Terry Prone: Where’s the shame in saying you went under the knife?
When Victoria Beckham comes out and admits she had the breast implants removed, we all go: “Fair dues to her, isn't she honest, all the same?”
And she is. Right now. Present tense. She wasn't so honest when she had the implants put in more than a decade ago.
Back then, this incredibly thin woman suddenly developed boobs she'd never had before. They were extraordinary. They weren't quite as noticeable as if someone stuck two golf balls on the handle of a brush, but it was a close-run thing. They could not have happened naturally.
But Victoria did not, at the time, admit any surgical enhancement. Worse, she straight up denied having interfered with her bustline except by the use of push-up bras and a bit of support tape.
Everybody knew that the silhouette she had could not have been achieved by the most aggressive of “Hello, Boys” bras, but people just shrugged and let her pretend.
That's the way it always was, about cosmetic surgery, on this side of the Atlantic. You could not afford to admit to it.
When, a few years ago, I wrote a book about having had several outbreaks of cosmetic surgery, one of my colleagues was sure that me admitting to it would destroy the whole company.”Customers won't take us seriously anymore,” he said.
I went ahead with the book and its publication had not the smallest effect on our business.
One man, arriving at my office the week after the main publicity about Mirror, Mirror, told me his wife had told him to check if I had facelift scars behind my ears, but he didn't seem that eager to follow her instructions. I told him to tell her those scars are hidden in your hair by any decent plastic surgeon.
The people who used to get really upset about plastic surgery were always young female journalists. The ones who arrive to meet you all false nails, hair extensions and mascara as thick as the mud on your hubcap after a long journey.
They’re the same ones who disapprovingly ask you if it would not be better to grow old gracefully than have a browlift or some other kind of procedure.
They never spot the contradiction between wanting to look your best when you're 20 by one method, and wanting |to look your best a few decades later by |another method.
In the last couple of years, the stigma around plastic surgery has certainly died down a bit. But it hasn't gone away.
Now and again, when they discover I've had “work done” some people start checking on my mental health, implying that you have to be not well in the head to have cosmetic surgery.
That's lessening, mainly because so many minor procedures are now available so early at a relatively small cost. Long before gravity drags your face into needing uplift, fillers can soften wrinkles, particularly the “drawstring” puckers around the mouths of smokers.
In similar style, Botox can smooth out that ploughed field on your forehead and, at the same time cure your migraine headaches, if you're unfortunate enough to have them, too.
Prevention, rather than cure, is now the way to go, when it comes to improving your appearance. Lasers can take the hair off |your legs, the spectacles off your nose and the brown age spots off your shoulders.
These interventions have helped make cosmetic surgery normal. That's why Victoria Beckham has now admitted to maybe having purchased the boobs that she has since gotten rid of. Because the stigma's gone, the shame has evaporated.
These days, you can confess to having work done – and be praised for honesty.