My (Medically Necessary) Cosmetic Surgery

This picture was taken about an hour after my Double Lateral Blepharoplasty. That’s a fancy name for what I’ve been calling an “eyelid circumcision.” Underneath the bags of frozen peas are two blacks eyes and incisions that looked like my daughter took a sharpie to my eyelid in an effort to give me what she calls “that smokey eye look.”

What is Blepharoplasty?

This surgery removes excess skin that droops down and impairs your vision. In my case, the droopy skin was blocking light from getting to my eyes which made it especially difficult to drive at night. This can actually be a genetic thing, which is interesting because both of my parents had this surgery also.  

I went to the doctor telling him I found myself lifting my eyebrows or even lifting my eyelid by hand to see better. I had to take a series of vision tests to prove to our insurance company that this was medically necessary, but guess what? When I told my wife about the procedure she replied with pure envy: “Whoa, I am jealous! I want one of those!”

Wait, what?

It turns out this is an incredibly popular cosmetic surgery. She started scrolling through before and after images of celebrities who’ve elected to have this procedure. Kim was even joking about going to my same doctor with her eyes squinted in an effort to get the procedure herself. 

I don’t know why, but her excitement and the long list of celebrities who did this just to look better made me LESS inclined to go through with it.  

Explaining It Away

When letting people know I was going to be out of commission for a few weeks, I started referring to this as a “Medically Necessary Cosmetic Surgery.” I really accentuated “MEDICALLY NECESSARY.” I said it over and over and over, sometimes 3-4 times in the same conversation. For some reason, I was very concerned about people thinking I was doing this because I wanted to look better. 

But, if I’m being honest here, I didn’t love the way my eyes looked. 

So why couldn’t I just say that?

A Simple Answer

After a 4 second Google search of “Why don’t men like plastic surgery?”, I found this quote on the website of an Illinois plastic surgeon, North Shore Aesthetics:

One of the reasons many men avoid seeing a plastic surgeon is because of society’s expectation that men should be content with themselves, no matter what they look like. A man who isn’t happy with his appearance can be perceived as insecure and sometimes weak.

That explains a lot, doesn’t it?

I was afraid to admit I wanted to look better. 

Now that we are more than a week out I can say, though my eyes are still bruised, I like the results. The change is very, very subtle but I’m glad I went through with it. 

I Wear My Sunglasses Indoors

I was uncomfortable the first day, but honestly, my eyes looked worse than they felt. By day three, I was sitting at the scorers table keeping stats at my son’s middle school basketball game. I was wearing sunglasses, parents from the opposing team probably assumed I was full of myself with some celebrity complex fearing being recognized. 

No, friends. I just didn’t want to alarm the 7th graders on the bench. 

By day five, I was sick of wearing sunglasses indoors so I decided to live my life without being embarrassed by the surgery. Here are some of the most common comments from my friends:

  1. “Is everything okay at home with you and Kim?” (This was by far the most common statement and not super funny when you think about it.)
  2. “What does the other guy look like?”
  3. “My gosh, that looks #$%ing awful.” 

In this week’s podcast, Kim and I “plogged” the week surrounding the surgery, and I did a little soul searching about my own self-image and the male tendency to shy away from self-image issues. You also get to hear what I am like on valium. Plus, you can hear about all of the incredibly sweet things Kim did to care for me throughout the week.

You can listen to our conversation at any of the links below: