I read a tidbit in the news today about how the fastest-growing cosmetic procedure in the U.S. right now is the chin implant; in the past year alone, the number of such procedures increased by 70%. Botox and breast augmentation are holding steady at the top, of course — amble bosoms and unfurrowed brows are still the standard-bearers of youth and beauty. But chin implants outpacing nose jobs and liposuction?
The speculation around the sudden popularity of the chin implant centered on a couple of theories. One, that in this digital age people are seeing themselves, especially their faces, on film more and more, and of course not liking what they see; and two, that a more prominent chin is perceived as an indicator of assertiveness and strength, and in an increasingly competitive economy people want to gain whatever advantages they can.
Whatever the motivation, I’m actually not all that surprised. We are a nation of double and triple chins, certainly; so of course we fetishize the chiseled appearance of a well-defined mandible. As more and more of our faces are becoming round indistinct palettes of flesh instead of sculpted monuments of expression, the trends in plastic surgery, I suspect, will continue to complement the country’s spiral into widespread obesity.
When we first started to let ourselves go, we longed to recover trim waists. Now we’re so far gone we’ll settle for the suggestion of cheekbones. Looking at the before and after photos of patients selecting chin augmentation, I couldn’t help thinking that they’d opted to shell out fifteen grand when they could have simply lost fifteen pounds and had almost the exact same result. With the added bonus of being fifteen pounds slimmer.
But that’s the new American way, isn’t it? Why work so hard to recover what should already be yours when you can take the expensive short cut? It may be a stretch to say that chin implants are symptomatic of the same attitude that gave this country an exploding deficit, but maybe it’s time to recognize the lengths we are willing to go to, individually and collectively, to avoid the obvious if difficult solutions to our unfortunate decline.
Well, that may be the new American way, but I’m going to stick with the old American way. While they’re pulling their chins out, I’ll be putting my chin up.