women

When her eyes started acting their age, actress and writer Ali Wentworth headed for the operating room – and actually told people about it! Little did she know, other women in her life had been nipping and tucking for years

I am not a vain person. In fact, I should care more. I don’t work out. I bite my nails till they bleed and wait until my dark roots are so grown out that I look like one of those women who hold their Big Gulp in their cleavage and mail their panties to convicts. I’m in awe of my girlfriends who have resplendent bodies perfectly toned from Plates, skin that has been thermo- or phyto- or something-dermed, and hair made silky with exotic oils drawn from rate coconut husks. If I shower, shave my pits, and moisturize, I consider it a full day of pampering.

Description: Eyes Wide Open

Eyes Wide Open

So the idea of plastic surgery seemed inane and way too time-consuming. Who would elect to have someone cut his or her face? What women could suffer through a face-lift? Steep her stitched and tattered flesh in a bucket of ice for weeks in a dark, undisclosed hotel room? Surely, I thought in my ignorance, only Joan Rivers and a handful of the women who elbow me out of the way at the Bergdorf’s sale had “work” done. Little did I know, a significant portion of my friends were nipping and tucking and slicing and dicing on a regular basis.

My friend Beezie is ravishing. Her eyes are perfectly symmetric, her skin creamy and seemingly untouched by the sun (although I once saw a freckle on her ear), her legs toned from years tennis. Even as a middle-aged mother of four, she can still wear tiny jean shorts and look like Cheryl Ladd circa 1976. Beezie is a professional photographer, and when she’s deciding how to “fix me in post”.

Description: Who would elect to have someone cut his or her face? What women could suffer through a face-lift? Steep her stitched and tattered flesh in a bucket of ice for weeks in a dark, undisclosed hotel room?

Who would elect to have someone cut his or her face? What women could suffer through a face-lift? Steep her stitched and tattered flesh in a bucket of ice for weeks in a dark, undisclosed hotel room?

Recently, Beezie was in New York City for a few days. We met at the downtown eatery Lucky Strike for French fries and the hope of recapturing our youth. My costume for this performance included skinny jeans and high-top sneakers, not that I was fooling anyone. I could have been our waiter’s great-grandmother. I remember once being at a bar in Beverly Hills and seeing a gaggle of girls in microskirts and stilettoed, bejeweled cowboy boots sipping pomegranate martinis, laughing and barking like baby seals while whipping their bleached hair from side to side. When they finally got up to leave and turned around, to my horror I saw that none of them was a day younger than 67. Since then I’ve been pushing myself to dress age appropriately. And I don’t judge a woman’s age by her behind, even if she’s in diapers.

Beezie looked especially becoming this spring day. Like she had just emerged from six months in a hyperbaric chamber.

“I got my eyes done!” she declared, batting her lids.

“I don’t know what that means”, I replied, shoving a bunch of ketchup-drenched fries down my gullet.

“I got all that hanging skin on y upper lids cut off”, she said. Instantly I was aware of the fact that the skin under my eyes was starting to resemble a curled-up duvet that would soon unfold and cover my lower face.

Description: I wanted Beezie’s bright and awake eyes. I wanted her body, too, but…baby steps. One would involve being drugged into a twilight state; the other, thousands of SoulCycle spin classes

I wanted Beezie’s bright and awake eyes. I wanted her body, too, but…baby steps. One would involve being drugged into a twilight state; the other, thousands of SoulCycle spin classes

It’s important to note at this point (as I have been frequently reminded by haters on the comment sections of the Internet) that I had quite large bags under my eyes. And it’s not because I was up all night doing speedballs or studying for the bar exam. It’s a hereditary condition passed down from generation to generation, like chipped china or a propensity to drink. Since me early twenties, my baggy eyes had been a source of utter frustration not only for me, but also for makeup artists (who whispered sotto voce about them on set) and cinematographers (who spent hours desperately trying to relight my face). If I had too much salt or soy sauce? I awoke the next morning as Mickey Rourke. I tried concealer, Preparation H, even Scotch tape, but there my baggage hung, under my translucent skin, like pizza dough thrown against the wall.

I wanted Beezie’s bright and awake eyes. I wanted her body, too, but…baby steps. One would involve being drugged into a twilight state; the other, thousands of SoulCycle spin classes.

I consulted every professional ravisher I knew, including four beauty editors and a bevy of gay men. I was referred to three doctors. I chose a female plastic surgeon based solely in the assumption that she’d be nicer when I yanked off my shower cap and went screaming into plate glass en route to the operating room. (Even since I saw the film Coma, I’ve had tremendous fear of anesthesia). And I hoped she’d throw in a free Pap smear.

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