I SEE the lines in my forehead, I see thin air where my bosom should be and I see, clearly, how far removed I am from the women who grace the magazines and catwalks.
Then I see this week’s headlines and see how sensible I am to shun the needles and knives that hang over today’s ideas of beauty.
“Implant fears spark panic” they declare, and in Monday’s Echo we are told that 450 Wearside women are caught up in this horrible mess – waiting to see if their PIP breast implants will harm them and if there’s anything they can do to prevent it.
A total of 450 women – that’s an awful lot. And if the average price for a boob job is £4,000, then do the maths: someone coined in £1.8million from these women – and they are still left to pay an even greater cost.
What was so wrong with them that they needed surgery? Nothing of course, except that they are alive in the age of relatively affordable ‘improvements’ and an intense paranoia about the way we look.
I’m not saying anything new here but it bears repeating – there are a lot of companies, and a lot of individuals who are getting very wealthy by encouraging (mainly) women to look in the mirror and find fault.
The remedy of course, is something you buy – a mascara, a boob job, a tummy tuck; there’s something for everything so don’t despair!
Except I do. I hate the thought of surgery but will I change my mind when I’m getting older?
Will the pressure hit me like a tsunami and sweep me into the hands of the anesthetist?
I bloody hope not. I hope by then my vanity will be entirely replaced by eccentricity and I’ll be too busy running an animal shelter and writing to my local MP to care what I look like.
My litmus test for beauty regimes these days is – does my brother/male friends or colleagues need to do this in order to function properly? (It’s a decent test – pinched from Caitlin Moran’s book How To Be A Woman.)
If the answer is no, then I don’t see why it should trouble me. I haven’t painted my nails for three years and no one’s come to arrest me yet.
I’m not quite there yet – I still dye my hair (at a ridiculous cost) and I still wear make up. Old habits die hard. But the endless preening and high heels are gone.
I feel heartily sorry for these women – had they been given the true information about the risks then I’m sure they wouldn’t be in the same situation now.
Sadly, it’s impossible to eradicate risk and health scares crop up everywhere, in every situation, so this is not unique to cosmetic surgery.
But it seems grotesque that something so unimportant could make you seriously ill.
Julie Burchill nailed it when she wrote: “It has been said that a pretty face is a passport. But it’s not, it’s a visa, and it runs out fast.”
The only thing we can really aspire to with our bodies and looks is health; and anything that poses a threat to that in the name of ‘beauty’ deserves intense scrutiny.