Only Online! An Excerpt from Joan Rivers' Book
Read an excerpt below from Joan Rivers' Men Are Stupid ... And They Like Big Boobs: A Woman's Guide to Beauty Through Plastic Surgery.
[NOTE: For mature audiences only.]
How to Find That Great Plastic Surgeon or Dermatologist
Start by asking everyone you know. And by "everyone," I mean:
Your hair stylist. He sees the hidden scars in hairlines and behind the ears day after day. He looks down blouses for hours, even though he's got absolutely no interest. He's seen good boob jobs and lousy ones. Believe me, he's an expert on who does great work and who doesn't. And I'll bet you he can rattle off names and phone numbers.
Your primary-care doctor, or gynecologist. He sees it all, he's heard all the horror stories, seen all the successes. But beware if he recommends himself to do your Restylane or other injections. Always go with a specialist!
Friends and acquaintances. They might be a close or just a casual friend. You might feel a tad uncomfortable going up to her at a party, pointing at her boobs, and asking where she got 'em. But if she has implants, I promise you, she's not a shy type, and would probably drop her halter to let you feel them while singing the praises of her surgeon. If so, check out her scars. Take the opportunities when they come. Most women are happy and proud to share. Be aware that women will tell you who did their breasts, while looking at you through newly lifted eyes, totally denying they've done anything to their face.
Google. For women who simply cannot bring themselves to get referrals from people, the Internet is your friend! Use it as often as your vibrator. Do Google searches (for example, "best plastic surgeons in NYC" or "best plastic surgeons in Wichita"). A lot of regional magazines do annual roundups on the best doctors in the area, so try a search for the article in the local publication's website. Also, go to one of my favorite resources -- www.plasticsurgery.org -- to do a search of surgeons in your zip code, along with a coding system of recommendations and links to individual doctor's websites.
How to Crack a Tough Nut
Many women have a secret cosmetic surgery life. You know the type: Everyone knows she's having work done, but she refuses to admit it. You might even know a woman who claims her perfect skin is due to a vacation on the island of St. Bart's, when it was actually St. Bart's Medical Center. Robert Redford had a face lift but said he was just rested. That's partially true. He fell asleep on the operating table.
If a woman is out of the plastic surgery closet, you could ask her for her doctor's name. But if she's not, you can't. What you can do, however, is be circumspect, and try these strategies.
Give to get. Make like you have no idea she's been peeled/lifted/Botoxed, and confide to her that you fantasize about having skin just like hers. Go on and on about how much you hate your skin. Lay it on thick. She'll surely give you a referral, probably couched ("a friend of mine told me about Doctor X").
Go passive-aggressive. By that, I mean send an email. I get a hundred spam emails a day asking if my erections are as hard as they used to be (and, thanks to Viagra, I'm proud to report that they are). Or if I'd like to join the Hoodia revolution. Why can't you shoot off a note that reads, "Hello! How are you? I'm fine, thanks. Actually, I'm not fine. I have a hateful bump on my nose that I desperately want to change. I've been casting a wide net, asking for referrals, and since you're so together and polished, I thought you might have a friend who can give me the name of a great doctor."
She’ll spill. Oh, yes, she will spill.
By the way, this formula (self-deprecation + flattery = putty in your hands) works on just about anyone, from a housekeeper to a federal court judge.
Once you have a short list of qualified doctors, narrow it down to three names. How to shrink an already selective list? With the precision of a surgeon's scalpel. It's a buyer's market. Surgeons, even qualified, experienced types, are a dime a dozen. Remember, you are in control. You are The Decider, so first of all:
Verify his qualifications. What you're looking for is board certification in plastic surgery, or board certification in dermatology, depending on what you want done. Board certification in a specialty means the doctor has had years of training in that specialty. Just as you wouldn't go to a plastic surgeon for a heart transplant, you shouldn't go to a podiatrist for a nose job. Or a dermatologist for a nose job, for that matter. To extract the blackheads on your nose, yes, run to Dr. Skin. But to have the skin on the nose peeled back like a grape, go to a surgeon who has shaved hundreds if not thousands of nasal humps.
