Posts Tagged ‘plastic surgery’

A Cindarella Tale…

July 1, 2012

In my last blog post I self-righteously proclaimed that I would not fall victim to the superficial wedding pretense by giving in to the pressure to change my physical self striving to become the archetypical perfect bride. Well dear readers, as it turns out, I lied. I may have to lose a few inches for the wedding after all. Not from my waist or hips, not even from my butt or thighs. I don’t obsess about whether my arm jiggles when I wave or if I have cankles. I don’t have a double chin. No, my problem areas are much more stubborn than the worst of these. They are my feet.

For most of my life my lower most extremities have been a source of some embarassment. My feet are a hybrid of the worst characteristics of those of my mother and my father. My incredibly high arches, though handy in ballet class when I was 5, as well as the extreme girth of my feet come from my dad. It is thanks to my mother that I am genetically predisposed to bunions. Mine are not the feet fetishists fantasize about. Once, when taking my poor little Oma to a follow-up appointment with an orthopedic surgeon after she had broken her hip, he stopped speaking to her mid-sentence after catching sight of my feet in my high-heeled sandals. “You know you’ll get bunions if you keep wearing those!” He exclaimed! “They’re already starting!” He then proceded to take a piece of paper and trace my foot to illustrate to me exactly how my largest and smallest toes turned in, leaving hideous bony protrusions poking outwards. My grandmother was all but forgotten. His mission was to convince me to abandon high heels and strappy sandals for sensible shoes. Perhaps even orthotics. Obviously this man did not know me, as if he did he would realize I would sooner cut off my feet. If I found out I was going to die in a week would I crawl into bed and wallow? No, I would live! If I am going to bunion town, I am going to go there in style!

So far, I have staved off my fate while amassing a rather impressive and certainly not “practical” shoe collection. Sure there are a couple of pairs of runners in there for exercise and some flats for days when I might do more walking than usual, but many of my shoes would make Lady Gaga jealous. I have been called the “shoe lady” on more than one occassion. I am not a brand loyalist though I do have certain favorites. There are also some designer shoe houses I have coveted yet have never owned. I have long yearned for a pair of Christian Louboutins, Manolo Blahiks, Giuseppe Zanottis, Lanvins or my favorites, Balenciagas. Ever since seeing these brands in my first issues of Vogue I have promised myself I would one day don one such elegant and extravagant pair. When I was younger, they were galaxies out of my reach. As a gainfully employed adult I can afford more luxuries though I have always thought spending $1000 on a pair of shoes just seemed reckless and irresponsible. That was of course until I started planning my wedding. A wedding is a great excuse for spending money. Thousands of dollars for one dress? No big deal. Hundreds for a cake? But of course. A bouquet of flowers is HOW MUCH? Well, if they’re EXOTIC or out of season it only makes perfect sense. And of course you need extra special $1000 shoes. Armed with this in mind I set out to find these extraordinary shoes. The shoes I have been dreaming about half my life.

Balenciaga booties

My criteria was red. I felt drunk with giddiness as I picked out the pairs of Louboutins and Manolos and Valentinos to try on. I could barely sit still as I waited for the sales associate to bring them to me. The first pair arrived. I slipped my foot in….wait…it’s stuck! Damn it! I can’t get my gargantuan foot all the way into the shoe, it’s too narrow! Okay, next one. Same problem. Maybe I’ll try the size up. I manage to squeeze this one on (just barely) but quickly realize that there will be no way I could wear said shoe for more than about 10 minutes before agony would ensue. This conclusion is devastating as it is the most beautiful shoe I have ever tried on. Simple, elegant, just the right amount of stiletto and toe cleavage. It is the Spanx of shoes. My foot looks streamlined and thinned, tapering just right to a subtle point. I feel like crying taking the shoes off. I quickly learn that my feet are similarly too wide for the Manolos and Jimmy Choos. It seems that high fashion is made for the very small, both in body and in feet. Of all the shoes, only one pair fit, the Valentinos. Feeling like an outcast in a store full of immaculately pedicured, narrow footed women,  I leave the store dejected.

Living with the inevitable blisters, calluses and sore feet after being on my feet in tighter than ideal shoes for hours, I have managed to live with my disfigured feet without them impeding on my life too much. But now my quality of life was being affected. I couldn’t eat or sleep thinking about my defect and how I wasn’t good enough for the best of the best in shoes. Something clearly needed to be done. So, I looked into the options. My first thought was some type of seaweed wrap. They advertise them all over for slimming the body, maybe they can slim the feet too. No go. Apparently all these do is heat you up so you sweat out a bunch of water and lose water weight. I don’t need ugly AND sweaty feet. Moving on. I know in some countries they bind feet to make them smaller. China I think. I look into it and find that a)this must be done before feet reach maximum width and size and b)this is a dated and barbaric procedure. So that’s out. I’m not really getting anywhere. Then I hit paydirt. I should have known! You can actually have plastic surgery to make your feet smaller. Dr. Ali Sadrieh, founder of The Beverly Hills Aesthetic Foot Surgery in Studio City, California told the Wall Street Journal: ‘It’s unrealistic to tell women not to wear high heels. I came up with procedures that allow the women to function, pain-free, in the real world.’ At his clinic women can have several surgeries aimed entirely at enhancing the aesthetic of their feet. One procedure is the clinic’s signature ‘Cinderella procedure’ which is a preventative bunion correction which narrows feet. The clinic can also shorten toes and can take fat from a woman’s abdomen and inject it into the balls of her feet for extra cushioning in order to reduce pain when wearing high heels. Such procedures are becoming more and more popular in the US as well as the UK.

