Entertainment » Vol. 21

To G.A.B, From Clueless

By Alisa Singer

CB101641Dear G.A.B.,

Remember the feeling you had back in middle school when you sensed everyone knew something and they were keeping it from you? I get that feeling nowadays when I encounter someone I grew up with who looks so-o-o good I have to wonder, “Didn’t we use to be the same age? What are these people doing that I’m not and what do they know that I don’t and are they all in it together?” I’m hoping that you can help me to figure this out.


Dear Clueless,

Well, when it comes to beauty and looks, some people have always just known things ~ right? These people, “Those Who Know” (“TWK”), can add a jacket here, a belt there, the right shoes and voila ~ a mundane piece of clothing looks edgy and striking. They know the hair salons that are chic but affordable, which colorists won’t turn your graying hair khaki green, and how to buy a fake Rolex that’s convincing enough to fool Mr. Rolex himself.

These are also the people who have figured out how to navigate the complex world of cosmetic procedures that you find so daunting. We not only admire them for their unlined skin, we stand in awe of their impressive organizational skills. The whole process is a logistical nightmare! Just figuring out what kind of procedure you want can be as intimidating as ordering a gourmet meal off a menu written in another language. To illustrate what I mean, picture the doctor as the waiter, bending forward politely to take your order:

Doctor: What will you have today?
You: Oh, I’ll start with just a little ‘lift’ please.
Doctor: Would that be a face lift, neck lift, brow lift, breast lift, or butt lift?
You: Let’s make it a face lift, please, and a little something for the wrinkles.
Doctor: Very good. For wrinkles, today we are featuring Botox, laser resurfacing, or injectable fillers.
You: Uh, what would you recommend?
Doctor: Many of our customers seem to like the fillers. They’re a specialty of the clinic.
You: Well, the fillers by all means. Sounds …uhh … filling.
Doctor: Excellent decision. Would you like synthetic, human, bovine or perhaps something with just a dash of rooster combs? Or, possibly, you’d prefer just transferring a few fat cells from your abdominal area…?

Once you determine the kind of work you want, there’s the all-important question of “Who’s good?” and do you need a plastic surgeon or can you get away with a mere dermatologist. And if you get far enough to decide on a procedure and a doctor, you’ve still got to figure out how to pay for it ~ and then you need to schedule it. The last step seems easy enough unless you consider the amount of preparation necessary to arrange what could be several weeks of unsightly recovery without your employer, co-workers, friends or family knowing what you’re up to.

Clearly, it takes an individual of uncanny resources to pull this off. In fact, it takes a village of them, or at least a sizable team working earnestly (and secretly) together, sharing information and best practices. And these people must be highly trained, not only capable of understanding the difference between dermabrasion and dermaplaning, but also of locating their nasolabial folds and glabellar lines blindfolded.

So, you might ask: “Do TWK hold regular secret meetings?” I’m pretty sure that’s how it works ~ like Botox parties but much more exclusive. After all, it’s hardly worth being among TWK unless you can exclude “TWDK” (Those Who Don’t Know). Probably, they have secret handshakes, passwords (like “rhytidectomy “), and a hazing ritual which involves everyone lining up to inject Restylane into the initiate’s marionette lines.

No doubt they also discuss propaganda techniques ~ how to throw the TWDK off the scent. “Talk to them about aging gracefully,” they might advise. “Tell them to celebrate each smile line on their face. You know, so many wonderful memories…blah, blah, blah.” Like the big Wall Street firms touting investments in one branch and shorting them in the other, the objective is for the TWDK to go grey and wrinkled while TWK discreetly slip off to their plastic surgeons. This is actually an essential part of TWK strategy ~ they look that much younger if everyone else their age looks really old. A corollary to this approach is the “Don’t Bother to Ask Because We Won’t Tell” policy. And they mean it. Just try posing the question to a TWK: “You look fabulous Randy ~ have you had work done?” Randy will deny it. “Just good genes, I guess.”

So do they or don’t they? Well, maybe only their plastic surgeons know for sure, but I understand why you can’t let it go at that. So if you really want to penetrate this firewall, you’ll need to consider your options. Pleading is undignified and, more importantly, likely to fail, but you might weigh the benefits of more coercive measures. For example, you could threaten a TWK with my own specially-designed form of water boarding: “Unless you tell me what I need to know right now I will apply water to your facial area and allow it to air dry without immediately following with moisturizer.” Her botoxed eyebrows will want to rise in alarm but she’ll be unable. Instead she’ll tremble as you pepper her with questions: “What did you have done? Who did it? What did you use – Botox? Collagen? Out with it!” Though normally a tough broad, willing to face needles and knives for the cause, her resolve will be likely be broken by the second drop of water. “Alright, alright I’ll tell you,” she’ll whimper. “Dr. Goldenfingers did a deep chemical peel with trichloroacetic acid at the skin clinic on 5th Street.” And off you go.

But if that doesn’t work, Clueless, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to break down and ask your wife.

Alisa Singer’s humorous essays have appeared in a variety of print and online newspapers and magazines across the country and in Canada. She is the author of various gift books designed to entertain and amuse baby boomers. Her newest book, When a Girl Goes From Bobby Sox to Compression Stockings…She Gets a Little Cranky, is available at www.Lulu.com. You can learn more about her work by visiting her website, www.AlisaSinger.com, or by contacting her at ASingerAuthor@gmail.com.

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