The Evolution of Plastic Surgery


My Aunt Jean is 96 years old.  She bought wrinkle cream last week.  For her face.  She’s 96.

Aunt Jean


It is a known fact that people do not like wrinkles. We do not like them anywhere. We don’t like wrinkles in our plans, curtains, pants, or fruit. Unless it’s a raisin. But we don’t want to look like one. Unless it’s a California raisin, which in the year 1987 actually had 3 studio albums, 2 television specials, a cartoon series and enough disposable income to buy brand new plumped up grape faces, let alone expensive wrinkle cream.

You would think a 96 year old woman would have other things to spend her money on. Like a new bungee jumping cord or rock climbing shoes, but no … she bought wrinkle cream.

Which lead me to wonder. Does wrinkle cream really work? And if it does, why are we all still so wrinkly? You would think if such an invention existed, a product that actually TURNS BACK TIME we should maybe use this technology for something more important than smoothing out our skin. Like perhaps going back in time to when people (i.e. any woman over 25) were allowed to have a wrinkle. You might remember that time. It was somewhere between caveman days and the day the face lift was invented. Which believe it or not, was in 1901.

Yup. On some sunny day in Berlin, a man by the name of Eugene Hollander gathered together his courage, his saggy faced patient and his brand new, state of the art, sharp thingy and proceeded to perform the very first face lift. If you’re 30 and you think you look “old”, you can direct all your letters of complaint to him. Keep in mind, if he’s still alive, he would be a minimum of 131 years old so I’d keep the letter short. His eyes may be going. Only the vision though … his bags would have been removed long ago.

Granted, I’m sure Mr. Hollander had no idea about the repercussions of his surgery.   There’s the  “Barbie” woman, that very strange lady who has decided to alter her face to look like a cat, and Joan Rivers.  Who although wrinkle free, looks incredibly odd. I will however say that I admire Joan Rivers for actually admitting to having her face rebuilt.  She’ll give you the whole check list if you want it.

It’s the celebrities who you see on talk show couches extolling the virtues of 8 glasses of water a day that drive me nuts. The only way water is going to make you look that young is if you drink it while some doctor is injecting about a thousand dollars worth of Restylane into your face. The other popular answer among celebrities to the “how do you look so good question” is … yup … wrinkle cream. I’m gonna have to talk to Aunt Jean about the amount of talk shows she’s been watching.

And our obsession with looking good doesn’t stop with our faces.  The face lift was just the beginning.  Plastic surgeons are doing all sorts of things with body parts no one would have thought of altering just 10 years ago.  There are women who have foot plastic surgery.   Just to be clear, that’s cosmetic surgery on their feet.   So they look cuter in shoes.  We aren’t talking about an unfortunate person who was afflicted with some sort of hideous deformity at birth.     These are people who think their feet are unattractive.   Maybe a toe is too long or they’re just too fat.  Well, no problem there, Little Miss. Fat Foot, we’ll just hack away at your disgusting fat, fat foot and … Oh gosh … I can barely even look at you your feet are so alarmingly wide … hack a chunk off either side.   There.  Once the swelling is down, the open wounds have healed and the bones have reset you’ll look super cute in your sandals.   Once you get off your crutches.   If this seems a bit extreme to you, bless your heart. You’re sane. You might want to go for the less invasive procedure of toe liposuction. Yes it exists and no I’m not kidding.

There are also unmentionable areas of the body that get the full plastic surgery treatment as well, but I actually feel a little gaggy just thinking about it, so I’ll just let you imagine.  Suffice it to say it’s not somewhere you could actually put wrinkle cream and I’m pretty sure drinking water wouldn’t do much either.   It DEFINITELY isn’t something anyone would admit to on a talk show couch. Unless Howard Stern’s studio has a couch.

By the way, there’s no record of who received that very first face lift.   She (and I am assuming it was a “her” because … lets face it … it was)  remains anonymous to this day.   But I hear if you’re in a very quiet room and you put your ear to a jar of empty wrinkle cream you can hear her voice whispering “drink lots of water”.



  1. christine hilton says:

    I am “only” 58 and I look older than your aunt.Could she please spill her secrets?

  2. Tricia Rose says:

    I have always sort of wanted to have both my legs broken and tractioned two inches longer~

  3. Linda says:

    Design Love is right. I had never thought about that before. At 96 we would look strange to have a 25 year old face. I would take it at 51 though!! Would we really want to look that young still at 96? The dating scene would really be dangerous then. Just imagine. Your Aunt looks great. Love her hair color. By the way I can’t imagine the first person brave enough to try a face lift.

