Is it futile to defy gravity?

It’s true. Even for statuesque strippers like Gypsy Rose, body parts that started out pointy and perky inevitably wind up droopy and saggy. It’s a fact of life – the Universal Law of Gravity, in fact – and that’s a piece of legislation even Eddie Greenspan can’t beat. 

Not that lots of folks don’t try. In the year 2000, nearly seven and a half million North Americans – most of them women – plunked down their Visa and MasterCards in cosmetic surgery clinics from Tallahassee to Tuktoyaktuk. They lined up to have flab hoovered from their thighs, to put the bounce back in their boobs or to puff up the pout in their lips.

Some wanted their bellies flattened; others opted for tumescent bums. Some paid to have wrinkles sandblasted off; others sought that one big, sexy, Hollywood-sanctioned wrinkle that runs north to south, front and centre – the one we call cleavage.

Do I sound cynical? Well, I knew a girl with breast implants once. She cut a fetching silhouette from across the room but up close, they felt like two bocce balls.

The high cost of renovation
And none of is remodelling comes cheap. Tummy tucks run about $5,000. A breast augmentation will set you back six grand (though that’s actually a two-for-one deal). Even a lowly Botox job (a doctor jabs a hypo in your forehead and pumps it full of botulism toxin, effectively ossifying your frown muscles) will cost you $500.

But whether they’re sloughing off fat cells or bulking up on collagen, the enemy remains the same: Mister Gravity. All these folks want one thing: they want lift.

Which brings me to the latest depressing news niblet on the cosmetic surgery front: it is now possible to have a voice lift.

“Surgery for a younger voice,” the folks in the white coats call it. The scalpel wielder goes in and plumps up those creaky vocal chords with collagen injections. Why?

Why, to make you sound younger, of course. What’s the point of having a trackless forehead, Barbie-doll hooters and a stomach as taut as a conga drum if you open your mouth and Granny Clampett comes out?

Well, I dunno. I worked in radio for 30 years and never heard of a colleague succumbing to “old voice syndrome.” Au contraire. Think for a moment of some of the great voices that have rumbled and reverberated through your ears: Tallulah Bankhead; Lorne Greene; Bessie Smith; Winston Churchill.

Those aren’t “young” voices, folks. Those are voices as rich and plangent as a Hammond organ or a Dickens novel.

The voice is like a Stradivarius: it just gets better with age. As do we all, in every way – save perkiness.

Consider the results
As for the surgiholics in our midst – those who think a surgeon’s scalpel can whittle off the years and make them teenagers again – I have two words: Michael Jackson. 

There’s your poster boy. A sad putz who’s had the max in surgical enhancement and, yes, his nose is perky – what’s left of it. Jackson’s not making himself look younger; he’s erasing himself.

And one more word in your sculpted ear: too often, you look…kinda freaky. There’s a bride-of-Frankenstein, inelastic quality to most facelifts that makes the patient look like a possum caught in a backyard floodlight. 

Reminds me of the story of a woman who wanted a facelift but couldn’t afford the cost of the procedure. “Well, we could give you the economy treatment,” said the surgeon. “How it works, we implant powerful elastics behind your ears and attach them to a dial under the hairline at the back of your neck. If you see a wrinkle on your face, you just reach back, give the dial a crank and your face tightens up.”

The woman goes for it, and she’s very happy for several months. Then, large bags appear under her eyes. She goes back to the surgeon. He examines her and says, “I’m afraid those aren’t normal bags. Those are your breasts. You’ve been cranking that dial too hard.”

And the woman says, “Well, that would explain the goatee….”