The Thinker

Extreme makeover

Being fifty-something like me definitely has some drawbacks. Things I used to take for granted, like going a day without some aches and pains are now exceptions rather than the rule. When you are middle aged, every day you are playing a game of whack-a-mole with your health. Solve one problem and others unexpectedly pop up. In my case, I recently learned I had vein disease (in other words, my varicose veins are becoming a problem), a few neuropathies in my legs and feet, and tarsal tunnel syndrome in at least my right foot. On the good side, I weigh twenty-one pounds less than I did in January, my blood pressure has stabilized and I am hopeful my cholesterol level has dropped to normal levels.

Most likely if you are my age you are also dealing with medical issues. That does not necessarily mean that you have to look your age, particularly if you have $16,000 burning a hole in your pocket. Courtesy of London’s Daily Mail, I learned about the curious case of Janet Cunliffe, age fifty. Janet decided that she wanted to look like her daughter Jane and spent at least ten thousand British pounds to make it a reality. See if you can pick out Janet from this photograph with her daughter.

Janet and Jane Cunliffe

Janet and Jane Cunliffe

If you guessed that daughter Jane, age 28, is the woman on the left (as I did), you would be wrong. Jane is on the right, and mother Janet is on the left. Thanks to this rather extreme case of multiple plastic surgeries spanning more than a decade (as well as a lot of exercise and dieting) Janet actually looks younger than Jane.

Janet does look great but she seems to be a textbook case for why beauty is skin deep. From the Daily Mail story, it sounds like Janet has issues way beyond wanting to look unnaturally young. She divorced one husband then spent eight years in Spain in a dysfunctional and angry relationship that ultimately went nowhere. Eventually she returned to Great Britain into the welcoming arms of, well, not a husband or ex-husband, but her daughter Jane, who put her up and became something like her best friend.

In those distant pre-plastic surgery days, Janet used to be a redhead. Like many women pushing forty, she had sagging boobs, droopy eyelids and wore a size fourteen dress. All those trips to plastic surgeons resulted in the removal of puffy eyelids, uplifted and enlarged 34-DD breasts, a nose job, lips puffed up with collagen as well as blonde hair extensions. Perhaps the new Janet has become the Janet she always imagined herself to be. Perhaps this will allow her to become the attractive, anxiety-free twenty-something woman she wants to be some three decades after the fact.

I don’t think this is going to happen. Like me, she is still a fifty-something adult. If she is fifty, she is likely in the midst of menopause and is dealing with other medical issues that great plastic surgery cannot cure, like age spots. Selective skin bleaching might help with the age spots, but it will not fool a suitor for long. Last I heard, there was no plastic surgery for the bane of aging women: sagging necks. However, her plastic surgery, in addition to costing lost of money, has resulted in at least one complication. One breast implant ruptured. Janet though saw the incident as an opportunity to go from a pair of 34-C’s to a dynamic duo of uplifted 34-DD’s. It also meant she had to shell out another twenty five hundred pounds.

On the plus side, Janet now weighs a lot less than she used to, is eating healthy food and claims to feel better about herself. Perhaps by doing so she can retard many of the effects us middle-aged adults have to contend with. Beauty though is skin deep, which means ultimately she inhabits a middle-aged body like me. If she is not dealing with various aches and pains like I am, I would be surprised. She is chasing the illusion of immortality and youth, but an illusion it remains. Instead, she is setting herself up for more falls and grief.

I assume Janet wants to look younger in order to attract a suitable mate, someone who is less angry than her last boyfriend or better than her first husband. Janet should be careful though because she is likely to get a man attracted to the body she projects, which may be far removed from the man she actually wants.

Call me cynical or envious, but I cannot help but wonder if Janet would have been better off spending those ten thousand pounds on a good psychotherapist instead. She started her body sculpting adventure a decade ago. Had she invested the money in a psychotherapist instead, she might now be celebrating her tenth anniversary with a man who truly does cater to her physical and emotional needs. I suspect she would have gotten much better value for her money.

 

One Response to “Extreme makeover”

  1. 4:10 am on May 29 2009, Lucy Byers said:

    I think that if this lady wants to sculpt her body, and she has done a great job, then it is up to her, and best of luck to her. Who are we to criticize if it makes her happy? I am in my early fifties, and spent the majority of my 40’s going through the menopause. I did suffer at that time from various aches and pains which I put down to old age, when in fact it was the menopause. Now that I am over it, and I exercise twice a week, I do not suffer from pain any more, and feel better now and more energised than I have in a long time. So don’t despair if you are going through the same thing, it will pass, and with healthy living and gentle/moderate exercise, you will come through it.

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