  4. Nan Tee says:

    Glad this post wasn’t about DIY facelifts! And your Aunt Jean rocks….woulda thought she was in her 60s. Happy Canada Day from an Okie :)

    • Karen says:

      Nan Tee – Thank you! And Happy Fourth of July to you!! (soon to be) Just so you know … I had to look up what an Okie was, LOL. I’m Canadian, eh?! ~ karen

  5. Bernadette says:

    I so love your page. I was listening to a radio show yesterday describing in enough detail the OTHER lower surgery you are referring to. It is called the Barbie and makes you look like a 10 year old!!! Why? Costs alot and again why????

  6. Pam'a says:

    Not only is this a particularly excellent post, but in a serendipitous turn of events today, I saw an old friend for the first time in THIRTY YEARS. “I’m always afraid people I haven’t seen in years will be horrified when they see how I’ve aged,” I said at one point after I told her how GREAT she looks. She laughed and said the same about me, and that she thinks SHE looks like a shar pei. I think if there’s a moral to the story, it’s that nobody EVER thinks we look as bad as WE think we do. And, old friends ROCK. :)

  7. Meg says:

    Anyone else think about the old school Cinderella story during that foot part? Where the evil stepsisters start hacking off their feet to fit in to the glass slippers? Amazing what people will do!

  8. Jilly says:

    Karen: great post (as usual!)
    Lydia: love it, kinda puts it all into perspective, eh?*
    Aunt Jean: I hope I’m half as beautiful as you at 96!

    *I’m not Canadian – can I legally use Canadianisms? Happy Canada Day!

  9. Elora says:

    Years ago my cousin told my grandmother (then in her 60’s) that she ought to get a tattoo. “What on earth would I get a tattoo of?” she balked. My cousin replied, “Get a bungee jumper tattooed on your breast. That way, when you’re older, you can jump up and down in front of the mirror and entertain yourself for hours.”

    And speaking of needless surgeries, like toe lipo (it hurts my soul that exists)… hymen repair apparently costs $6000. That’s six grand you only get to flaunt once!

    PS – Karen, if you were into gals, I’d be pitching some serious woo! Sorry KarenBF.

    • Karen says:

      Elora – Well that’s flattering! Clearly you’ve never seen me after 12 hours of working on a chicken coop. ~ karen!

  10. Emily @ NewlyWife says:

    Here I thought this would be the Art of DIYing Your Own Facelift. Bummer. ;)

  11. Mickey says:

    I don’t dye my hair because I earned every ‘white’ one on my head. My two youngest grandchildren think that the wrinkled skin on my face is soft. They love playing with the skin that hangs down from my elbows. I can’t stop growing old but me and my wrinkles refuse to grow up!
    Happy Canada Day, Karen!

  12. Melissa says:

    You mean to tell me that I’ve been drinking all that water for nutin’? The path from my computer chair to the bathroom worn thin from pee breaks all for nutin’? And don’t even get me started on the amount of $$ spent on toilet paper. To heck with it all, I’m sticking to beer (it’s mostly water anyway)and my hard working underwire. At 42 (with two teenagers), I deserve to give myself a break.

  13. Cynthia says:

    Bwaaaa! Great post! I had a friend who had plastic surgery on her feet. I kid you not! It was horrible and she was in a wheel chair for weeks, couldn’t take care of her kids and needed her friends to do everything for her. Her toes look like someone smashed each one of them with a sledge hammer, then lined them up straight until they healed. I have a feeling that’s exactly what happened.

  14. Jessica says:

    It always makes me wonder if those that get plastic surgery have the self-discipline to actually take care of their health and bodies. Like Kate (plus 8).

    She spent thousands of dollars to get the perfect body so she could be on dancing with the stars for half a season. If she just spent that money and time in the studio she wouldn’t need to invest that much into cutting up her body.

    Plus she might have won.

  15. Shauna says:

    If it makes you happy and you can afford it – I say go for it. We bleach/color our hair, wear fake nails, get lasik eye surgery all in attempt to beautify ourselves. If a little nip or tuck here or there makes you happy (and you can afford it) and makes you feel better in your clothes, then I say go for it. With that said, FEET cosmetic surgery? That seems a tad extreme. I don’t think even Michael Jackson went so far as to have that done!

