My house is squeaky clean today. My Brazilian cleaners are as fastidious about creating a meticulous house as they are about creating a perfectly sculpted body. The first plastic surgery for "Julia" was a nose job. Before she had the surgery she constantly complained to me that her nose was too fat and round. She wanted a leaner line, a more elegant profile. So she set up an appointment with a plastic surgeon specializing in rhinoplasty.
It didn't work out so well. She had difficulty breathing. Although the plastic surgeon was reputable he didn't get it right the first time. She went back for several surgeries, missed work and was in a lot of pain. After all that her nose didn't look that different to me and I couldn't see how it changed her looks. But she began to wear more make-up, did a Brazilian treatment on her hair so it was straight and flowing and generally started glamming herself up more -- albeit just to clean my house. She obviously felt better about herself and took more care with her appearance.
I've been appreciative of her sense of detail when it comes to making my kitchen sink sparkle. Clean makes me happy, so I have a sense of how putting things in order, making them look and feel as you want them to produces Endorphins and makes everything seem right in the world. So I get how this extends to your body. When I look in the mirror I'm pleased with the curve of my shoulder, the definition of my triceps. Though I've always thought that my butt was too big, I'm starting to see its merits...in soft lighting. My muscles and roundness make me feel strong and capable. But how far to go with this molding of the self from the outside to shift what's on the inside?
Last week Julia returned from Brazil where she had gotten breast implants. The plastic surgeon had given her a choice between softer implants that might sag when she got older or firmer ones that held their shape. She chose the firmer ones as she wanted them to look good forever given the cost: $5000, which I guess is inexpensive compared to American breast implants that plastic surgeons here use.
But I felt the things and the experience was about as sensual as petting one of those hairless dogs. The word "rock solid" came to mind. The good news, she explained, was that she didn't need to wear a bra. They stood up on their own. That they did. Right in your face screaming: fake! And the breasts are just a first step. She wants thicker thighs, a rounder butt and bigger calves.
Thicker thighs? Frequently Julia admired my chunky thighs and butt bemoaning the fact that hers were just too skinny. I confess, the only time I was truly grateful for the chubbiness of my legs and behind was when my friend Kerman was dying of cancer. He had dwindled down to less than 100 pounds. One day, near the end, when we went to visit him during the time he had hospice care, his wife Rose and I hugged. During our heartfelt hug she inadvertently grabbed my rear end and thighs. Tears ran down her face and she cried, "It's so good to feel handfuls of fat" or something like that. I got the gist of it. Enough health to go around for all of us.
Here's the ironic thing though. Julia isn't blessed with my extra cushiness anywhere. She doesn't have enough fat on her body to get the kind of plumpness she needs to pad her thighs and bum. The Brazilian plastic surgeon said she had to gain at least 15 pounds so they could distribute the fat where she wanted it.
She started out at 5' 1" 98 pounds, size zero. Now she's got to eat five meals a day in order to pork up enough to get the surgery done in March. After the death of the model, Solange Magnano, former Miss Argentina, from the complications of plastic surgery "intended to improve the shape of her buttocks" I would have thought caution would be the word of the day. But once Julia sets her mind on something she gets it. Given that people are paying for padding that I was born with, I'm starting to think that my plump "onion" is worth something more than a glance or two. Perhaps the fact that I fill out my pants might make me feel a little lucky.
Susan Harrow is the author of
Sell Yourself Without Selling Your Soul. She runs a
Media Consultancy where she helps everyone from Fortune 500 CEOs to
celebrity chefs, entrepreneurs to authors grow their business through media
coaching and the power of PR. For more information please