve, it’s either your fanny or your face.

I think we need an international summit to explain the meaning of this word to our American friends. My poor grandmother from Yorkshire nearly had an aneurysm when she heard the phrase 'fanny pack'.
posted by jimmythefish at 7:37 AM on August 6, 2008 [8 favorites]


"And hilariously enough, he has a crooked beak—he needs a nose job!"

HAHAHAHAHAHahahahaha the cosmetic surgeon needs a nose job. Thats HILARIOUS. Nice writing, NY Mag.
posted by rmless at 7:51 AM on August 6, 2008


Having read that, I feel like I've just stood in a really long line at the supermarket.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:53 AM on August 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


Why would anyone want to look like a baby? I have a baby and he looks like a smooth-skinned grumpy old man (but in the best possible way).
posted by drezdn at 7:53 AM on August 6, 2008 [6 favorites]


Is any of this really new? Yes, the techniques have changed over the decades, but the drive to appear as youthful/healthy/sexy as possible for as long as possible has been around forever.

The only interesting thing I find is that Botox has moved in the last decade from "slightly shameful" to "standard procedure" and is now in the same camp as teeth whitening or using tanning beds or laser eye surgery.
posted by Paid In Full at 7:53 AM on August 6, 2008


If I'm not in a dentist office waiting room, I'm not going to read New York magazine.

(and that doesn't look like a "baby face".)
posted by JBennett at 8:14 AM on August 6, 2008


Don't be a hater. There's nothing wrong with wanting to stay a hottie.

But Melanie Griffith, Meg Ryan and Cher are scary. Maybe they should have waited for the newer, better techniques. It seems their attempts to stay young and working backfired. They look strange and are unemployed.
posted by shoesietart at 8:22 AM on August 6, 2008


Reading about cosmetic surgery is tiresome, thinking about it is nauseating, but damn it, I could look at galleries of Before & After photos all day!
posted by adamms222 at 8:26 AM on August 6, 2008 [9 favorites]


Psychologists and anthropologists have long tried to nail down what makes us perceive one face as beautiful and another not

a) Not looking like your forehead is stapled to your butt
b) Not having to hide from birthday party clowns for fear they might try to tie your lips into a poodle
c) Being able to produce facial expressions. Twitching doesn't count.

Nothing wrong with wanting to look good, but damn.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:27 AM on August 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


So many rich and well-connected people (read: celebrities) have had terrible, disfiguring plastic surgery that I have trouble seeing it as anything other than a desperate gamble for the common man. If they can't get it right, we're all in for a very bumpy ride.
posted by prefpara at 8:31 AM on August 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


That lead line made me envision an elderly woman with an infant's face grafted on, like some sort of horrific Silent-Hill-esque composite homunculus. Now imagine my disappointment when I read the article...
posted by FatherDagon at 8:32 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


And dude, her face could look seventeen again, but the hands of the ninety-seven year old crone will always give her away.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:42 AM on August 6, 2008


I used to work for a company whose owner was..well, a certain well known corporate raider. At a plant opening, he was there with his wife. Nice looking gal for the plus-50 set. Then I saw her hands....oh, my god. Yeah, no hiding that.
posted by notsnot at 8:51 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's nothing wrong with wanting to stay a hottie.

I agree. But I wish people would understand that there is nothing wrong with a few signs of age, in fact I find some people get quite a bit more attractive once they get some wrinkles. It helps to distinguish them from the legions of smooth faced children that are constantly presented as the standard of good looks.
posted by quin at 9:09 AM on August 6, 2008 [3 favorites]


Reading about cosmetic surgery is tiresome, thinking about it is nauseating, but damn it, I could look at galleries of Before & After photos all day!

That's my reaction, too.

I don't tend to meet many people with visible plastic surgery in real life (either the people I meet aren't getting it, or they are having good enough work done that it is invisible to the uneducated eye). But this summer there I keep meeting middle-aged couples where the wife has had big implants and sometimes visible work on her face; the guy is almost always a schlub (but sometimes has had hair work). I wish I was a photographer and could take portraits of each of these couples — they are really interesting to look at.

Was this recent article about bridezillas making their bridesmaids get plastic surgery the subject of a FPP?
posted by Forktine at 9:15 AM on August 6, 2008


the hands of the ninety-seven year old crone will always give her away.