  16. Nancy says:

    Wow!..I hope I look as gorgeous as Aunt Jean at 96…I hope I live to be 96..wrinkles and all…be yourselves everyone…that is what is beautiful..

  17. Mr. Pickles says:

    Ann W: I’m not sure what part of the world you live in, but on the west coast we have “99 Cents Only Stores” and quite simply put: they’re rad. Yes, I had a to revert to a saying from my youth to impart just how awesome they are. I once found a FULL set of KENNETH COLE plain white dishes there. Rad indeed!

    And Lydia: your comment made me a bit misty-eyed (yes, Mr. Pickles gets weepy at Hallmark commercials too). Thank you for bringing it home for all women: to live honestly and lovingly is worth every wrinkle and stretchmark!

  18. Amy in StL says:

    I’m always told I don’t look my age and it must be genetics. I don’t always eat healthy, I abused my liver well into my 20s and most wrinkle creams irritate the crap outta my skin.

    On a related note, I gave my 82 year old mom some ProX that made me break out and she said it was fantastic. It’s too expensive though, so she has to do without. (she is far from poor) So I totally enable her by getting it for her. It’s the least I can do if it makes her happy. She’s indulged my frivolous desires too many times to count over the last 40 years!

  19. Lydia says:

    Aunt Jean is beautiful! Wrinkles tell the best stories.
    After two kiddos, my stomach has stretchmarks. I was complaining about them to a friend (our husbands are both in law enforcement) and she said, “Stop right there. What if one of our husbands got shot, and lived but had a big scar? You know he would show that thing off every chance he got. So how are stretchmarks – that you got from bringing someone into the world – not beautiful?”

  20. AnnW says:

    There is nothing wrong with wrinkling, but really. You don’t have to have dehydrated, parched skin. Sometimes I just want to go up to people and say: “Water? Moisturizer? Masks? and the best, Strivectin!” My mother in law got braces when she was seventy five. I thought that was a bit much.
    Aunt Jean looks that good because she probably has been using wrinkle cream for fifty years. Did you see her forehead? I have more lines than that.
    Karen, I am looking into buying Dollarama stock. Unfortunately none of them in the US. The other dollar stores are junky. Thanks Ann

  21. Shelly says:

    I don’t care how much surgery you have on your feet… They’ll still be ugly. They are freaking FEET. Tell me what you could possibly do to a human foot that would ever qualify it as “pretty.”

    Even Barbie has ugly feet.

    You can “pretty” feet up, I suppose, but in the end, it’s the equivalent of lipstick on a pig.

    That’s why we have pretty SHOES… So you pay no attention to the ugliness within!

  22. jenn b says:

    LOVE this post – of course, I’m biased against plastic surgery! Have a happy “clucky” Canada Day!!

  23. bluephatmom says:

    I agree wholeheartedly, although I always kinda wanted to just have one chin. Is it ok to have wrinkles and just ONE chin?

  24. Marti says:

    Oh thank the Lord this wasn’t another picture of your nekkid fella. My heart couldn’t take it. My eyeballs could (and would!) but the rest of me was starting to think about moving north, looking for a brother or cuz.


  25. Serena says:

    Fabulous post Karen and dead on! Have a great Canada Day weekend!

  26. Mary says:

    Have you ever read the book “I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Thoughts on Being a Woman” by Nora Ephron? It is hilarious…just like you! Sometimes I look down at my knees and wonder…how did my Mom attach her self to my body? Have a great day.

    • Karen says:

      Mary – I haven’t read Nora Ephron’s book but I’ve been wanting to read it for a while now. :) ~ karen

  27. Upscale Downhome says:

    Your Aunt Jean looks fabulous for 96! The wrinkle cream is working. I agree wholeheartedly to your thoughts on plastic surgery. Can’t anyone just be real anymore?

  28. Design Love says:

    Can you imagine if the wrinkle cream did work! How wierd would Aunt Jean look at 96 with 25 yr old skin? It would be great for awhile but by the time 75 rolled around, it would be just plain strange! We need to know it’s okay to age! Thanks for the post.


  29. paula says:

    Karen, Aunt Jean looks AH-MAZE-ING. 96??!! Wow. Happiness on the inside = Beauty on the outside. Loved this post. I’ve earned all of my wrinkles and my ‘arctic blondes’ too!!

  30. Jane says:

    Aunt Jean rocks! You are crazy and I love it!! Keep up the good posts!!!!

