No Pain, No Gain: Beauty Queen's Motto - The New Indian Express

No Pain, No Gain: Beauty Queen's Motto

Published: 02nd March 2014 06:00 AM

Last Updated: 02nd March 2014 12:45 AM

Good, better, best, never let it rest; until your good is better and your better is best. This was a ditty flung at my friends and me all through our convent school years. Back then, improvement was sought, primarily, in our moral fibre, and then in performance in the classroom and on the sports field. How far we’ve come since then. In today’s world, whenever anyone talks about improvement, it seems to have something to do with appearance, with image, with what’s in the advertisement rather than in the shop. Looking good appears to be more crucial than being good, seeming healthy more significant than being healthy.

The obsession with looking like a Perfect 10 is forcing people to resort to the most drastic self-improvement measures. It’s not just horrific diets and punishing exercise regimes that are at work here; there’s also the sawing of body parts. I’ve spent the last week learning about the latest cosmetic surgery procedures that are being embraced by people desperate to improve their image. I call it desperation; they, no doubt, think of it as innovation. Whatever the term, there seems to be plenty of pain involved.

Consider the postage-stamp-sized patch that people are having sewn on to their tongue. The idea is to make eating solid food so painful, that the victim (sorry, there is no other word) can only consume liquids. (Talking is difficult too, but that story can’t be told that easily.) Marlex, the abrasive material that’s commonly used to repair hernias, is the material used to create the patch which is secured to the top of the tongue by six stitches. Keep it on longer than a month and the patch will fuse to the tongue surface. The tongue patch is reportedly the invention of a Beverly Hills cosmetic surgeon, who gives his patients an easy-to-follow liquid diet that supposedly fulfils all their nutritional needs while minimizing caloric intake. The cost: about $2,000 (Rs 1.24 lakh).

At the other end of the body, we have the foot facelift, or surgery to tackle toebesity, aka chubby toes. Here, the doctors cut away the flesh or straighten the pinky or shorten/lengthen the toes to make one’s feet look narrow and elegant. For the toe shortening (about $3,700, or Rs 2.29 lakh), a segment of bone is removed near the joint and titanium added on to fuse it into position. Toe lengthening (about $4,000, or Rs 2.47 lakh) involves releasing ligaments and fusing a custom silicone implant to the bone to extend it. The motive is to look good in high-heeled strappy sandals and other tight-fitting shoes. Never mind that the toes can get deformed if the surgery is not performed correctly.

The last item on my yuck list involves ‘rectal’ bleaching—yes, you read that right. Apparently this is another area that is battered by time, and age can make one’s anus look dark and somewhat weather-beaten. Now this may not matter to those not turning their back on too many people; but clearly there are many others who do, and they want to reward those watching their back. The trend began with young women who were addicted to Brazilian waxes and G-strings, and bummed at the thought of a not-so-perfect bottomline. So in came the bleach and out went the black marks, for less than $100 (`6,000-plus). Clearly, there is always an opening for an innovative cosmetologist.

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