Male vanity is supposed to be aggressive. You can strap on a codpiece, handlebar your mustache, Mike Tyson your face and even shave your balls—because really, few things are more aggressive than the message “Admire my testicles!” But you can’t get plastic surgery. That’s because plastic surgery is passive. Plastic surgery tries not to be noticed. Plastic surgery wants to fit in. Plastic surgery is high-tech tucking.
Men suck at warning their friends about huge mistakes: We’re silent about the mercenary fiancée, the get-rich-quick business plan, the two A.M. bar chick, the bet on the Jets. But we need to get involved with this plastic surgery thing and speak truth to creepiness. About 10 percent of cosmetic procedures in America last year were performed on men. If you’re thinking that doesn’t seem like a huge slice of plastic surgery patients, remember: Men don’t have tits. Last Father’s Day, Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. Robert Applebaum advertised a consultation as a gift for Dad. If your kid buys you plastic surgery, you need to stop shaving your tiny, tiny balls. Because while some kids will stop following their dad’s orders once they’re big enough to beat him up, every kid will stop following Dad’s orders after he gets a brow lift.
The rule is that the only two things relating to their physical appearance men are allowed to care about are their hair and their dick, and not too much about either; otherwise you’re in Magic Mike territory. Plastic surgery is caring way, way, way too much. It’s a costume, just as makeup, nail polish and anything that’s not a suit and tie is a costume. Face-lifts make guys look like such pussies that, even though I know better, I mistakenly believe I could beat up Mickey Rourke. I have no doubt whatsoever that Kenny Rogers is going to fold them. I am shocked every time I see Barry Manilow and he’s not making a pot of tea. Howard Stern copped to getting lipo on his chin and a nose job, and yet he still looks like Howard Stern.
After a face-lift, old men’s eyes are too open, their lips too eager—it’s all way too friendly. Old men are supposed to be annoyed and world-weary, but when you stretch their skin and they keep the scowl, it’s weird, like being greeted by your cruise director, the Marlboro Man. Try this experiment: Yell at a kid to get off your lawn without crinkling your brow and see if he listens.
Plastic surgery makes women look weird, and it makes men look like women. Bruce Jenner may not look like a grandfather, but he does look like a lesbian grandmother. Gene Simmons and his wife, Shannon Tweed, got face-lifts together, and both came out looking like Shannon Tweed. Prettiness may be appealing in a boy-band member, but old people are already too androgynized. That’s why old ladies wear so much makeup and jewelry and old dudes wear Members Only jackets: It helps us tell them apart. Otherwise, every early-bird dinner date would be in danger of re-creating the song “Lola.”
A friend of mine who slept around a lot used to say he didn’t like the way fake breasts looked but he liked what they said about the woman. Insecurity can be attractive in a one-night stand, but not in a guy. And if anything shows more neediness than risking death to look better, it would be wearing nail polish because your wife thinks it looks cute. A face-lift looks like something you were ordered to do by your dominatrix.
Women have all kinds of complicated reasons for altering their appearance that have to do with competing with other women, being admired and other baffling things that I assume fuel the plotlines of those Real Housewives shows. The only reason a guy makes any effort with his looks is to get laid. If we just remember this basic, natural law, the only plastic surgery procedure for a guy will be administered by a fencing sword to his cheek.
I’m not excited about getting old, but I know how lucky I am to be a man getting old instead of a woman getting old. A dude freaking out about aging is unseemly, like a one-percenter begging for cash (which is why we all hate Kickstarter). No one cares what men look like at any age except young gay men without money, and none of them needs plastic surgery. Our responsibility ends at trimming our nose and ear hair and asking the barber to mow our eyebrows back. Men have the advantage of still being able to get laid while looking like Scooby-Doo villains. It’s deeply ungrateful to reject that gift.
Maybe one day doctors will invent subtle plastic surgery that doesn’t take away our masculinity. But until then, I’m vowing to let my eyelids droop, my eyes crinkle and my testicles fall. Because there’s something manly about sending the message “I’m not afraid of these things getting kicked. Even by me.”