After doing some number crunching I have determined that I can’t fit both the surgery and the shoes into the wedding budget. Darn. Also, my fiancee would like me to be able to dance at our wedding without a wheelchair or crutches. (I’m getting no support from him on this!) So unfortunately it looks like I’m going to have to live with my feet the way they are and just accept them. It’s one of the many flaws that I have and I just have to try not to fixate on them. Without my feet to dislike, I know there will be something else that irks me, begging to be remedied. Unfortunately, it seems this is the way it goes. Perhaps as an exercise in selfworth we should all try to focus on our positives which always outweigh the negatives. As for the shoes, I’ll just have to settle for the Valentinos. Boo Hoo.

HONEST KATE

March 24, 2012

Supermodel Kate Moss graces the cover of W magazine this month. The most famous among those who started the trend towards exceptionally thin models in the 90’s and inspired the terms “waif” and “heroin chic”, she is also likely the most controversial. Her figure, drug use, choice of men and parenting skills have all been called into question. Yet she is revered for her beauty, flair for fashion and longevity in an industry that tends to chew people up and spit them out.  She is a woman we love to hate. This is a woman who in a 2009 Woman’s Wear Daily interview stated her life’s motto to be: “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”. On one hand, I completely agree with the many outraged parents who worried what kind of message this statement sends to the children and teens who look up to Ms. Moss. Unfortunately this statement has been adopted as the mission statement for many “pro anorexia” websites all over the internet. As a woman who understands all too well the mentality such a statement arises from, it makes me sad to think that there are girls and women who will hear, internalize, believe and repeat this statement. But that is the topic of a whole other post.

Today, I am focusing on the fact that although there is one part of me that is completely disgusted reading this quote, there is another part of me that respects her honesty. It’s refreshing to hear a supermodel basically admit that you have to starve to be skinny. Maybe that sounds insane. But I feel like some people will read her quote and say “Hmm. Maybe it is better to be skinny than to eat.” I feel that a whole other (and I would like to think larger) group of people will say “Well, if I can’t look like Kate Moss and still eat, then I guess I won’t look like Kate Moss. Pity.” (The pity is said in an English accent because Kate Moss lives in London). Sometimes it’s nice to know that these creatures we see in magazines and on TV are actually human. I want to know that they don’t wake up in the morning looking like goddesses, and that their bodies are not genetically predisposed to repel fat. It is why although we try to look away, we are magnetically drawn to the “Guess which celebrities cellulite this is?” and “Who has the worst beach body?” tabloid issues at the grocery store. We don’t want to wish anyone ill will, but my god does it feel good to know that Giselle Bundchen has cellulite on her ass. She has millions of dollars, Tom Brady, a body to kill for, amazing hair and she is one of the most beautiful women in the world. But she has cellulite!!!!! That knocks her down to my level. She’s just like me! I’m just like her! We’re equals!!

I am so sick of celebrities who claim they do nothing to look amazing. Oh, I can eat whatever I want. I never diet. See. I’ll even let you take a picture of me holding this cupcake. Do you have the shot?? I don’t need to exercise. I’m naturally athletic. I’m outdoorsy. I’m 65 and I have no wrinkles and my eyebrows are at my hairline, but I have NEVER had a face lift. My breasts are real, they naturally punch me in the chin. I didn’t have a nose job, half of my nose just magically disappeared. (Ashley Simpson-did you really think we wouldn’t notice??) I gave birth 20 seconds ago and now I’m 5 pounds less than my pre-pregnancy weight, but I didn’t diet or exercise. I lost weight because of breast feeding. BREAST FEEDING? Give me a break. I know you burn a few extra calories but you just had a BABY! Your stomach stretches out the size of a basketball. It’s not normal to have a flat stomach 2 weeks later. I love you Heidi Klum, but you are a freak of nature. I ran into a friend I went to University with and could have sworn she was pregnant. Good thing I didn’t ask, because she had given birth 2 AND A HALF MONTHS AGO!! Celebrities don’t owe the public an explanation about anything, but if you agree to do an interview there is some expectation of disclosure. At least don’t insult our intelligence by lying.

Here are some celebrities who are refreshingly honest:

Elizabeth Hurley losing weight after giving birth to her son- “I’m on a good old-fashioned low calorie diet-I’m going to bed hungry.”

Gwen Stefani-“It’s a daily struggle. I work out five days a week, I can’t imagine not doing it. I’d like to have no rules and eat what I want, but I’ve learned over the years that I’m so disappointed when I can’t wear the clothes I want to wear..”

Julianne Moore-“I still battle with my deeply boring diet of essentially yogurt and breakfast cereal and granola bars. I hate dieting. I hate having to do it to be the ‘right size’. I’m hungry all the time.”

Kristen Bauer-“The other day I realized that as long as I’m in this business I’m going to be hungry.”

Samantha Janus (soap star)-“I spend most of my days thinking about food and I’m hungry all the time…When I finish working as an actress there is a size 22 woman desperate to get out and just sit and munch.”

Portia de Rossi (recovered anorexic and television star)- “I don’t remember if I was hungry all the time. I’m sure I was hungry some of the time, or even most of the time, but I do think that after a while I didn’t even recognize that I was hungry. I felt very empty and I felt very anxious. It was worse than hunger. I felt like my brain wasn’t functioning”

There are many other celebrities who are open about the work it takes to be camera ready. I feel this is important, because it helps people to realize that media images of models and celebrities are not readily achievable, nor are these people always happy and healthy. The media drives what the “ideal” is, and people will tend to strive towards this. When these revered idealized people become more real to us and we understand the struggles and demands they themselves face, perhaps women will stop being so hard on themselves for not meeting ridiculous standards.