Hugh Reilly: I’m no work of art but spare me the knife
Surprisingly, given my childhood, I have no neuroses regarding my physical appearance. Whenever I pick up my octogenarian mater from her coffin-dodging club, she cackles and almost buckles as she regales fellow Immortals with a “humorous” incident that occurred hours after I’d entered the world.
Swaddled inside an incubator, I was sleeping off my jaundice oblivious to the fact that a passing nurse had commented to my mother: “That’s certainly a boy you’ve had. He has a coconut-shaped head.” I smile at her audience of guffawing Walking Dead, desperately trying to ignore voices in my brain impelling me to bring their last days on earth to an abrupt end.
Sadly, at the tender age of ten, the hairs around the crown of the coconut fell out, giving me an unwanted small tonsure. Supportive classmates thought it character-building to christen me “the mad monk”. Worse, the growth spurt that had affected my ears had not been matched by a proportionate enlargement of my skull. Perhaps weary of calling me by my monastic moniker, my friends rebranded me “Mr Potato Head”. (Of course, I had the last laugh when, much later in life, I grew a moustache, put on a homburg and got the job of stunt double for Mr Potato Head in Toy Story 3).
When I retired, in 2011, my mother was aghast to learn that I was considering cosmetic surgery to pin back my ears. I phoned a private hospital in her presence to ascertain how much of my lump sum would be required to reduce the severe bouts of lug-flapping I experienced on windy days. “Only £3,000,” I purred, stroking each of my three chins. I have to confess that my naiveté regarding the world of cosmetic surgery surfaced when I inquired if the procedure was a tad like laser-surgery for cataracts where only one eye is done at a time. The consultant reassured me that both ears would be done the same day.
I decided against mutilating my body in pursuit of beauty but, according to a report in Scotland on Sunday, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of middle-aged men going under the knife to regain lost youth or to give themselves an edge in the competitive workplace. Apparently, insecure male saddos are waddling to private clinics such as Confidence Cosmetic, a name that oozes heavy irony. Vivek Sivarajan, a butcher, sorry, surgeon at this cash-devouring temple patronised by opulent pot-bellied businessmen, reduces belt notches through liposuction. He also does a mean “man boobs” removal to decrease the number of gorillas in our midst.
Along at The Private Clinic, Dr Dennis Wolf took time out from some serious scalpel-wielding to inform the public that looking great was now more affordable, a snip. A popular technique is a procedure called Vaser, whereby ultrasound beams liquefy fat that can then be sucked out. (Apparently, hoovering out blubber is best done by female medics as male quacks have been known to miss out the corners). Dr Wolf perceives liposuction to be a “kick start” or more properly, a kick up the recently tucked backside on route to a new, erm, healthy lifestyle.
I abhor the cult of anatomical aestheticism that has resulted in white smoke coming out of clinic chimneys whenever excess skin from nip and tucks is being cremated. The crows’ feet around my peepers bestow a gravitas that money cannot buy (I used to call them laughter lines but nothing’s ever been that funny). Living in Spain at the moment, my paunch has not proved an obstacle to engaging in conversation with Elisa and Pilar, my sexagenarian amigas who are helping me to stutter in S-S-Spanish.
Having cut the last pound of flesh from the female gender, it was inevitable that cosmetic clinics would target the largely untapped male inadequacies market. However, chubby blokes who choose to watch DVD re-runs of their fat being drained out of their abdominal cavity miss out on trips to the gym where one can toss unrequited glances at glowering, comely, females working out. Having a facelift may take years off a phizog but its side-effect, that is, the tell-tale permanent Sardonic grin, makes one a laughing stock.
A Scots-Asian friend, Aladin, who owns a beauty business, told me that the best thing to do for wellbeing was to look in the mirror each morning and say: “I look and feel wonderful.” And, oh, drink coconut milk.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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