Beverly Hills, CA
Society is a cruel mistress who hates everyone. But if we don’t work with what we have to become the best versions of ourselves, that just perpetuates a lazy, defeatist attitude. People are so stressed by the pressures of looking perfect, they seem to give up without trying. If I could count all the unibrows in sweatpants I see during the day at Trader Joe’s, the tabulation would, well—make no census! This is why I decided a big change in my life was necessary. I was finally going to get plastic surgery!
When I first walked into Dr. Stankenfrein’s office, I was taken aback by the gorgeous decor. I immediately thought to myself, “Great, this is going to be another snooty Beverly Hills plastic surgeon.” All the latest body image magazines were not only tacked to racks on the wall but were also fanned out like a proud peacock in front of me, begging me to peer inside for a quick game of choose-your-complex. They make you wait a while too, so that you have no choice but to gaze into these pages of pore-less, quintessentially enlightened ideals, knowing this place would shuck all the fat out of my saddlebags in a Hollywood second.
Fortunately, I was not only blessed with my mom’s skin elasticity, but her J-Lo-esque ass-shelf as well. Not that I knock the face lasers and power sanders that buff the years away. I’m sure in twenty years or so, they’ll be a major part of my life. That and plenty of La Mer.
I have to say, meeting Dr. Stankenfrein for the first time, I felt nervous. I know he sees hundreds of patients every year, but being the modest lady that I am, I still feel self-conscious when it comes down to being pants-less in front of a man, especially completely sober and during the day. When he finally walked in, he was older, refined-looking, and according to his reputation of being one of the top plastic surgeons in the world—having worked on Cher, Gaga, and Britney—I knew I was in good hands. I was totally ready to show him my special something.
Dr. Stankenfrein spent forty minutes with me explaining everything, answering all my questions, and even conducting an extra physical exam at no charge. He not only made me feel comfortable, but he told me my body issue wasn’t the first case he’d seen. He asked me if it hurt to sit or walk. When I told him no, he asked if I could move “it.” Not only could I move it but I gave him a special demonstration by flipping up onto a light fixture and dangling from it!
What was great about Dr. Stankenfrein is, like some doctors in the past whom I won’t mention the names of, he didn’t crack a joke about bananas or Neanderthal DNA, or anything like that. I mean, just because I don’t whine about my pain, it doesn’t mean I’m impervious to being hurt. I’ve heard various claims that Anne Boleyn had eleven fingers, three breasts and double fingernails. And ya know, zero heads. In a similar vein, having a fully-functional prehensile tail’s been great when there are trees around, but pretty “meh” when it comes to my love life. Although this one guy I dated in college was totally into it…
I left feeling very excited to schedule the surgery. He gave me free samples and even recommended against two operations that I was convinced I needed in favor of a treatment that he said would be just as effective but cost me less money. He was generous with his time, knowledge, and care. Most importantly, he finally got rid of a few trouble spots three other doctors couldn’t treat! Mainly the thick patches of hair along my shoulders and the painful redness on the webbing between my toes. As much as I try, it’s hard to keep that area dry AND moisturized. It’s just another balancing act that us regular people have to perfect with time. Just like chasing the neighbor’s cat, or howling under a full moon. (The moon’s energy is powerful stuff, right?!) Anyway, I’m so thankful that doctors like this still exist. His staff is friendly and professional, too. No one looked like they’d had too much free Botox on their lunch break or the upper body buoyancy of a bath time rubber ducky.
UPDATE: Three months in and I’m very pleased with the results. I asked that he merely give me a “more even” look, I wasn’t interested in a total transformation. And that is just what I got. My body couldn’t look better—I just look more like myself, not like someone else’s vision of what I should look like. The neighborhood coyote pack still accepts me as one of their own AND I look better than ever in skinny jeans. Since I’m a swimmer, my gills are practical, so I’m glad Dr. Stankenfrein convinced me to keep those. The cost: very reasonable. My pain level? A handful of Vicodin (WEEEEEE!) took care of it. I only wish I would’ve gone to him sooner!
Now if these horns would just stay down after I filed them…
Sabra Embury is a book critic for Brooklyn's L Magazine. Her confabulations and fantastications can be found in the Los Angeles Review of Books, the Rumpus, Tottenville Review, NANO Fiction and other places. Follow her antics on Twitter @yrubmEarbaS.