Are You KIDDING Me With This???

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Really, Clint?

I realized today that our society's obsession with plastic surgery had gone too far when I saw this side-by-side of Clint Eastwood. I don't generally have an issue with plastic surgery. I mostly understand why celebrities feel the need to get it. They live in a world where appearance is often the single deciding factor on whether or not they have careers. It sucks, but it is what it is, and if they feel like it gives them an edge, then whatever. I won't judge.

I also understand why Average Joe or Jane feels the need to get it. Sometimes you feel like everything about you perfectly expresses who you are inside with the exception of this one thing. And if changing that one thing is all you need to feel at one with yourself, then I applaud you for going after it. I won't judge you, either.

But the unfortunate side effect of all of this happy acceptance of plastic surgery and those who get it is that we seem to have made it undesirable to age in any kind of visual way. Never mind that wrinkles can give you character or grey hair can give you gravitas. We're all about Youth! Fertility! Vitality! And we turn our heads away from anything resembling Advanced Age! Maturity! Experience!

That Clint Eastwood is buying into this mentality particularly disturbs me for some reason. He has (had?) one of those faces that tells a story, even when it's perfectly composed. The squinty eyes? The rough, craggy complexion? I knew what to expect from that Clint. I liked that Clint. I didn't love him, but then, I've NEVER loved him. I just liked him. And I thought the more he aged, the more character he had, and the more he grew on me. I don't even know what to think about new, wide-eyed, smooth-faced Clint. He scares the shit out of me and not in an "Are you feeling lucky, punk?" way but in an "I'm going to suck out your soul to smooth out my crows' feet" way.

And if Clint felt so pressured to "stay young" by smoothing out his features and getting an eye lift? Clint? The essence of masculinity to a generation of Dirty Harry worshippers? What does that say about our values? Is it really so bad to grow older?

I just think it's a shame that we seem to be losing touch with what makes people so beautiful. We think it's artificial youth. But what is so spectacular about youth? You don't know anything when you're young. You think you do, but let's be realistic: who here wasn't full of shit when they were young? Raise of hands? That's what I thought. It's when you grow and you mature and you age you get some experience behind you that you start blossoming. So when you smooth out the expressions on your face with a needle full of Botox (Nicole Kidman, I'm looking at you) and carefully cover the gray in your hair and go under a surgeon's knife to nip or tuck every line, you're erasing everything that you gained along with all of that hard-won maturity. You're erasing the very things that make you the most beautiful.

So I may be in the minority, but I'm going to let time march across my face unimpeded. And I'm going to embrace my gray hair. (I only have one at the moment, but Oscar does make sure to check that it's still there and to see if it's breeding every time we go to the salon.) And if Turtle gets teased someday for having a mom whose forehead actually moves, I'm going to dry his tears and consider it a victory. Because when I get to the end of my days, I want people to be able to look at my face and know one thing: That bitch lived a colorful life.


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