Bigger, Smaller, Tighter, Higher, Or: Dr Frankenstein Alive and Well in Beverly Hills

16 Dec

I’m sure you realize, Dear Reader, that blogging isn’t all fun and games. There’s a certain amount of visiting the trenches required.  In LaLaLand, that means one must leave Wilshire Boulevard for the dark and air-purified office of a plastic surgeon. Because I am a research warrior.  Because I did not come here to sit idly by like Prufrock, “watching women come and go,” speaking of collagen, lipoplasty, augmentation, and not to know. . .I have to know.
Also.  There comes a time in every woman’s life where she pulls her hair very tightly, as if mom were putting it into a ponytail, and notes that that’s how she looked five, ten, or fifteen years ago. Then the ponytail comes down, and there you have it. The face of your mother. Or aunt, or some other old woman who resembles you. You can accept this and treasure your inner beauty, or you can start to scan the women all around you, wondering what *she’s* had done. In Beverly Hills, that would be everything: from Botox to tummy tucks to multi-tasking surgery that simultaneously makes some things smaller and others things bigger, everything tighter.  What do *I* need, you wonder. Which part  is the most egregious–the lines around the eyes, the jowly chin, or (new and revolting vocab) the puffy nasolabial folds?

So there I was, in the name of research and my nasolabial folds sitting in the waiting room of Dr. T with two other women and, on the table, an orchid as big as a golden retriever. Southern California likes things  BIG. Unless it likes things  SMALL. I could hear a man laughing behind the door to the office. Over and over he said, “Renee, Did you see that? Do you like my invention?” Renee seemed to be laughing weakly in response. I turned in the 10-pages of medical forms, and standing next to the secretary was a large orange-haired man with a face stretched from ear to ear. His eyes darted back and forth inside a mask of pink and blue veined skin.  He wasn’t unappealing; he was just. . .stretched. He smiled at me. I gave him my researcher’s stare, knowing full well he was sizing up my nasolabial folds.

I was led to a room by a nurse–Renee. She had boobs and lips as big as a golden retriever. But they weren’t friendly like a golden retriever; they seemed more German shepherd–like in their affect. I didn’t want to pat them.  She showed me where to sit, and then put a book in my lap. A book of photographs, hundreds of Before and After photographs.

I was looking at the egos and fears and fantasies of strangers as embodied in their surgically  “improved” noses and eyes and chins and chests and bellies and breasts and thighs and butts. Some of the Before bodies were to me a little alarming in their largeness.   In a world where symmetry and svelte is sexy, these people must have felt  their bodies were a burdensome, or worse,  disfigured. The after pictures were not exactly reassuring. . .smaller, more ordinary, less noticeable, yes, but how did that make the person feel? More acceptable?  Turn the page and there were small breasts that become large and round after surgery. Big to small, small to big. I had to put the book aside. The last section was concerned with genitalia.

“HELLO!”  Dr. T, the big orange-haired man walked in, looked hard into my eyes. Or at my droopy lids, difficult to say. He ruffled through my paper work and noted that I had lived in Ithaca before arriving in SoCal.

“Ever heard of Potsdam? I went to college at SUNY-Potsdam.”  I had heard of it, and said so, and he started to tell me about it, and then shone a big light on my face and asked, “What can we do for you?” I began by explaining that this was only a consultation, and that I didn’t like the way most middle-age Beverly Hills women looked plastic-y.

“You’ve seen my work?” Dr T pointed to his yearbook of surgeries. “I’m not like other surgeons. “I don’t do fake. I create beauty. I am an artist.”

“I see. . .”

“I’m also an inventor! Look at this!” He pulled out a piece of metal, about 5 inches long, covered in gauze. “Know what this is?” I had no idea. I really just wanted to talk about my nasolabial folds.

“This, Professor, is a penis-pusher.”  By calling me “Professor,” was he doing that coy/ condescending thing non-academics sometimes do, or did he love alliteration?

