Monday, June 25, 2012

Rod Stewart and First Love

I heard this song today and as music often does, I was transported back in time, that moment so clear in my memory, down to the shirt I wore, saying goodbye to the boy I had fallen in love with at 15. He was my first love, and though I never saw him again, I can still recall every detail of every moment we spent together.

Whether it was roaming (okay, loitering) around Cranbrook at 2:00am, or my getting baked in a bikini at Cass Lake or drinking Molson's on the hood of his car at some old drive-in or going to one of many concerts; Led Zeppelin, Bob Seger, Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton or Rod Stewart. But somehow this became our song.^^

My mother decided it was time to leave Michigan, never explained to me beyond, "We're going to a place we will be understood. California." The photo above was the last time I saw him.

I had no desire to go West, no matter how hard she tried to sell it with over-the-top descriptions of coconut trees, tree-top homes that overlooked the Pacific, my new school that sat high and proud on the base of a mountain in Marin.

It was unbearable to leave Bill, and all my other friends I had cultivated after having moved 12 times up until this point. This was home. Finally.

But leave we did. I hated California immediately, could not identify with the kids, the way they always smiled, how they wore socks with sandals and said things like, "I'm so stoked it's sunny, beach time! Whoa, dude!"

Coming from Detroit, this was just plain embarrassing to be around. I isolated and instead hung out with the male teachers or older men that would pick me up hitch hiking, which I did out of sheer boredom.

Though I had no interest in drugs and was a straight- A student, a few months of Marin County living, I found myself hanging around 35-year olds who just thought I was spectacular.

"For 15, you're so awesome! Come out with us tonight. Have you been to Berkeley yet?"

Soon I found myself in this situation.

Learning all about grams, weighing machines, coke spoons, and this Rod Stewart song now played prominently.

I hated my life, soon hated my mother, who also was changing. She became an alcoholic, yacht club floozy who dove off of boats just for fun.

"Honey, come out with me tonight, let's go get drunk." She needed a drinking buddy, and I did that for a few weeks, mostly to keep an eye on her, but quickly grew sick of Long Island Tea, and grew tired of bailing her out of the local drunk tank.

Six months after we landed in Marin, I emancipated myself, got my own apartment, switched High Schools, took classes at the Community College, got a job, bought a car, and was soon back up to straight A's, then left for college.

Rod Stewart continued to remain a theme, because in college, this song was popular.

Not that I didn't love other musicians, but for whatever reason, he was an integral part of my coming-into-adulthood. I owned lots of vinyl but chances are I played his albums the most. Then it all ended and I was over Rod. He went into a musical direction I could no longer connect to. 

It would be years before I fell in love like that again, despite a number of boyfriends, but I couldn't tell you the song track of that affair.  But first loves are like that. The details are so vivid they are etched inside for a lifetime.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Scarlett Johannson's Breasts Can Be Yours

On a routine visit to a new dermatologist, as mine had moved to NYC, I was referred to Dr. Zuckerman in Beverly Hills.

I had a new mole on my left arm and wanted it looked at at as a preventative measure.

He was located in the swanky Bedford Drive section of BH, where you will typically find lot of paps hanging around hoping to see Lindsey Lohan or Britney Spears emerge from any number of cosmetic establishments offering facials, nips, tucks, hair extensions, veneers and of course the world renowned eyebrow lady.

Zuckerman’s office was in a tall glass building with icy blue tint, one populated by famous surgeons to the stars with secret tunnels that expunge patients wearing thick head gear and wrapped in blankets into secret care facilities. Due to the paparazzi, the latest trend is to, well, fashion pretend.

Post facelift, neck lift, nose job, eye job, breast augmentation, liposuction, finished off with a fine laser spin. ^ ^ ^ ^

The office itself was not crowded; in fact it was empty, so that was good. After filling out 15 pages of paperwork concerning my health, and some not, which I didn’t answer, such as, “How many sexual partners have you had?” I was lead to the examining room.

On the walls, next to his ten diplomas were framed pictures of A-listers ripped from the front page of glamour magazines.  He must have had a thing for Scarlett Johannson and Rihanna because their pretty mugs and bodies were everywhere.

On the other wall were example pictures of anonymous women with their eyes blacked out.  These shots were not as flattering.  Thin, cracked lips, sunken eyes, flattened cheeks, extremely blotchy facial skin, droopy necks, saggy jawlines, and hound dog-like "jowls."

One wall was devoted entirely to cellulite-ridden asses attached to cellulite ridden roundish thighs, with huge arrows that read “Saddle bags!  Cottage cheese! Cellulite! Gross!"

I sat in a kind of dental chair, surrounded by all the latest laser technology, huge machines with detachable arms, needles, wands and so on.

