A Plastic State of Mind

Woman trrying to decide about breast augmentation

My Body, My Self

A Plastic State of Mind

To augment, or not to augment? That was my question…

-Nadine Haobsh

A year ago, I left my sheltered existence writing in the English countryside to take a job working for two wonderful, down-to-earth plastic surgeons in Beverly Hills. I’ve never been the skinniest filly in the stable, but I’ve always had relatively solid self-esteem, positive body image, and a healthy awareness of my place in the female universe.

Woman with melonsAnd then I moved to LA.

In my work building, a hop, skip and a jump from the Hustler store, and not two miles from the Playboy Mansion, I quickly discovered I was the only female employee who had not had plastic surgery. The only one. Women passed through our operating room in a revolving door of neuroses: this one undergoing her third surgery in 18 months because she couldn’t get the boobs just right; that one going in for the full Swan-style Bionic overhaul (lipo of thighs, stomach, flanks and knees; tummy tuck; boob job number two; cheek implants; and revision rhinoplasty); one of our very own employees obsessing that her quite lovely C-cup breasts were ugly and awful and needed to be redone (read: made bigger and perkier) immediately.

So then there’s me. I’m a AA cup on a good day (we’re talking microscopic, nipples-slapped-on-taut-skin, couldn’t-fake-cleavage-if-I-tried, prepubescent moundlettes of flesh here, people) and have been cursed/blessed with what might optimistically be called a JLo booty and Beyonce thighs. The term “pear shaped” was coined to describe women with bodies like mine, but, of course, variety is the spice of life, no? We come in all shapes and sizes, and women are not One-Size-Fits-All Barbies, and screw any man who passes me over because I don’t look like Suzi the Porn Star who lives next door! (This is LA, mind you. Porn stars do, indeed, live next door.)

But the truth is, seeing all these women fretting over their gorgeous bodies did a number on me. If they weren’t happy when they looked in the mirror, what kind of grotesque, misshapen, lumpy ogre must I be? I’d thought about surgery in passing before, looking at my naked body as I stepped out of the shower and imagining what it would be like to have slim, colt-like legs and glorious B or C-cup breasts-you know, breasts that were normal. Breasts that didn’t invite comparisons to the chests of 12-year-old boys.

Working in this funhouse, however, my passing, not-at-all-serious surgical thoughts suddenly became a reality. An opportunity clunked into my lap, and before I knew it, I had the doctor, the anesthesiologist and the nurse all agreeing to work on me…for free. “Do it, do it!” they chanted in the hallway as I passed them, expressing my latent misgivings. “You’ll be so much happier!” they chorused, shrugging off concerns that I would no longer feel like me.

The surgery date approached, and I began having trouble sleeping. One day, a week before I was scheduled to go under the knife for the Hollywood-approved body of my dreams, I had an epiphany. Someday, were I blessed enough, I would be mother to a child, perhaps a daughter. I would love this daughter no matter what, and would work tirelessly to bolster her self-esteem, raise her strong and proud, and make her fearless and confident in this nutso world. What would happen the first time playground or middle-school mean girls taunted my little girl about some imagined flaw, and I cheered, “You’re beautiful, just as you are. Not a thing needs to change.” Would she then look at me and say innocently, “But, Mommy…didn’t you have plastic surgery? Why did you need to change?”

It’s corny, to be sure, but it was a real stab of truth through my heart. I went to bed resolved to cancel the surgery first thing in the morning and slept well for the first time in weeks. And now, when I stroll down Sunset Boulevard for lunch, passing the scantily-clad Amazon mannequins in the Hustler Store window, I breathe a mental sigh of relief that I managed to escape that beauty hamster-wheel of perpetual unrest.

Surgery works for some people: I have plenty of family members and friends who had one small issue that bothered them their entire life, and they fixed it, and they moved on. They’ve never given it a second glance, and I truly believe, in that small way, they’re happier for it.

As for me, however, I’m okay, LA-be-damned. What I see in the mirror isn’t objectively perfect, but it’s me, and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just maybe, my future daughter would be proud.

Nadine Haobsh is a former beauty editor, having worked at Lucky, Ladies’ Home Journal, FHM and Jane. She is the author of Beauty Confidential and Confessions of a Beauty Addict, and keeps the internationally popular beauty blog, Jolie Nadine.


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0 thoughts on “A Plastic State of Mind

  1. Manicmommy says:

    I am SO happy to have gotten to the end of this article and read that YOU DID NOT GO THROUGH WITH IT! SO HAPPY! And your story made me equally happy that I don’t live near the land of the fakes. Why is their perception so skewed? Why can’t we all be happy with what we have been given? Thank you so much for sharing your story on Betty, and for being happy with yourself. I am sure you are beautiful! I look at the women on the show Rock of Love and laugh at how foolish they look with their plumped up lips and PUMPED up Ta-Tas and I think, ARE THEY FOR REAL? How can anyone take them seriously?

    You are REAL! You are YOU! I hope you have a daughter someday because you will instill goodness and wonderful self-esteem in her!

  2. CM-JJordan says:

    It’s amazing to read stories like this about a woman who’s learned to be happy with her beautiful, natural body. Also, very well-written and witty. If you do have a daughter, you and she will both be proud, confident women. :)

  3. kmckenney2 says:

    The woman you described in your article is the woman I’ve always known and a very good friend. Well done for keeping it real in Lala land.

  4. TheBeautyBunny says:

    Great article, Nadine! I love your writing style and I can’t wait to read the rest of your new book :-)

  5. SpinDiva says:

    I have thought about making myself over many times and I do have a teen and a 6 yo daughter so for them I think the same thing, what if they ask why I fixed my body? Can’t they do the same? I don’t want that for them so I’ll just keep working hard at looking and feeling good just the way I am. Thanks Nadine. You confirmed my feelings about this.

  6. amominred says:

    Ha! Love that picture :)

    I love your reasoning! I’ve given some not-so-serious thought to breast enhancement myself. While, in theory, I’d like my tops to be more full, I couldn’t bring myself to have the surgery for such a frivolous reason. There is a way to dress a small chest and be stunning :)

    Also, my kids need to learn that how you are made is beautiful and having surgery would certainly be contradictory to that!

    Bravo for thinking ahead :)

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