What Happened to Us?

11 Dec

I know this woman–I know many women, more than would probably admit to knowing me–the fiance of my close friend’s brother (if you were hoping for some comically drawn out web of relationships connecting me to this quite possibly imaginary woman, well, so was I) who recently commented that she wished she were on Bridal Plasty. Now this girl is twenty-two and smokin hot (not that it’s relevant to this discussion), and she not only thinks she needs plastic surgery, it sometimes seems that she’s obsessed with the idea that she needs it–in her words she “would want so much done it’s not even funny.” What. the. fuck.

Let it be known that I do not watch television. I do not own a television. I have never paid a cable television subscription bill in my life. So I had to look up this show. It’s on E!. Being on a television network that includes punctuation in its name was a big red flag to my brain. I regrettably let my fingers surf through Google to find the show’s website. Fuck flash. Right off the bat there’s the asinine auto-play trailer made possible by Adobe’s bloated, disease-ridden crappile of a platform. The voice over:

[Cue romantic engagement photos, slow tempo violins]

There’s nothing like a starting a new life with a brand new…

[Cue mainstream rock band pretending not to be; up tempo]

EVERYTHING! Sundays on E! these brides will fight each other to win the ultimate celebrity wedding and their perfect dream body.

[Footage of quarreling women fighting to have their psychiatric issues cured by letting a highly trained surgeon cut them, rather than doing it themselves like usual]

Jesus. fucking. christ.

After cleaning the vomit from my shoes, I opted to “Meet the Brides.” A comely bunch, not one of them is ugly to begin with. A few are definitely overweight, but so what? In this country–have you been out in public around here? Most people are. Almost two-thirds of them anyway. Sure, none of the women have ‘prefect’ faces (whatever the fuck that even means). So what? What part of any of that justifies what I just watched? Watch that trailer. Hear their voices. The strain, the frustration, the anger–the emotional stakes are clear. And insane. And America is tuning in (apparently) to watch them. It’s sick if you think about.

I’m not opposed to plastic surgery a priori (though I do dislike breast augmentation; I do not want to be groping the same stuff used to glue my bathtub to the wall–no, don’t write me about the difference between silicone caulks and silicone gels, that’s not the point, both are unattractive). It has its place. What bothers me is this sick obsession I see all around me with being something, rather than being. We want the perfect Hollywood face–so I’ll take two nose jobs, a lift, a little cheek lipo please! My own face isn’t good enough–yes, my mother gave it to me, and that’s why I resent her so much–give me someone else’s face because I hate looking at myself in the mirror.

You see, being is work. You have to do it every second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year of your life. But being something? Playing at fantasy narratives constructed around our self-hatred? That’s easy. I am a lawyer, I am a homeowner, I am a model, I am every invented category I jerked off to as thirteen year-old in the back of a run-down movie theater, I am a beautiful fucking snowflake. Never I am. And if you aren’t, then you’re already dead. Your body just hasn’t figured it out yet.

Watching that trailer, seeing those women, hearing people hate themselves, hate being, day in and day out–it makes me weep.

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