Is this why we do cosmetic stuff?
Valentine’s Day brings a laser focus on love. Heart shaped candy boxes were in the stores the day after Christmas. Seven whole weeks to think about what and with whom we will spending that day. Some have been thinking about V Day long before Christmas.
A conversation I had with a patient the other day got me thinking about love and beauty. She commented long before Valentine’s Day was on the horizon that she was wanting to be in a relationship, having been divorced a few years ago. It was time to get back in the water.
Like many of us, after loss of a relationship, she had come to me because she wanted to spruce things up, do a little Botox to erase the frown lines (who doesn’t get those going through a break up??), plump up the lips with some Juvederm and slim down the waistline with a few CoolSculpting sessions. All very reasonable, doable and I had confidence she would be very pleased with her results. And she was thrilled with the new look, she got great compliments from friends and family.
With her reinforced confidence she dove into the wonderful world of Match.com. I personally love that internet dating has become the new norm. Where else is a person supposed to meet another person? Unless you happen to run into a guy at the grocery store, which I am sure must happen sometime, fall in love at the melon display and live happily ever after. Except for that unlikely scenario: relationships start online for most of us, me included.
So, happy ending, right? Just in time for the big day. Well she shared that she had not met “the one” and although she had lots of dates she was getting discouraged. Here is the remark she tossed out that got my attention:
“If I don’t meet “the one” then I have wasted my money on these cosmetic treatments.”
I felt badly about this. I hope I had not telegraphed that doing a few improvements would translate into a magical Valentine’s Day. Of course we should all be doing things for ourselves, things that make us feel good about ourselves, boost confidence and self-esteem. In a perfect world we would never care what others thought or change ourselves to be something we think someone else wants.
But, get real. Others do judge us by appearance. Cosmetics have been around for thousands of years, ancient Egyptians painted on eye liner of black kohl and malachite, stained their lips and cheeks with red ochre from clay, painted their nails and dyed their hair with henna. Why? It seems that they thought beauty was some indicator of holiness. I guess everyone who could afford it wanted to be holy.
Today maybe holiness isn’t the end game but personal relationships may be. Yes, I want to be attractive to my mate, to my friends, to the stranger walking down the street. It makes me feel good about me. So if our technology lets me improve me physically then so be it. I do it for me and for the perfect Valentine’s Day with or without “the one”.