Thursday, May 1, 2008

A suburban hobby

You learn something new every day. For instance, before this week, I never knew is was such a popular hobby to fuck up your own face.

The other day I went to a place called Middle Mountain Dermatology (not its real name - these folks advertise in my paper), located in kind of a strip mall full of doctors offices. MMD, I had learned on the internet, is a doctors office and also a "skin care center," where you can get facials and lots of other youth-reclaiming procedures, such as Botox.

But the website was nice and it didn't seem creepy, so I decided to go in for a free consultation about microdermabrasion.
(Microdermabrasion, if you're wondering, is kind of a facial with a mini sandblaster. I've heard it does wonders for your face, and since I still have the skin of a 15-year-old - in a bad way - it piqued my interest.)

Everything was going fine until I opened the front door and saw the receptionist, who had, without a doubt, the biggest lips I have ever seen. And these weren't natural lips - these were collagen lips, or ass-fat lips, or whatever they stick in your lips nowadays to make women look post-coital.

Her skin was also creepily flawless and a little puffy-looking. I connected the dots, remembering that I had talked to a woman on the phone when I scheduled my appointment who tried to sell me on skin laser treatments. (These lasers RAISE UP your skin, she said, so you can't see any imperfections. She gets them all the time.) The weirdest thing was, this woman couldn't have been more than 22.

Anyway, Big Lips told me - in a voice you would expect someone with humongous lips to have - to take a seat in the waiting area. As I'm waiting, I share cordial nods and brief hellos with Unnaturally Large Eye Lady and Dead Face Woman, both of whom worked at MMD (employee discount?), and both in their 30s - that age, I imagine, where you are suddenly jolted and horrified to realize men no longer ogle you.

Meanwhile I couldn't help but eavesdrop on the consultation before mine. I couldn't see either the esthetician or the woman she was talking to, but judging from the esthetician's horrified tone, this woman was in need of some serious intervention. I heard words like "deep Vs" and "serious sun damage" and "we're gonna have to take all that off."

The woman was clearly hesitant to do whatever it was that was being recommended. She kept asking queasily, "But will it be very drastic?" By which I can only assume she meant, "Am I going to end up looking like Lips over there?"
Esthetician wasn't having any of it. "But you WANT a drastic change, don't you? You WANT people to notice you, don't you?"

I don't know how they left things, but when they were done, I did catch a glimpse of Horror Show. The woman was your run-of-the-mill 45-year-old, on the short side, blonde hair. Totally normal.

Finally it was my turn. Esthetician took me into a sterile little room, where I explained what I was looking for. She told me a simple microdermabrasion wouldn't do diddly squat. What I needed, she said, was for her to burn off the top layers of my skin, once a month or so, with some type of (totally harmless, she insisted) acid. And a couple tubes of $48 something-or-other too.

(Call me oversensitive, but I think I might have caught onto another of her tricks, too. Early in the conversation, I very clearly told esthetician lady my age (27). Not two minutes later, she asked me, "What are you, late-20s?" Now 27, I admit, IS late-20's. But so is 28 and 29. I know that's subtle, but my immediate, unconscious, embarrassing reaction was, "Oh no, do I possibly look OLDER than I am?" - and something tells me she knew that would happen.)

We wrapped things up and I politely took her card and left without scheduling anything. Since then, though, I swear, I see these people everywhere - mostly moms in their cars, or grocery shopping - with their permanently raised eyebrows and tight, panic-stricken expressions. You can almost hear them whimpering at their ogling-elsewhere husbands. "Am I beautiful yet?" they're asking, warbled through their frozen, bloated lips.


mr reporter man said...

Epic. Horrifying. Totally true. Great post.

Eden From Sweden said...
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Abigail said...

oh, wow. i'm so thrilled you're writing. this is awesome.