Dr. T showed me how his contraption would make a man’s stuff appear to pop out in a bathing suit or underwear. He’d just made it up, with a patient (who was, presumably, requesting a pop-out penis) a few minutes ago. I laughed until tears rolled down my nasolabial folds.

Then he opened his book and flipped to the back of the book. Please, no, I thought. And in the wink of an eye he reached in a drawer and pulled out a thin square of metal with ten or twelve perfect circle holes in it–different sizes. Please no.

“A template,” Dr. T explained. He turned a page and showed me a photo of a penis that was dangling through one of the holes. Turned the page and a penis was dangling through another–larger–hole. “I enhanced his size with his own scrotum skin.”

I told you, Dear Reader,  that getting blog material isn’t all fun and games. Right about the time he turned the page to the female genitalia, I announced, “I came here for a consult, and it’s not about my . . .well, I mean, that is just disgusting.”

Dr. T looked unimpressed, like he’d heard that before. “Well, you never know. . .” he smiled his waxy Santa Claus-y smile.

We had a consult. I will not lie; I let this insane wizard Frankenstein man put a vial of stuff in my face. He gave me a discount because, he said, “you lived in upstate New York for twenty years.”  And because “I know you will be back.” What did that mean?

Meeting me later in Starbucks, Noah noticed immediately, but didn’t say anything. When I confessed, he said, “I was thinking your face looked pillow-y.” That’s not exactly what I was going for, but it’s better than haggard old woman-y. Or not. . . Then we discussed beauty, body-image, and it eventually got around to the soul. I got a little pretentious and quoted a line from Donne’s “Ecstasy”: “Love’s mysteries in souls do grow,/But yet the body is  his book.”

Books are edited and revised, right?


My body, my  book, chapter after chapter:  the story of being mortal.


9 Responses to “Bigger, Smaller, Tighter, Higher, Or: Dr Frankenstein Alive and Well in Beverly Hills”

  1. carol leseure December 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Funnier than hell! Good for you, K.


  2. elainemansfield December 19, 2013 at 3:43 am #

    My God, Kirsten. Yes, funny as hell, but you let this guy touch your beautiful face? So much plastic surgery produces faces that look OK in a still photograph, but don’t move–and I assume aging movie stars had good surgeons. I can’t read the emotions. Where are the forehead wrinkles and why are the lips immobile? But what do I know? I’m from Ithaca, attached to gray hair and dark circles (we all have them here). But I want to see your before and after photos, please, because you never know what you’ll need next. Listen to Noah. He’ll tell the truth. (My sons tell me the truth a little too often sometimes.)


    • kwasson2012 December 19, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

      Hi Elaine,
      The sad truth is that it’s so well done, (if it’s well done) it just looks like you got a good night’s sleep (so I tell myself.) What one sees on the movie stars, and lots of people in Beverly Hills is an over the top waxy weirdness that involved actual surgery. People kept telling me I looked tired. No, not tired, just older!
      It was an experiment–wears off in 6 months. Don’t know if I’ll do it again. But thank you for being concerned!!!!!


  3. Abby December 24, 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Hi Kirsten!

    I saw a review of this movie and thought it might be up your alley:

    Love your blog, I read every post. Have a great Christmas!



    • kwasson2012 December 25, 2013 at 8:06 am #

      Thank you, Abby! I will definitely look this movie up!! Have a great Christmas yourself. I think of you all the time.


  4. nic December 27, 2013 at 7:06 pm #

    This might be your best blog yet–hilarious stuff!! I identified with every word!!
    Soulful and shallow. Oh, the condition of the Human. Being.


    • kwasson2012 December 27, 2013 at 7:09 pm #

      The human. Being. Love that! Thank you for reading!



  1. Bigger, Smaller, Tighter, Higher, Or: Dr Frankenstein Alive and Well in Beverly Hills | lostandlaughinginla - December 16, 2013

    […] Bigger, Smaller, Tighter, Higher, Or: Dr Frankenstein Alive and Well in Beverly Hills. […]


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