Here’s validation for those convinced Valentine’s Day is among the world’s biggest marketing gimmicks along with Las Vegas and Disney World. Hospitals and clinics in India are now trying to ride the soppy wave of love by offering makeover packages as Valentine Day’s gifts.
“Treat your love in a unique way this Valentine’s Day. Gift your partner a complete makeover,” read a cold mail sent to many thousands last week. Men can choose from gifting their partners fewer wrinkles, larger breasts, fuller lips or thinner waistlines. In the men’s section, women can shop for liposuction, facelifts and botox shots for their lovers. While the email only advises women to go under the knife for love, it asks men to “start understanding their partners’ need to retain good looks and in fact gift them these procedure on Valentine’s Day as show of love to them”.
This is easily the strangest relationship advice I’ve come across. Imagine telling someone they need to get their belly fat sucked out painfully before they can hang out with you. Or telling a woman — this one is gender-specific — she needs silicon assets or, worse, a paralysing neurotoxin injected in her face every few months to make it smooth enough to meet your expectations.
The trouble with any cosmetic procedure, say experts, is that people’s expectations are unrealistically high. Basing your hopes on the before-and-after photographs in advertisements and albums in clinics make you expect perfection found only on photoshoped lifestyle magazine covers. Because if it was that simple to look like Scarlett Johansson or Brad Pitt, every woman or man with a few millions to spare would boast of twin perfection.
But technology is making things easier. Researchers at Tel Aviv University in Isreal are developing software based on real clinical data to give patients an accurate, three-dimensional before-and-after picture before the scalpel takes them apart. The new tool generates an anatomically accurate after-surgery image to help patients avoid unexpected results on the operation theatre.
Apart from your surgeon’s skills, your state of mind also determines how satisfied you’d be with the final results. A study of people undergoing facial plastic surgery — reported in May/June issue of Archives of Facial Plastic Surgery – reported that older people and those currently being treated for depression were more satisfied with the results.
Overall optimism or pessimism had no effect on satisfaction from the surgical result. Simply put, cosmetic surgery would work well for you if the way you look was really getting you down.
A better use of cosmetic surgery is in curing excessive sweating and migraines. A new study reports that it can successfully cure migraines in one in three people and offer some relief to 90% chronic migraine suffers. The techniques uses forehead-lift procedures to deactivate trigger sites in the muscles or nerves that cause pain, reported the journal, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, this week.
The frequently asked question, of course is whether plastic surgery just to look better worth the pain? At the end of the the day, it depends on how concerned you are about the way you look. Plastic surgery has been shown to improve self-esteem, with a recent study going a step further and calling it a mood enhancer. A study presented at American Society of Plastic Surgeons annual conference reported that one in two depressed people who undergo cosmetic surgery stop taking antidepressant medication after surgery. That’s more than enough reason for those depressed with their body image to get their fix, irrespective of the day of the year.