They're working on that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:20 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


yes, it was... (I posted it :))
posted by NikitaNikita at 9:25 AM on August 6, 2008


that very invasive plastic surgery such as the classic face lift has been unpopular among those who can afford the much more expensive newer procedures is not really news, this has been going on for years -- most celebrities choose better, the Meg Ryan lips are just an aberration for people as rich as she is.

cutting up someone's face and stitching it back into shape is something Jane Sixpack does on Dr- 90210 on some TV channel's dime because she cannot afford it -- richer, more visible women wouldn't get caught dead doing that shit. Angelina Jolie -- who's, interestingly, 33, is the perfect example of subtle, good, more advanced plastic surgery. The Grey's Anatomy guy, too.
posted by matteo at 9:31 AM on August 6, 2008


Don't be a hater. There's nothing wrong with wanting to stay a hottie.

Staying a hottie has nothing to do with cosmetic surgery. It's a shame that Hollywood (mostly) dictates that view.

So is twee the new steampunk?
posted by SteveInMaine at 9:31 AM on August 6, 2008


(interestingly, a big motivating factor for the shift was that actresses and acotrs and politicians and other people heavily exposed in the media couldn't afford looking simply tight-as-drums, like the old Joker character on the TV show, and losing movement in their face -- they needed stuff that was subtler, but they still needed to look younger and fresher. hence, demand in the right quarters created a new wave in plastic surgery. if they can afford it, go nuts. Maybe, just maybe, this will mean that fine actresses won't lose their leading lady status as soon as they turn 35
posted by matteo at 9:34 AM on August 6, 2008


Some people age and it is beautiful. Others require help. The difficulty lies in understanding which is which. This is compounded by people who make profits from convincing others that they would benefit from 'treatment'.

I happened to hear or read recently that I could actually massage improvements into my ageing face. The amazing thing is, it worked, and it worked quickly. I was developing some serious creases in that line that goes down from the nose to either side of the mouth. They are much less pronounced now.

I'll admit, I am vane enough that I have stood before the mirror and pulled my face about, considering the nature of the age lines. It is quite easy to see that a little more youthful an appearance could be gained by a little pull here and there. If I had the physique to match, I might even consider it! LOL. Somehow though, I manage, at least from the armpits up, to still look better than I did at 17. (well, truth is, most men do that, anyway).

One really can't condemn celebrity women for seeking the aid of the surgeon. They do have professional pressures that simply don't apply to ordinary folks. Perhaps it is the tastes of the casting people, or possibly that of the masses, that has to be called into question.

At the same time, I certainly enjoy the catty remarks generated by any discussion of cosmetic plastic surgery related to aging. It is as if younger people somehow feel threatened by an older woman's (and it's almost always women) vanity.

Meow on.
posted by Goofyy at 9:35 AM on August 6, 2008


He had a melanoma removed from his cheek, and that's residual scarring, from what I understand.

No. The asymmetry and disfigurement predate that.

McCain not only was injured in a fire on the deck of the carrier USS Forrestal and then, after getting severely injured crashing his Skyhawk, had his face bashed in repeatedly in a North Vietnamese prison. Not to mention the six years toll malnutrition took on his body.

So making fun of his looks is even more fucked in the head.

But I got no problem making fun of the looks of people that are vain enough to think they can halt the natural marks of time with countless and expensive voluntary surgeries and end then up looking like the the Crypt Keeper with a white trash bag pulled taught over their face. Fuck these people.
posted by tkchrist at 9:53 AM on August 6, 2008


While neoteny is not necessarily a physical state experienced by humans, paedomorphic characteristics in women are widely acknowledged as desirable by men.
posted by nickyskye at 10:01 AM on August 6, 2008


NY Mag : Writing awful trend pieces are our business, why you want to read them is yours
posted by Afroblanco at 10:16 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's interesting that we seem to want plastic surgery to make people look strange and scary. It feels like cheating and we want cheaters to get what's coming to them.
posted by the jam at 10:26 AM on August 6, 2008 [5 favorites]


Maybe Dr. David Rosenberg could give Jennifer Grey her original nose back so she can have a career again.
posted by stavrogin at 11:10 AM on August 6, 2008


As a pudgy dimpled girl with a pudgy dimpled grandma, I figure I know what I've got coming and I think KEEPING THE PUDGE is the way to go. Good old fashioned, brownie-bakin', bed-shakin' granny on the loose.

But going over this page was fun. Trying to decide who I most resemble. I'm actually thinking (pudgy) Cheryl Tiegs... naaah.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:37 AM on August 6, 2008


This is all so uninteresting and focuses on keeping attractive people attractive. I find the whole article slightly condescending, along with the idea that plastic surgery is exclusively for the buff bods and rich of West Hollywood or Upper West Side. Well this is NYMag so I'm not surprised in the least, but I really don't care that Angelina Jolie is able to get more money, for long, because she's constantly 23.

