Vanity, Vanity, All is Vanity

So there I was, hanging around a dermatology/plastic surgery clinic in Westlake.  Very angular and chic and cool, with almost no magazines.  Just a zennish pep rally feel to it, with lots of attractive young women around, emitting positive vibes.

Positive vibes like:  It’s OK to want to look good!  Be good to yourself — look younger!  It’s all right!  You’re not selfish!  Forget about those cyclone victims in Burma, those earthquake refugees in China, everybody in the whole continent of Africa!  Quel downer!  What about you?  Aren’t you feeling kind of wrinkly these days?  Shouldn’t you be doing something to make yourself happier?  Well, sure!

I sat there, staring, since I couldn’t even score a magazine (guess reading just makes you squint and frown, growing more wrinkles by the day — which is probably my problem to begin with.  That and advanced age).  I was also trying to convince myself that I wasn’t such a selfish sleazebag, since I just wanted a little skin care.  Nothing involving surgery.  A little vanity, regrettable and embarrassing, but not a motherlode of shame.

It occurred to me that what the clinic should be doing to promote itself would be to give those cute young women little fake bios.  Take Tiffany there, she of the smooth, ivory skin and blond bob.  She looks young, doesn’t she?  Trim, too, like she’d never ruined her firm little body through repeated pregnancies.  Well, your eyes are fooling you.

Bio: Tiffany was actually born in 1949 and is the mother of two sets of twins and grandmother of eight!  (Yes, really!)  She was a real wreck when we first hired her — what with her jowls down to her waist, where they joined her tits, and stretch marks and varicose veins that looked like a road map of Manhattan.  But look at her now!  She has no expression at all in her face; hell, she could be staring down a speeding tractor-trailer and her face wouldn’t budge an inch.  Wouldn’t you like to look just like Tiffany?

Oh, well.  They called my name and seemed a little disappointed I just wanted something cheap and non-surgical.  So they offered me a couple of expensive, non-surgical options that would leave me a little, say, redfaced and oozing for a few days.  Which is tough, since everybody’s schedule is so busy these days.  How do you manage to cram a little me time into your crowded days?

Passing through the waiting room, I felt all the positive vibes once more.  Tiffany flashed a big, white grin and I had to admit, she looked pretty damned good for somebody who was my age.

(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)

1 comment… add one
  • susana Link

    Thank you for this article. I just feel like a jerk. I mean with aging I started to panic constantly reading about new creams, surgical treatment etc. Each morning I’m staring at mirror looking critically at each wrinkle….vanity, vanity vanity.. that’s how I feel about myself right now. ( sorry English is my second language)
    But now I don’t feel alone in this craziness. This world is probably full of people like me with vanity, vanity, vanity.


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