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To Nip/Tuck or Not: The Ethnic Girl's Dilemma

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It all started with the game of Clothespin. I remember spending endless hours as a kid, clipping a clothespin to my face and praying it would somehow magically transform my Greek nose into something more petite and perky.

woman looking in mirror

Yvette Manessis Corporon: But no matter how many times I tried, it never, ever worked. Today, that Greek nose still sits prominently on my face. And now, instead of plastic clothespins, I dream of plastic surgeons.

The stereotypical ideal American beauty has always been the Barbie doll. You know the type: big boobs, tiny upturned nose, long flowing blonde hair, belly you could grate cheese on, butt you could bounce a quarter off of. Sure, growing up, we all wanted to be her -- and now we can. Today women visit plastic surgeons with the frequency they once reserved for nail salons. Boobs, nose, liposuction, butt lift -- nothing is out of reach or out of the question.

It's enough to make an ethnic girl go nuts.

I have no problem with a little nip/tuck. In fact, these days, my list of potential procedures goes way beyond the simple nose job -- now I wonder about liposuction and fillers as well. In fact, whenever we spot a woman who has had some work done, my friends and I find ourselves playing endless games of "WHAT DID SHE DO?" Which is always immediately followed by a game of "WOULD YOU?" "WOULD YOU rather have a little lipo or have more time to hit the gym? Would you rather be injected with fillers, or find more time to sleep well and take better care of yourself?"

Personally, I've come to realize that individuality can be just as valuable as perfect aesthetics, maybe more. Taking care of what we were born with can be even more rewarding than a quick fix. Anyone can buy the perfect little nose, pouty lips, and tight thighs. Sure, those perfectly symmetrical features look great up close in the mirror, but what happens when you step back and see the big picture? When everyone starts to look the same, to look so very perfect, those once coveted features don't seem nearly as special anymore. Plastic surgery should enhance who we are, not homogenize us all.

While veneers will give you perfect teeth, I see beauty in the lopsided smile of my favorite cousin. While botox will smooth out your skin, I see beauty in the way my best friend's eyes crinkle when we share a naughty secret. I'm still tempted to tone down my nose, but when I look at pictures of myself with my mother and grandmother, I see that same nose on each of our faces. I've struggled with my own imperfections all these years; yet somehow, with all of theirs -- their laugh lines, wrinkles, and yes, their Greek noses -- I still think my mother and grandmother are the most beautiful women in the world.

There's something to be said for aging gracefully. An elegant 50-year-old woman with laugh lines etched on her face says to me that she embraces life -- that she has lived, laughed, loved -- and will continue to do so. A 50-year-old woman without a single wrinkle, sporting perfectly smooth botoxed and stretched skin says to me that she is afraid of getting old.

It's still those tiny imperfections and differences that can make a woman truly memorable -- and magnificent.

As for me, I'm 41 years old, and still haven't had anything done yet. Who knows, I may bite the bullet one day and give in to at least a little something something. But when and if I do, it'll be subtle -- without a Barbie Doll in sight. Till then, I'll continue to make the most of my imperfections -- eat well, get good sleep, hit the gym ... and who knows? I may even give that clothespin another go.


next: Give Your Man Some Helpful Hints
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