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Renee Zellweger and Me
By SP_COP on October 29, 2014 | From well.blogs.nytimes.com
Renee Zellweger and Me I plan to keep my nose. And I have you to thank, Renée Zellweger.

Your decision to do whatever you did to change your face is helping me accept my 57-year-old face as it is. More to the point, I have decided not to go under the knife after all to fix that slightly bent nose of mine. Even after being savaged in a recent online forum about my face.

Last year, I wrote an essay, “Bonfire of My Vanity,” mildly mocking myself for the myriad ways I have tried to turn back Father Time. I confessed to getting blond highlights to cover the gray, taking ice baths to maintain a “youthful vigor” and — drumroll, please — undergoing surgery to blast away my eye bags. My goal was to show that it is not just women who are held to untenable standards of youth and beauty in this culture. (Although I will be the first to admit it is still easier for us guys.) To this point, the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery reported last year that “The number of cosmetic procedures for men increased over 273 percent from 1997.”

A few days after the article was published, a friend in London sent me a link to a Daily Mail story all about me and my essay. The boldfaced headline was: “Self-confessed vain man…”

I paused in midsentence because my eye caught the two photos the Mail had chosen to run of me. One was a fairly current author photo, blown up so much that I could see right inside my nose; every facial flaw was magnified to the extreme for the paper’s voracious readers. The other photo was almost 15 years old; I guess the photo editor dug it up online. I’m quite sure it had been Photoshopped (tan deepened, teeth whitened) somewhere along its journey from the Google archives to front and center in The Daily Mail.

The story proved not nearly as painful to read as the comments, which were so numerous and vociferous that the webmaster quickly posted: “We are no longer accepting comments on this article.” I myself could only bear to read about a half-dozen, which included this little gem:

“That fake tan/Botox/colour contact lenses picture just looks so creepy and disturbing. I’m not sure that from now on he will age gracefully, though. He seems like a massive attention seeker.”

Presumably, this comment was about my “Before” photo — with Photoshop the only invasive procedure.

When Ms. Zellweger’s big reveal spread across the web last week, I both felt sorry for her and curious about what else had been said about me – and my face. Believe me when I say this was not an exercise for the faint of heart.

Herewith, a couple more:

“He should have spent the money on his teeth.”

“He looks horrible with all the enhancements.”

Then The Mail’s readers decided to let me know how old they really thought I looked. Some of my “favorites” included:

“56? No, more like 76”

“Not a hot man — he honestly looks to be 71”

“He looks at least 65!”

Well, make up your minds! Although, really, who asked your opinion?

Seemingly, no topic was off bounds. Others felt the need to comment on my sexual orientation (although I had come out in my story, noting a same-sex husband). Posted one reader:

“It’s tough for the older queens who are no longer the cats meow at the disco.”

Finally, the coup de grace: A laserlike focus on my nose. I have a deviated septum, with my nose tilting to the left. Its asymmetry has long been a sore point for this “self-confessed vain man.” And at times I snore worse than a horse. Yes, it’s true: I’ve twice consulted doctors about fixing it. Most of all I think my husband would appreciate it – for the additional zzzs he would get....
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