Monday, April 5, 2010


Sometimes when I see a photograph of me in recent years I think I look pretty goofy, or old, or not that attractive. But sometimes I think, not bad.

And I can remember being thirty and forty and any age and looking in the mirror or seeing my reflection in a window or looking at a photo someone took and thinking sometimes how bad I look and sometimes how good I look. It's still that way.

But either or any way I look at any given time I accept that that's what that particular photo or glance in the mirror provided, it's not who I am, it's just what I looked liked for that moment. It will change, and sometimes I'll think I look good and sometimes I'll think I look bad. That's life.

So what is it with people who keep getting their faces fixed? I saw Jane Fonda on Larry King as I was switching channels tonight and she looked so incredibly strange, like someone had stolen the face I thought I knew somewhat, that had some character or was developing it, and replaced it with a mask, a tight, stiff, unbecoming mask that bore little resemblance to Fonda.

I met her several times in my Hollywood years. Talked to her, spent some time with her at parties and events and once in a club where she asked to see me because as it turned out I had been written up in the trade papers for having deals for three different movies I was writing (none got made).

I found her not the way I fantasized she would be when I first encountered her on screen back in her teens, I assume, when she started out. But a little more brittle and clipped. Yet still beautiful and engaging and bright and well informed and like a woman of her age and time.

On King tonight she seemed like a caricature of some uptight plastic surgery addict afraid of aging in public, or private too I guess. God bless her. I don't mean to pick on her. It was just a shock and made me think how I'm sure, from what I've read and know, she was insecure as a teenage movie star and as a movie star in her twenties and thirties and right on through the decades. And I am also sure, though can't verify it with any statements she's made that I know of, but I suspect at least that there were plenty of times over the years when she was younger and for all I know already had some plastic surgery when she felt confident about her appearance (it certainly seemed so during those aerobic tapes years). Does she think if she gets more surgery done on her face to erase any signs of aging that it'll finally make her secure?

Or is it about something else, something I don't understand, don't get. And by the way I know plenty of guys who've gotten work done on their mugs as well, and some who start looking just as strange (at least Stallone admitted his was a mistake and used the way it ended up botched in his last ROCKY flick, as did, I assume, Rourke in his wrestling one). So I don't mean to sound like I'm picking on the women, or to sound self-righteous. I underatand the dynamics of "stardom" and the acting business etc. But I'm just talking about life. How it is what it is and the secret of happiness is accepting that. Working to change things, sure, working out, staying in shape, eating right etc. But having your skin pulled so tight she looked like she was squinting and couldn't quite open her eyes, man, I just felt disappointed.

We really are a society hung up on the superficial heh?

{PS: I realize that last question is a bit glib. Obviously a lot of us are not hung up on the superficial, and maybe the whole plastic surgery thing depends on how good the work turns out. But I still opt for nature taking it's course.]


Butch in Waukegan said...

Brazil (the '80s movie) had the superficiality of plastic surgery as a sub theme, as well as torture and government spying on its citizens.

Every time I see Brazil I am amazed how prescient it was.

Zuckster said...

Check out the opening passage of "The Lover" by M. Duras - one of the best takes on owning it.

AlamedaTom said...

Of course the pinnacle of cosmetic surgery to excess was the late Jacko. In the years before his death he looked weirder and weirder. From time to time I would see some of the early videos he did like "Beat It" and "Thriller" and remember just how handsome and attractive he was then. In the end he literally looked like a corpse to me. It was very, very sad.

~ Willy