To check a doc's board certification and specialty, go to www.abms.org, the website for the American Board of Medical Specialties. Once there, you have to register your email address and a password. It's really simple. I did it myself, without having to hire another assistant. Then, you follow prompts to enter your doctor's name. And there he should be. Board-certified as a specialist in plastic surgery, just like the diploma on his wall says. For further refinement, go to www.plasticsurgery.org, the website for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons. They list doctors who have specialties in plastic surgery, at least six years of training and experience in surgery, with three years specifically in plastic surgery, who are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, who work out of an accredited facility (look for the American Association for Accreditation of Ambulatory Surgical Facilities' stamp of approval). It's as close to a comprehensive and complete credentials check as you can do online. Next,
Visit the doctor's website. I've got my own website (www.joanrivers.com), and I take a lot of pride in its appearance and content. Keeping an updated blog and posting photos is the least I can do for my fans -- well, fan. I expect a doctor to maintain a website as a service to potential customers. If he doesn't have one, or his website is cheesy and hard to navigate, forget it. In what other business is presentation more important? On his site, you need to find a nice gallery of "before" and "after" photos. Also, read some of the patient testimonials (often very touching; they might make you cry). Of course, check out the doctor's photo and feel free to judge him on his appearance. You've heard the expression, "Never trust a skinny chef." How about: "Never trust an ugly plastic surgeon," or "Never trust an acne-scarred dermatologist." Then:
Call his office. Who answers the phone? Is it a friendly, helpful person, or a disinterested snippy asswipe? If you wanted to deal with a rude, barely conscious robot, you'd seek out a saleslady at Chanel. At a doctor's office, you want to be treated with respect. Are you put on hold? Long enough to piss you off? Long enough to hang up? Or are you catered to, spoken kindly to, paid the proper attention? If you like them, make an appointment for a consultation. Some doctors charge for the initial office visit; most don't.
Last, you must meet the doctor face to face. Also important, you need to see his office and surgical facility. And his receptionist, as she'll be the one you'll be dealing with. And his nurses (likewise). In the waiting room, you'll get to talk to some of his patients, see how happy/unhappy they've been. Believe me, unhappy patients will be bursting to tell you their complaints. Often, in the waiting room, doctors have binders of before-and-after photos to flip through -- an excellent way to pass time. His waiting room should also have comfortable, clean seating, current magazines, nicely arranged, and some soothing music piped in. You'll be spending a lot of time there. Why shouldn't every aspect of the experience be pleasant?
In your city, there are probably fifty doctors who would bare-knuckle fight for your business. You should expect and receive the best.
Two Important Warnings
Warning #1: I beg you, do not be tempted by the classified ads in the newspaper, the type that screams, "Three-Area Lipo, No Money Down!" The low prices might catch your attention. But is hiring a surgeon the right time to go bargain hunting? As a plastic surgeon friend puts it, "Doctors know what they're worth, and they create a price list based on that." An expensive surgeon has the experience and results to back up his pricing. Listen to me! You get what you pay for in life, from shoes to surgeons. Inexpensive pumps fall apart in a season. A bargain boob job? In a year, you'll pay more to have the implants removed.
Cheap ends up expensive, and expensive ends up cheap.
Do not feel tempted to save a buck and go overseas to Asia or Eastern Europe for bargain-basement-priced plastic surgery. This new trend, called "surgery safaris," which combines a tourist vacation to, say, Thai-land or Greece, with a nose job and breast lift, is a booming business of some $100 million a year. The problem(s) with having operations abroad: 1) there's no guarantee the doctor or hospital is up to standards, 2) you won't be able to go in for follow-up visits, and, the biggie, 3) if something goes wrong, like the account I read of a woman who went to a developing country for a face lift and came home with her ears behind her head, you will have to pay the full freight for a do-over (if possible) back home anyway.
For that matter, don't go for a bargain in the States, either. Say you go to an unqualified, inexpensive surgeon, and wind up with a nose job that looks like the roll of pennies you used to pay for it. You'll have to have it corrected with another surgery, and wind up paying more than you would have had you gone to the expensive surgeon in the first place.
Or, as my old Irish grandmother used to say, "Buy well, weep once."
Warning #2: Get ready for sticker shock. The flat belly of your dreams? It may cost you the price of a renovated bathroom. A breast reduction? That's your anniversary vacation in Paris. A year of Botox Cosmetic? Good-bye Hamptons rental. It's about priorities. Do you want a new face or a new patio? Even if you've got a two-hour commute, you've got a twenty-four-hour face.
As I've always said, take your pick: Is it better to have a new face getting out of an old car, or an old face getting out of a new car? If you're hankering for a change, put off your vacation and renew your lease on the clunker. Tolerate the hardwater stains on the tub for a bit longer, and get that cosmetic procedure.
Some other quick cautions about picking a doctor. Run the other way if:
• He carries a copy of Plastic Surgery for Dummies under his arm.
• His diploma is from Jugs "R" Us Academy.
• He jokes that his receptionist is his "patients' spare parts."
• His name is Dr. Frankenstein.
• Or Dr. Kevorkian.
• He's so cocky about his work, he signs his name on all his patients' rear ends.
• He has a sub-specialty in taxidermy.
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