“What Lovely Jowls You Have, My Dear!”

Does the rawhide accentuate my jowls?

Does the rawhide accentuate my jowls?

So, one of my recent adventures in desert dog walking involved Charlee seeing a dog and yanking me off balance into a cactus. The result: cactus needles embedded in my right hand and the right side of my face. Seven weeks later (after an infection requiring over 10,000 mg of antibiotics to clear and the makings of an ugly scar on my face), I visited a Scottsdale plastic surgeon to weigh my options regarding the impending scar.

Plastic surgeon’s report: the wound is still healing. Nothing can really be done at the moment. Keep doing what I am doing.

No problem, I thought.

In the next breath and with a look approaching disdain, the physician changed the subject. “You really should consider doing something about your jowls, especially at your age,” she said.

“My what?” I asked, perplexed.

With pursed lips and a generously Botox’d forehead, “Your jowls,” she repeated. “You are at the age when they can become problematic for women.”

Oh goodie. Not only have I been through a fairly traumatic seven weeks (and counting) with most likely a permanent scar on my face, but the plastic surgeon somehow felt compelled to introduce a completely new and unrelated issue unbeknownst to me and with such a lovely connotation … “jowls.” Truly, the word alone could create an anaphylactic response for some.

Fortunately, my ordeal with the cactus and ensuing infection must have primed me for this conversation, because I was ready for it. “Really? What do you typically suggest for jowls? Do I need a facelift?” I asked, knowing the question was ludicrous.

“Oh no! You are too young for a facelift,” the physician gave a startled laugh. “We typically recommend a procedure to stimulate collagen growth and tighten the skin.”

“Really? And what are the results of such a procedure? The jowls disappear permanently?”

“Oh no. Results are very subtle,” she explained. “And you don’t really have jowls, per se. I am simply saying that, at your age, you should be thinking about procedures to stave off those ugly things.” She paused a moment, assessing me, and added, “We could probably do your jowls and entire face and neck for about $2,500.” (The continued allusions to my age thrilled me as much as the inclusion of my “entire face and neck” in the context of a blue-light special.)

“I just want to understand,” I said, seeking clarity. “You mean ‘do’ the jowls that I don’t yet have for only $2,500, and you will throw in my entire face and neck?”

“That’s correct,” she nodded, seemingly quite satisfied with her sales prowess. “It would be more of a preventive procedure in your case.”

“Ahh. Well, I think not. My concern is the scar at the moment,” I explained more graciously than I felt. That marked the rather disappointing end of an appointment I had anticipated with such hope.

As I drove home, the plastic surgeon’s words echoed in my head. “Preventive procedures for jowls,“ I muttered aloud. “Women my age,” I snorted.

Did it require a healthy dose of fear and humility like a severe infection, the Grand Canyon of facial wounds, not to mention nearly seven weeks of living the life of a hermit – all to recognize the shallowness and the vanity of scheduling today’s appointment in the first place? Or, was I able to make this observation because jowls are not yet a part of my daily repertoire?

I sighed, knowing I could psychoanalyze this for the rest of the day, month and year (because that’s what I tend to do). Instead, I hurried home for a welcome by Charlee and her unproblematic jowls. (I can only hope mine will be as beautiful as hers some day.)

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