EDITORIAL NOTE: A few days ago I wrote about plastic surgery. I was prompted to do so after a 38 year old ex-Miss Argentina died following a cosmetic surgery operation. I was pleased to receive some private e-mail messages as well as an in-depth phone conversation from one of my long time New York friends.
I have learned a considerable amount from this stunning brunette who has devoted countless hours to UNICEF. She is my age and I still remember the first time I saw her decades ago when she was a breath-taking debutante.
Her son is now in my business, and her life was turned upside down a few years ago by an unexpected divorce. Her ex-husband is one of Wall Street’s “masters of the universe,” and he left her for a 32 year old woman who previously worked as a flight attendant. I will respect my friends privacy by not revealing her name, but her message is insightful.
Many of us know the agony of divorce, but I have a hard time believing some of her observations. From a male perspective, this woman is highly desirable and I really am surprised she is having problems in her social life. She attends many exclusive events in Manhattan and I would have thought 50 year old Gotham City guys would have been banging down her door.
All of the comments below are from her.
I can’t speak to the professional pressure the former Miss Argentina felt herself to be under. If she had been making a living by being beautiful, of course she would have felt some surgical tune-ups was an appropriate investment. The standard of beauty is extremely high in South America and competition is unbelievably fierce.
In this country, the pressures are a bit different. In the US and the UK, our contemporary culture supports and exacerbates the male’s innate, hard-wired preference for younger women. Some of the factors we have to deal with include the advent of Photoshop. This makes lovely women appear perfect and elevates the standard of beauty. Viagra now permits older men to satisfy young girls. We also have a society which offers no lasting disapproval to men who leave their families. All of this has led many men to discard their wives in preference for younger women.
A social climate in which women are encouraged to believe that life will be more fun post-divorce, or that there is no sin in breaking up someone else’s relationship, has also contributed to the demise of many marriages.
The result is that there are many millions of middle-aged women who have no partner, and little hope of getting one. They are competing for the few middle-aged men who are (a) self-supporting, (b) not so financially or emotionally devastated by the family court system that they refuse to get involved with someone again, (c) not plagued by a substance abuse problem, and (d) capable of functioning sexually. There are not many such men available, and the ones who are available quite naturally prefer younger women. Of course, the middle-aged ladies turn to plastic surgery in a (probably fruitless) attempt to even the odds.
So it’s not necessarily a discontent with her own body that may make a woman turn to plastic surgery, but an acute awareness that men in our own cohort are discontented with us. Sometimes, I must admit, the discontent men feel with us is justified, for there are many women who are simply personally disagreeable and do little to maintain their sex appeal through natural means.
As for me: You know my age, though I think–hope–I look a bit younger, sans Photoshop or Botox. I have had plastic surgery. So while I have pity for the poor woman who died, I can understand why she, and others such as myself, do it despite the usually minor risks.