  31. Terri says:

    Read the book “Beauty Junkies” by Alex Kuczynski. WOW. I like to say that the lines on my face are “laugh lines”….all of them. Damn I’m happy….

  32. cred says:

    I think Aunt Jean should spend her money on a bungee jump. She’s doesn’t need wrinkle cream. Sure, she has wrinkles but she easily passes for someone at least 20 years younger.
    Perhaps a great spirit does more for a youthful appearance than being well-hydrated.

    Go for a bungee jump and knock 10 years off- or add 10, depending on how you feel about heights!

  33. shle896 says:

    I know it’s not politically correct to say so, but I think Joan Rivers looks great for pushing 50. I agree with you, too, that it’s admirable that she admits to it. All the celebrities that deny they’ve had plastic surgery are all a bunch of phonies!

  34. amber says:

    Mr. Pickles, where is the ‘like’ button? I agree!

  35. BTLover2 says:

    It’s too early… I meant best “post” yet (not posts) in that first line. Ugh.

  36. BTLover2 says:

    You made my day! I say this a lot (to myself), “Oh, this has to be Karen’s best posts yet” and so I’ll say it out loud. This has to be one of your best posts yet! Hilarious and true!

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Sherry! You’re not alone. Every so often I write a post and think … Well. That’s it. I’m done. I can’t write anything better than that. Or I think I’ve run out of ideas. I have nothing else to talk about. Might as well pack it in. Then a raccoon eats my BBQ baster or the fella comes home with a cardboard box full of chickens! ~ karen

  37. marilyn says:

    i think your aunt jean is beautiful and you are so lucky to have and aunt jean.

  38. pve says:

    Aunt Jean is a beauty!

  39. pve says:

    Did you know that wrinkles actually make the skin softer!
    Now that is a benefit!

  40. isea says:

    My grandmother is turning 97 in a month. Wrinkle Cream just made it to the top of the gift list, overtaking Shawl with Fringe and Old-Lady-Purse with Matching Fan.

  41. Shannon Clarke Devine says:

    Hi Karen

    Ha ha, for me this was your best one yet. And you Aunt Jean looks like a real fire cracker – love the colour of her earrings – I have a nail polish just like it!!
    Keep ’em coming.
    Shannon from sunny (well, cold and rainy today) but mostly sunny South Africa

  42. I love how the advert at the bottom of the post is for anti-wrinkle injections! The power of the internet!

  43. Fiona says:

    You might want to tell your Aunt Jean that it’s too late – she already has wrinkles. And no one is going to run screaming if she keeps smiling like that.

  44. Theresa says:

    I want them to be able to indentify me in a line up ( or in the Morgue).
    I want to be able to smile and laugh and talk with all my facial muscles when I’m Aunt Jean’s age. I do not want to have a bizzare frozen face with poofy tiny mouth that can only make goldfish like lip movements!
    KUDOS Karen !

  45. Bethany says:

    When I first saw the title of this post, I thought you’d come up withsome kind of DIY facelift technique. Needless to say, I’m disappointed. I’m 26 now, and those creases around my eyes are starting to look like they might be heading towards permanent, so I think it would be better to make a preemptive strike and start seeing a doctor monthly so he can inject poison into my face for the sake of making me look like I haven’t been alive as long as I have. Or had two kids. Or like I am human in any way. While I’m at it, I might get my lips injected so I can look like I have a shellfish allergy (it’s all the rage!) and then maybe have one of those “other” surgeries you mentioned. After all, I do have two kids.

    But seriously, great post. :)

  46. Mr. Pickles says:

    Mr. Pickles thinks that in this riduculous age of unattainable and unwantable botox-infested “beauty,” there is nothing more beautiful than a woman’s face who has aged naturally and says, “I earned these wrinkles.”

    • Miss Mederiff says:

      I was having my “yearly” the other day and, as he was doing the breast exam, the Doctor asked me if I had any concerns. I replied that, aside from the expected sagginess when one hit 49, things were fine. He offered me the name of a colleague who could perk them up for me, in case I was interested. Nah, I said, I figure my body is something like my 140 year old house, kind of crooked and broken in. If I were to completely renovate one room of the house, imagine how shabby the rest of the house would look. I’d be locked into continually renovating and rerenovating until the place had lost all its charm. I see, he said. Just get a supportive bra and no one but your doctor and your partner will know the difference. I am good with the foundation garments. Now if only I could find the architectural equivalent for my house.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Seed Starting Calculator

  • About Karen