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Book Review – Lois Stern’s "Sex, Lies and Cosmetic Surgery"

Lois Stern starts where some of the other books on the subject seem to stop:  with the questions we really, really want to ask but seldom do; with the answers we really want to have, but can’t seem to find.

Stern did the work.  She conducted over 100 in-depth and intimate interviews with women.  She had some work done herself, so she’s got cred.  She tells the truth about her own experience, pushes aside some of the same old questions, (Am I a good candidate for X?  Should I tell anyone or just pretend it’s the same old me?) and moves into fresh new territory.

She tells us certain questions come up over and over again – and that one of the most frequently asked by women before they have cosmetic surgery is this: “Will I be happier later?”  That’s such an honest question, and Stern finds it again and again as she listens to women’s stories.  We happen to think that a well-adjusted person who has cosmetic surgery can definitely be happier later.  [Hint: and they seem to think so, too.]  I mean, if you’ve gone through life feeling self conscious about your (insert body part here ________), you know the euphoria one can feel to look in the mirror and see sleek thighs where saddlebags once lived, or to see bright, flashing eyes that were once taken hostage by drooping lids and crinkled skin.

Lois Stern did her homework.  She has extensive checklists. She has advice.  She talks about how we have to step up to the plate and partner with our doctor if we want to get the best possible results.  That means, among other things, coming clean about the prescriptions and non-rx meds we take, the truth about how and what we eat, our lifestyle habits (yeah, you…do you really go to the gym 5 days a week?  If not, say so!) and so on.  You can’t expect a surgeon to give you the best outcome if you give the bare minimum in terms of information, do you? This is an adult-to-adult collaboration, not Gepetto carving his wooden doll).

And if you don’t pick an experienced surgeon, you shouldn’t expect a miracle, and stop obsessing over bargains while you’re at it.  Your body is not a discount store.  It’s precious.  Stern tells it the way she sees it.

She lists the 8 facts about cosmetic surgery that few people know.  She discusses the best way to avoid complications, the best reasons (and the worst) for having cosmetic surgery, and the most inspirational stories about the unexpectedly powerful benefits that many people gain just by walking around in their new-and-improved- skin.

For instance: we often read about how women come to feel invisible as we get older – ignored, even disregarded because we no longer have the outward marks of youth.  So, Stern wondered: what’s it like to have a successful cosmetic surgery and suddenly be visible again – to receive positive feedback from others, to feel appreciated as a physical being?  The answers she got are intriguing.  And gratifying.  And sometimes, surprising.  Yes, we know…outward appearance…it’s not supposed to matter.  It’s all about character.  Well, how about character and good looks?  Is there a law against having both?

She also tells about the impact of cosmetic surgery on our relationships:  socially, in the workplace, and in the bedroom.  Yes, the bedroom.  Because, did you know that many of us – after cosmetic surgery – have a much better time…well, never mind.  Read her book and make up your own mind.

Lois Stern wrote a good book.  She’s practical.  She’s down-to-earth.  And she got a refreshingly different way of looking at cosmetic surgery.  As for the “Sex” in the title, as she says, “It’s no accident!”  She has a lot to say about the connection between cosmetic surgery and one’s sexuality.  It’s fascinating and remember… she interviewed over 100 women extensively.  Two women in a room have a lot to say, so you can imagine…

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