January 05, 2005

Different faces, other places

Tomorrow my mom is going to have her face, shall we say, rejuvenated. This woman has only been in close contact with a physician four other times in her life: twice, to have babies (my brother was almost born in the revolving doors at Lenox Hill, but that is a tale for another time) and twice, for minor cosmetic procedures. This one, clocking in at 6+ hours of surgery time, is major.

It is also the first time my mother has seen a doctor outside the borders of our city almost since I was born. Then again, the local hospital best known for its cosmetic procedures here was last in the news when a prominent writer went in to have her eyes done, and didn't make it out alive. Perhaps they will take better care in Florida. She'll be staying with her best friend (who had her face done by the same doctor), and I'm sure her friend Sandy will take good care of her.

Sandy and I are both proponents of the better-living-through-chemisty school: we can discuss migraine meds and depression/anxiety meds long after my mom's eyes have glazed over, and not due to alcohol consumption. Pharmacists R Us, you might say.

Digression: This blog is obviously not dedicated to big issues of our time. Otherwise there would be far more about, say, the recent tsunami distaster, or, closer to my home and heart, the political and economic situation in Haiti, and why each needs funding.

No, I stick with smaller, more domestic meanderings: I realize my area of control is narrow, though my area of bewilderment is wide.

For example, why is my college classmate's second husband staying with her /a>after DNA tests have proved he's not the biological father of her child? He is over 60, and has been publically cuckholded. What does he see in her? She's a bright woman, but her actions bewilder me. How do you tell your kid, your Daddy isn't who you think he is? And when do you say so? Especially if your child's paternity has been bandied about for months in some of the better periodicals of our time.

As a woman I know in her early 50s who is coming off a second divorce, said: "I don't even know how to flirt." I'm with her. In a screwball comedy of the 1940s, my classmate would have come off looking like my perception of a ditzy broad -- but one whom you had better not cross. Looks like an angel, acts like Ghengis Kahn.

Mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Okay, that also applies to me and the people with whom I have involved myself romantically, so I do understand the attraction. Mad, bad, and dangerous to know is initially quite seductive.

The movie The Women springs to mind as an instructional video. Alas, I didn't study it when I was young enough for it to have made such an impression on me, and while I'm sure I manipulated my parents, the idea didn't really carry over into adulthood, or I would have become one of the inmates running the asylum.

From my feminist vantage point, the idea of a woman manipulating rich and powerful men seems antiquated, particularly since she is wealthy and powerful in her own right. However, I don't know this woman well, just enough to know that she has proven herself opportunistic.

Ironic, given why the first refugees (the Mayflower contingent) came here to escape the tyranny of their culture at the time, that my classmate will probably end up back across the pond. I can't imagine her degree in Victorian Studies will be useful, but I think she'll do just fine without applying herself academically. Certainly she has succeeded thus far, and whether she returns to her native L.A. or to my own town, neither has a shortage of rich and powerful men, nor immigrants willing to serve as nannies.

It is easier to reinvent oneself in a country like ours, with such a short attention span and a strong ability to ignore almost anything outside our borders, apart,perhaps, from where U.S. troops are deployed (there's a war on, remember?), than it would be in any former Commonwealth country -- Canada, South Africa, Australia, and other former U.K. possessions, where this scandal has made the front page on numerous occasions.

For her children's sake, I wish her luck. Failing that, I wish the children have access to excellent therapy. They are going to need it.


Blogger Robin said...

That was fun to read. I feel like I've been on the roller coaster with you.

9:50 PM  

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