If the folks at The New Yorker were to dish out a caricature of me, I think I know what it’d look like.
Big eyes, big nose, apple-ish shaped head… the possibilities are nearly as frightening as they are entertaining. Besides making me want to steer clear of three-way mirrors and touristy plazas where street artists might be lurking, these anti-climactic fantasies have led to some pretty serious contemplation regarding the promises of plastic surgery.
Yes, I tend to be over-dramatic, and no, I don’t have the money for even the tiniest syringe full of Botox. Really, though, if I had a few extra thousands of dollars, I wonder if I might give in and buy myself a new set of teeth rather than investing in micro-finance or starting (starting) to pay back my student loans.
Obviously, we’ve all been told that it’s what’s on the inside that matters, and obviously, our market-driven societies preach something different. For the most part, I’ve stopped reading “feminine” magazines because they make me want to vomit, shop, or step out of a very high window. On bad days, I can sit and stare into the looking glass for hours: squinting, plucking, scratching, frowning… On good days, I honestly feel love for my reflection, and, more deeply, for the much bigger entity that it represents.
Every once in a while, I’ll come across an image in the arts or media that I truely consider beautiful, and I’ve recently come closer to understanding why. The pictures tend to illustrate the compatibility of human uniqueness and humanistic universalism, and in doing so, they begin to transform our banal imperfections into elaborate gods.
If you’re asking yourself what the fuck I’m talking about, just look at the photo I included above. Georgia May Jagger has weird-looking teeth. Each and every one of us has a weird-looking something. So, we can empathize with this woman because she’s like us, in that she’s not like everyone else. Hooray!
Abstractions aside, I can tell you right now that the surgeon’s talents remain personally tempting. We may never escape the judgments of those around us, but in the mean time, I encourage you to expose yourself to competing conceptions of beauty. (Check out the Japanese “yaeba” trend as an example of how dental elegance is all in the eye of the beholder.)
Dear readers, you might never have actually considered going under the knife for aesthetic reasons, but how many of you have worn braces? And for those who did have the resources and the resolve to “fix” a trait that ticked you off, what was it that finally convinced you to make that decision?