Making a 9 stay a 9 is uninteresting. Give me a guy who is a 4 and turn him into a decent 7. I always had the feeling that attractiveness was sort of like wealth, a lot of people on the high end get a lot, while the rest of us kind of grope around on the floor.

I mean you'll get a ton of people calling Thom Yorke hot, but let's be honest, it'd be so much easier to run around with our shirts off looking like Matthew Mcconaughey. Push yourselves harder plastic surgeons!
posted by geoff. at 12:30 PM on August 6, 2008


So making fun of his looks is even more fucked in the head.

So can we talk about his freakish wife instead?
posted by kimdog at 1:07 PM on August 6, 2008


Demi Moore used to be really beautiful but she seemed to have a lot of surgery and her face isn't nearly as pretty, even if she does have a "sculpted jawline." I understand fighting age, but too many people lose their own faces in pursuit of youth.
posted by theora55 at 2:10 PM on August 6, 2008


30 grand for a facelift? Wow. I mean, I live in one of the plastic capitals of the planet, and in the back of my mind I always had the "well...maybe at menopause" plastic surgery option...but I can't imagine spending 30k on .

Reckon I'll just have to be plumped up the same way my mother and her mother, and all the mothers before them did it...dessert! Woo!

We can all be beautiful...just grab yourself a fork, and help yourself to the peach cobbler.
posted by dejah420 at 2:24 PM on August 6, 2008


All right goofy, I'll bite. What is this famous massage that reduces lines?
posted by Maias at 3:14 PM on August 6, 2008


So can we talk about his freakish wife instead?

Hey. Knock yourself out.
posted by tkchrist at 3:30 PM on August 6, 2008


My 7th grade science teacher was ahead of the curve. I remember he mentioned one day in class that, over time, the best way to stay young looking was to stay very thin while you're young and very, very slowly gain weight as you get older to fill out your face.

I have no idea why he told us this.
posted by the jam at 3:44 PM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]


"I can't feel my face...Am I smiling? I can't tell, Steve--I can't tell."
posted by kirkaracha at 5:08 PM on August 6, 2008


I don't understand our society's fear of aging. I mean, c'mon getting old rocks: you no longer have to keep up with things, everybody thinks you're useless so nobody expects anything from you*, and best of all you can be grumpy and smell bad and nobody will notice, let alone care.

*there's also that subset of people who think all old people are 'wise,' but the upside there is that you can tell them any crazy shit you want and they'll believe it. I'm so digging this old guy thing
posted by jonmc at 5:43 PM on August 6, 2008


Not having to hide from birthday party clowns for fear they might try to tie your lips into a poodle

Oh.. oh my God. THAT IS THE MOST PERFECT THING TO SAY, EVER! Well done, sir.
posted by DecemberBoy at 5:45 PM on August 6, 2008


As a pudgy dimpled girl with a pudgy dimpled grandma, I figure I know what I've got coming and I think KEEPING THE PUDGE is the way to go.

I think you're on to something. I've noticed myself that women who force themselves to be rail-thin seem to to age more quickly than those who don't.
posted by Jess the Mess at 9:14 PM on August 6, 2008


Ha, this is so funny. You're going to get old, no matter what. Unless you die first. I'll take my pudgy post-menopausal body and my wrinkly face over death any day. Not to mention my "I wish I knew then what I know now" attitude.
posted by wv kay in ga at 9:57 PM on August 6, 2008


jonmc I don't understand our society's fear of aging.

Because age is accumulated damage. Living for a longer period of time is great. Learning new things, having new experiences, all great. Gradually rotting from the innards out, accumulating plaques in the brain, cancers on the skin, senses failing, sense of reality failing, looking down at one's hands and they're different than how they should be, looking in the mirror and seeing a face less and less and less one's own ... I'll pass on that, if possible.

Surgical procedures such as those described are nothing more than a coat of paint over rotten wood. This will do nothing to hold back aging, it will only make the subject fall into the uncanny valley. True rejuvenation isn't here yet; if it ever does happen, it will be more akin to regeneration. Growing back all those damaged parts, at a sub-microscopic level - and not stimulating cancers in the process. Early "rejuvenation" might amount to skin abrasion and regrowing in an electrified bath of chemicals (like a Bacta tank); whether this can be done to vital organs is questionable, and even if that works, applying it to the brain is a different question again.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 10:53 PM on August 6, 2008


So making fun of his looks is even more fucked in the head.

So can we talk about his freakish wife instead?


Yeah, at least he doesn't slather on the makeup like ...

oh, never mind.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 8:01 AM on August 7, 2008


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