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Let’s talk about the big, important things in life. …

Like Pamela Anderson Lee having her breast implants removed. And
then, Ripley Believe It Or Not!’s Hollywood museum trying to get them
for an exhibit. Anything for immortality, huh. Geez, maybe they could
make the ordinary women of America consultants, and everybody could
donate them a spare tampon or diaphragm or IUD or two. Used bobby pins,
anyone? Just kidding, folks. But it does give one pause, doesn’t it?

Next thing we know, Pam — who told last October’s Cosmo “I
like being Barbie” — will expect us to take her seriously as an
actress, like you should pardon the expression, Courtney Love.

Oh, the things women do to their bodies in the name of beauty. That’s
what Ripley’s is after. They want to do a show about that. I bet I could
tell them some stuff, deep – dish, but this is a family newspaper, after
all.

Anyway, I can’t imagine that the Ripley museum will have a:

  • Big hair room.

  • Bad nosejob room.

  • I – became – an – anorexic/bulimic – for – my – boyfriend – but – he – left – me – anyway
    room.

  • Bound Chinese foot room, adjacent to the
    Stiletto – and – spike – heels – graveyard – and – broken – bones room.

  • Mom’s – corset – and – girdle room.

  • Toxic hair dye room.

  • Liposuction gallery of Hollywood stars before and after.

  • Yes – I – am – a – famous – NewYork – Socialite – who – got – recreational – plastic – surgery – so – I – could – look – like – my – cat
    room.

  • Pierced – scratched – scarred – body – parts room with a new glossary so
    the rest of us can understand the lingually impaired.

  • Help – I – removed – my – bottom – ribs – so – I – could – have – a – handspan – waist
    room.

  • I – zipped – myself – into – tight – elastic – jeans – and – never – escaped room.

  • I – became – a – bellydancer – to – get – my – husband – interested – again room.

  • Yes – my – capped – choppers – look – like – Chiclets – and – glow – in – the – dark – but – so – what
    room.

  • Interactive – Tapeworm – swallowing – for – models room.

  • I – painted – myself – naked – with – gold – paint – like – in – the – movies – and – nearly – died
    room.

  • Perhaps even a Silly – me room.

Or then again, maybe they will.

Even no-nonsense feminist icon Gloria Steinem, neither a Cher nor a
Michael Jackson, reportedly had HER eyelids done. And, writes nose-job
advocate Candace Dempsey
in MSN
Underwire, “I’m aware of the pressure put on women to perfect their
looks. When I read Elizabeth Haiken’s scary new book, Venus Envy: A
History of Plastic Surgery,

I was
amazed by the new phrases doctors dream up to justify operations on
women. ‘Bat wing deformity’ on the upper arms. ‘Spare tire deformity’ on
the middle. ‘Violin deformity,’ a.k.a. ‘saddlebags’ or ‘riding
breeches,’ on the hips.”

Elizabeth Haiken, a University of Tennessee historian, informs us
that nose jobs date back to 600 BC India. Right. First they fixed their
noses. Then they flung themselves on the burning funeral pyres of their
dead husbands. Like night follows day.

Why does all this bring to mind how legendary Frisco striptease Carol
Doda — a hilarious Mae West-type — was directed as a waiflike young
thing to “remake” herself in the va-va-va-voom department by a Svengali
who sent her to the surgeon to become more voluptuous, but then years
later she told me she wished she had her own breasts back? Or the time I
encountered an otherwise alluring fella of 44 who lived with his mom and
refused to date women without breast implants? They don’t call them
“boob jobs” for nothing.

And they’re everywhere. Captain Trash, the zany L.A. gonzo motorcycle
journalist/philosopher, once got paid to roam around California from bar
to bar on a magazine assignment to determine which women had what kind
of breast implants. He became an expert at 10 paces. It is my contention
that if the West Coast ever was flooded in a great natural disaster, it
COULDN’T sink because of the plethora of unnaturally endowed babes with
their pneumatic silicone and saline parts that could float a continent.

So I ask Richard Berger of San Francisco Art Institute
whether, as a professor of sculpture, he has
considered the possibility that Pam Lee’s removal of HER breast implants
will improve her aesthetically. “I can’t imagine relating to it as
improving ‘her’ — to me it’s like an accessory, like a Gucci bag,” he
says, adding, “I think the whole silicone deal is a tragic form of
mutilation.”

Do American men do stupid things like this? I don’t think so. When
they get to looking like they swallowed a medicine ball in their gut,
they can don a food-stained T-shirt and hope that will be enough of a
distraction. When they go bald, they might comb a few pathetic, pitiful
long strands of hair over the shiny spot, making their scalp look like
what Flannery O’Connor called “ham gravy on a plate.” They might get
hair plugs, and suffer what I call The Donald Trump Effect that no
amount of mega – bucks can remedy. They might wear a bad toupee that the
more daring would fling insouciantly at a bedpost during throes of
passion. They might take Propecia or Rogaine, and wait patiently for the
arrival of new fuzz like the return of the Messiah. They might avail
themselves of Viagra or Saw Palmetto, or have an operation installing
“the pump.” Believing “no pain, no gain,” they might undergo Spartan
training to run a race, or overexert themselves at the gym. But all in
all, men in our culture do not really seem to torture themselves in the
name of handsomeness the way women mutilate themselves in the name of
beauty. Er, maybe not as much.

“Maybe the day will come,” observes Beauty Therapist/Chiropractor
Dr. Lynn Kelly, “when women don’t think they
are their breasts.”

Besides, that territory has already been literally poached and
plundered … by a man. Novelist Philip Roth, the literary showoff,
wrote “The Breast” in 1972, a Kafka pastiche wherein a guy is
transformed not into a giant cockroach, but a mammoth mammary.

Perhaps Plato is right, that the beginning of all philosophical
activity is the love and admiration of the Beautiful.

Are we talking about vanity here? Has the word vanity evanesced into
the ether, applying now only to license plates? Or have we, as a
country, truly come a long way? After all, the Flappers, those vampy
party girls of the Twenties, used to bind their breasts for that boyish
flat look. No wonder that trend was followed by … the Great
Depression!

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