No Holds Barred: Wellness is the new porn

Featured image
Detail from The Fountain of Youth, Lucas Cranach the Elder, 1546.

I think I have had it with “Longevity” and “Wellness” as the buzzwords with every product. Over the last two years I have bought more stuff (thank you social media) from mascara to face cream to dog food to supplements to juices to collagen powder to bras, all promising me new vitality, loss of brain fog, anti-inflammation, dementia prevention, perfect sleep, newfound total mobility … oh and crepe-less youthful skin. All amounting to a completely new life!

You Look Marvelous!

Of course who are we kidding, but trust me … we are all falling for it. Fear of dying, let alone aging, has become the disease du jour and, for some, it is a full-time job. Not to mention a money grab.

Of course, everyone wants to look as good as they can, especially after three years of pandemic mania. Let’s not forget dear Billy Crystal‘s character Fernando’s mantra of “And remember kids … It’s better to look good than to feel good!”

Just ask Jeff Bezos and fiancé Lauren Sanchez who have spent a year flaunting their restructured steroidal faces and bodies to prove that theory. And we’re not talking a Kardashian explosion of humongous lips and ass or spider long eyelashes and shovel ready 3-inch nails here.

And let’s not forget every TV personality with Martha Raye veneers. Kanye West has just revealed his $850,000 titanium dentures — a replacement from his diamond grill — to project a more Bond-like villainous Jaws look.


“Take it from a big mouth!”

“Your tooth it ain’t so purty but it’s gen-u-ine …”

Nowadays everybody needs “a little help.” But it’s clear that with health nowadays, wealth is the metric. Especially if you spent $25,000 for your own hyperbaric oxygen chamber to get over whatever PTSD oxygen deprivation you may have experienced in your lifetime.


The Cadillac of hyperbaric chambers.

Last week I received a local “luxury lifestyle” throw away magazine called Iconic (another word am I sick of) “dedicated to enhancing your longevity.” whether it’s building your own cold plunge tub in your bathroom; going to a “remedy spa” that offers peptide IV drips; taking private jets for 21-day “spiritual refresher” experiences with Buddhist priests in Nepal or helicopter flights to Mount Everest to have a “private session” with an herbalist shaman; or going to a Swiss clinic to get rebooted with yak urine injections — I am not interested.


I get all the lifestyle “hard sell” of this magazine, though the cover looks like porn. Then I realized, maybe Longevity and Wellness is the new porn! It has the same cultural product “guerrilla” presentation.

As VistaJet promotes in their Wellness Program; “It is about reimagining your way in the world — because what else is the purpose of traveling the globe if not to expand yourself?” Only to come home to the reality of the reentry horrors of stress. You are exhausted in a day even with your kale/kava green drink in hand. I think I’ll settle for watching an episode of White Lotus.

The real longevity decision isn’t all these high spending distractions — it’s how and who is going to manage your long-term care in your final years. Or how are we going to give up our plastic water bottles as they seem to be contributing to young people getting colon cancer of late. But don’t worry, you can always get an infrared light cabin to “cure your pains, assure weight loss, detoxify and revive yourselves.” And here I thought Ozempic would eventually do all that.


I’ll take this “Vista” any day.

The real Wellness popularity seems to be with Medi-Spas. Salons that include hair extensions, permanent makeup, any injectable and filler you want, and even an on-site daycare center for your toddlers while you get revitalized. Maybe your kids won’t even recognize you upon your exit. And they will surely have a decent cafe serving you matcha latte or a mushroom coffee to enhance your brain and memory function. So you can remember that you have kids waiting in the lobby.

Oxygen bars — so yesterday!

I vaguely remember the fad of oxygen bars 15 years ago. Hollywood was big on these places. You could inhale fresh oxygen and then have various herbal tinctures to “get up and get going” to your next audition.

But now we have a more “health care” theme to promote. There are Zen looking outlets where people can “manage their health journeys and participate in treatments with others creating a shared experience.” So now, you can take your IV as a “watch and drip” with a whole list of new “Wellness pals” — or even order a movie to your recliner while your vitamin C gets processed in your veins (I wonder if Keith Richards would do something like this). You can get a private or group cranial sacral session, lymphatic drainage, cupping, breathwork or have communal acupuncture.

Personally, I need solitude to heal not a “group grope.” I did the giant gym and yoga studio scene years ago. Sharing a sweaty step climber or even doing multiple downward dogs in a room with 50 other deep breathing sweltzerizing people did not heal me. It left me severely dehydrated with massive joint arthritis. But maybe Remedy Clubs are meant to correct all that forever. Wellness abuse … for a giant fee!!


Not to mention my torn knee meniscus last year!

Recently the New York Times did a giant business piece on “The Meme King of Longevity,” Bryan Johnson, who is yet another Silicon Valley centi-millionaire promoting longevity food and supplements. Nothing new here except his followers are wearing “Don’t Die” T-shirts and going to gatherings promoting life expansion via diet, sleep and a lot of newfangled technology.

There’s a lot of “Don’t Die hookups” around the world — the “Don’t Die” movement is social media driven. So you can connect while drinking your special nuts, berries, olive oil and pomegranate juice all to the tune of a quartz-aura-cleansing bowl. All it takes to sell this techno snake oil ride is a lot of free time and tons of money which some people seem to have nowadays.


Bio-hacker Bryan Johnson getting his daily dose of UV light.

Sadly, I have been very disappointed. I used to be such a product whore for all this Health and Wellness ride. I have $200 sneakers that never healed my plantar fascia problems, I have cabinets filled with fish oil, CBD/THC ointments and patches that left my damaged joints with rashes, and rejuvenating oils that left my crepe-creased skin with greasy gullies.

I even tried to get my dog rejuvenated with the popular Farmer’s Dog home delivery program of fresh organic veggies and meats that assure your pup a new extended life. That also bombed. He hated it and preferred his déclassé bowl of kibble. He comes alive at the sound of the crunch of sad dry brown balls in his dish over the exotic organic canine mashups.


A sampling of my personal wellness “snake oil” collection.

Sunshine, on his Ritz Carlton mattress, enjoying his bowl of kibble.

In the end I am more seriously concerned with our current health care system (not concierge services) unable to keep up with our basic medical needs. Most doctors have trouble getting lab results on routine blood scores let alone hiring enough front desk staff. Let’s start longevity there.

Clearly your own anti-aging and Wellness begins and ends with you and your genes. It’s about keeping it together and staying as sane as you can. That isn’t easy but only you can do it. Dump the hard sell marketing.

Somewhere I read the three stages of life are:
• Birth
• What the hell is this
• Death

James Bond once said: “I will not waste my life trying to preserve it.”

But it was George Carlin who had the final say: “Life’s a bitch and then you die …”

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