Tuesday, February 23, 2016

New pages and new faces

Independently enjoying the 50-plus degree weather. 3:00 PM. Photo: JH.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016. A bright, sunny day, yesterday in New York, with mild temperatures in the low 50s and then into the low 40s at night. There is a feeling in the air that Spring will not be a little late this year.

New pages and new faces.
At dinner over the weekend, a friend of mine was telling me about a new cosmetic surgery technique she's been having that is not Botox but serves to eliminate those "unsightly" lines and creases that comes everyone's way when they're introduced to Father Time. Thinking about writing something on the whole (no longer a) phenomenon of plastic surgery and related cosmetic treatments as they seem to be evolving, yesterday afternoon I went looking through my archives to see what I'd already written before.

Since JH and I started the NYSD in September 2000, I have written about 4000 Diary entries over the past 15 years that we've been in business. I mention this fact because one of the wonders of looking through my archives is to see entries of which I have no memory, or only the vaguest memory. Among those I found yesterday was one I wrote about men and plastic surgery. I do recall interviewing Dr. Gerry Imber, but I didn't recall the story that led me to seek the interview. So, I repeat that Diary that explains my motivation, which I first published on January 29, 2004 ...
The Way We Weren’t. The Drudge Report on-line has been chasing Senator John Kerry’s vanity fair in the past couple of days strongly implying (with photos dated, etc.) that the Senator, who just won his second primary victory in New Hampshire yesterday, has had Botox treatments to get rid of the plethora of lines on his face.

Sen. John Kerry in 2004.
Looking carefully at the photos Drudge put up, it is impossible for me to determine if indeed the “before” and “after’s” are the result of a doctor’s handiwork or simply the different lighting and angles of each photograph. The camera lens can be very soft and gentle or very very horrid, depending on the lighting. As many readers know from personal experience and exasperation.

Personally the idea of doing stuff to your face makes me very uncomfortable just thinking about it. Although I know a stretch limousine-load of plastic surgeons and all of them strike me as very bright and capable and hard-working people.

I called Gerry Imber (Dr. Gerald Imber) about this one because he’s one of the top plastic surgeons in New York and I know (from interviewing him in the past) that a lot of his patients these days are men.

I asked him first about the use of Botox on men. This is what he said: “Basically Botox has become popular among influential people who have a wizened look based on excessive muscle action around their forehead and eyes. This gives them a look of consternation that isn’t appropriate all the time.

“And as people get older, the muscle action causes wrinkles and lines that are result of a genetic propensity to overusing the muscles.” A genetic propensity to overusing the muscles…! “Over time, these lines can become the focus of one’s face. Which needn’t be; that muscle action can be stopped by simple Botox injections.”

I asked him about the numbers of men getting Botox injections nowadays.

“In my experience,” the doctor said, “the use of Botox was limited to women in the first year or two after it was introduced. Over the past three years, however, 25% of the patients I see for Botox are men.”

Who are these men? “All walks of life including well known public figures, entertainers, investment bankers, entrepreneurs, and in fact politicians.”

Dr. Gerald Imber.
I didn’t ask Dr. Imber if he thought Senator Kerry had had Botox injections, or if he thought he should have. I don’t really care one way or the other although I don’t doubt the Senator might look a whole lot easier on the eye (our eyes) if he did.

I’m sure I know men who have had Botox injections and I couldn’t tell. I do know one man whose girlfriend wanted him to go to her doctor for them and he did. The next time I saw him, he asked me if I noticed anything different about him. Truthfully I didn’t. We were sitting in a restaurant when he asked me, and I tried looking him over to figure out what he was referring to. A haircut (I couldn’t tell since I hadn’t seen him in a few weeks)? Teeth whiter? Couldn’t remember from the last time. “I give up,” I said.

“My face,” he said with a big grin and an index finger pointing to his forehead.

I still didn’t know what he was talking about. “What?”

“Botox!” he said proudly. “Botox got rid of my lines,” he said.

Oh. Frankly I hadn’t noticed the lines he’d now gotten rid of. He’s a guy in his mid-fifties and always looked pretty youthful for his age. I figured he did it to please his girlfriend who’s twenty years younger and probably self-conscious about dating an older man. An older rich man. Yes. Uh-huh.

Continuing the subject with Dr. Imber about men and cosmetic enhancement (well, Botox isn’t surgery), I ask if men these days go for plastic surgery too.

He said: “For actual cosmetic surgery, the most common procedure is the removal of bags under the eyes to eliminate the often unearned dissipated look. That, and the tightening of the skin under the jaw.

“All of this is done to make men look as vital as they feel. Most men in their fifties and sixties, these days are at the top of their game. They’re healthy, they’re in great shape, and they want to look as healthy as they feel,” he said. “In your skin you feel better.”

I didn’t bring up the business of bad jobs with the doctor who, as you can see from a recent pictures JH took of him, looks damned good for a man of seventy-five (JUST KIDDING: I would guess he’s somewhere on his way to his sixth decade.) Whatever his age, he looks like a lot of us would like to feel; put it that way.

However, in recent Party Pictures, there is a male movie star who is about the same age as Dr. Imber, and in this particular picture I’m thinking of, he looks a little like an old deer in caught in headlights. Thanks, no doubt, to some doctor’s deftness. I was thinking how he might have looked better like an old deer caught in the sunshine if he’d stayed out of his doctor’s office.

Although to Mr. Drudge, I would say: If indeed Mr. Kerry did have Botox treatments or even plastic surgery, and if he also should run for President and even be elected, he will not be the first president to have had cosmetic procedures on his map (as my Irish-American New Yorkese father used to call the face). Sorry. Some men are/were just ahead of their time. They always knew about a genetic propensity to overusing the muscles…! And they did something about it. And who knew? Few.
January 28th, 2004, a Wednesday, and the day before, were snowy days in New York. I don't recall the storm but it was enough to send JH out with his camera to catch the scene in the City. At that time he was living on Seventh Avenue and 12th Street, and so, as you can see, he was covering the downtown in the snow ...
Wednesday night (1/28/04) in the Meatpacking District and inside and outside of (the now defunct) Pastis.

The next day, in and around Stuyvesant Park and Rutherford Place ...

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