Dear Fay Weldon
You say you've lost some wrinkles and bags - courtesy of a Hollywood plastic surgeon - but have you also lost your mind?
Tuesday 05 September 1995
Fay, have you gone stark, raving mad? You claim to have been inspired into such ludicrous action by your au pair girls getting nose jobs! Such lofty inspiration.
Don't for one minute think that I am a puritanical PC feminist - I'm more of the "lipstick feminist with the fuck me shoes" type that Germaine Greer identified - but I can't help feeling outraged by your facile attitude to cosmetic surgery.
This is not merely a Peter Pan complex, it's an embarrassingly painful addiction to youth - at the age of 63. First we have Shirley Conran making a fool of herself, now you. You're not obliged to age gracefully - please be as disgraceful as you like - but you don't need to be obsessed by youth.
And I was just feeling pleased for you. Your husband, Ron, (he who inspired your book Affliction by being too influenced by his therapist) dumped you after years of marriage (and later died), but in your usual feisty form you regenerated yourself, found a new fella and appeared to be in sparklingly perky spirits.
Little did I realise you were about to embark on an orgy of mutilation. First your eyes - you had the lids lifted to remove the hooded effect (which apparently makes anyone over the age of 25 focus differently and feel less confident, which I have obviously been completely ignorant of because I haven't noticed), then you went on to have your upper face lifted.
Of course, this was all done in Hollywood, where, as you say, "everyone has plastic surgery all the time". In fact, it all seems so natural and healthy to be cut up in Hollywood that you decided "it seemed, well, fun to have some myself".
You sound silly, girlish, euphoric. "The possibilities are endlessly exciting," you trill like a teenager who has just discovered snogging. Ah, there's the nub. In fact, this whole horrible process is linked to you rediscovering your sexuality.
Don't get me wrong. I love seeing older women look feminine, sexy and confident in their bodies. But it's about being comfortable with your sexuality (didn't those years of therapy help?), not splashing out on expensive surgery. All this preaching for cosmetic mutilation in the cause of sexiness is severely deluded. I saw the photos of you before the ops and you looked fine. OK, you didn't look like Pamela Anderson, but why would you want to?
Frankly, Fay, you sound as though you've entered the cocoon (and I use this word advisedly) of age crisis. Instead of accepting mortality sensually, poetically, philosophically, you have gone into a panic-driven spiral of denial. I need to tell you that facelifts are not the answer.
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