In walked Dr. Zuckerman, 40’ish, taut face, Chiclet teeth, and perfect skin you might find on a mannequin.  The man had no pores.  The rest of him didn’t match his Beverly Hills face. He had a paunch, hairy hands and sausage fingers. 

“Hello. You must be Rhonda. So you have a mole. Yep. Sun can wreak damage, utterly ravage the skin, destroy it, literally turn you old before your time.”

“Yes I’ve heard. I wear sunscreen.”

“Unfortunately that’s not enough. Not in this day and age.”

He put on thick glassed, a mask and pulled out a magnifying glass to examine my face.

“The mole is on my arm.”

He took a quick look

“Oh, that’s nothing. But if it starts to itch, bleed, grow and look strange let me know.”

He went back to examining my face.

“You have nice skin but that won’t last. In ten years, maybe less, all that sun damage will catch up to you.”

He showed me a picture on the wall.

"She's famous but I can't tell  you who it is." ^ ^ ^ 
“I will never look like that.”
“That’s what she thought. Now of course it’s too late. We could start preventive measures. When I showed that to Rhi-Rhi she almost flipped out. Not to mention names.”

“Luckily, I have the IPL, the V Beam, CO2, Fraxel.  I think the V-beam would be best for you especially if you are going to Africa, because the face swells up for three weeks, often purple in tone, ghastly looking, but by the time you come back, your skin will be perfect.”

“I’m not going to Africa. That doesn’t even make sense.”

“I guess Africa has been on my mind because my last appointment with Paris Hilton, not to mention names, was going on a safari, so we went with the strongest pulse. She looks like a monster, but will have the skin of a baby’s ass on her return. I just did Pammie. Between us. You should see her now. Did her tits too. Well only one of the times.”  

He gestures to this picture thumbtacked to a board, next to an array of others, various celebrities. ^^^

“I’m good, thanks.”

“Oh. You could use some plumper’s too. Radiess, Juvaderm, Restalyn, Sculptra, Dysport.  All great fillers.”

“I don’t need any plumpers. I don’t have any wrinkles.”

“True. Smile for me.”
I did.
“See that?”

He shoved this giant mirror in my face.

“See what?”
“Those lines when you smile. I can get rid of them.”
“What? Why? Those are my smile lines. My 9- year olds have them!”
"I call it 'The Jenny.' Everyone's doing it now. Why do you think these slender anorexic women have such round faces. Botox? Hilarious."

“Just saying, it’s a good look when they are plumped.”
"Not for me. Thanks."

Now he was staring at my lips.

“You’re lips are fine, but they won’t be in ten years. See this lady over here. “

“You mean the one with NO lips.”

“Yes. She used to have lips like yours. Getting my drift here?”

“I’ll take my chances. I like my lips fine."   >>>my actual lips. He took a picture!

“Suit yourself. Not to drop names, but Kim Kardashian went from a size 4 to a 0 in one day using my laser cellulite technique. She has the smoothest legs ever. Before the baby of course.”

“I don’t have a weight problem.”

“Exactly. Either did she. Either did Heidi Klum. Or Madonna. Not to mention names.”

“Look doc, I don’t want anything.  If the mole is fine, we’re done here.”

He looked at my chart. There was no way this guy was going to let me go until I forked over money for some treatment I didn’t want or need.


I guess he found it.

“You had twins!  We can fix that.”
“Fix what? Are you going to take them from me?”
“Ever notice how Jennifer Lopez, or Julia Roberts have perfectly flat stomachs?”
“Not really.”
“There is a very noninvasive technique to pull the stomach skin down, cut it off, and sew it up. The stitch is hidden just above the pelvis. Virtually hidden.”

“I don’t want a tummy tuck. My stomach is fine. Are you on drugs. Are you listening to anything I am saying?” >>>my actual stomach. He took another picture!

“Let's see. Your breasts are lovely, but that won’t last. They will start to sag, surprised they aren’t sagging already what with the twins. I could give you Scarlett Johannson's luscious breasts. Technically I am not a surgeon, but we have come so far. Not to drop names.”

He seemed to pull the picture from behind his back. I was convinced now this guy was either on too much Adderall or cocaine. I had to get out of there.

"Lovely, but I like mine."

“Hmm. We could start you off on a low acid peel to give you that perfect dewy glow, like Jennifer Aniston or Beyonce. Not to mention names. Most people think it's make-up, but..."

“Dr. Zuckerman. I am not into surgery…  I have young girls. I don’t buy into any this.”

“Pfft. Every woman wants to have Scarlett Johannson’s body and breasts, Katherine Heigl’s skin, Natalie Portman’s nose, Cate Blanchett’s cheekbones, Halle Berry’s chin, Jessica Alba’s smile, Taylor Swift’s hair, Nicole Kidman’s eyebrows, Bette Davis’ eyes and Angelina Jolie’s lips. Not to mention names.  I’ve been doing this for years. I made a composite.”

He pointed to a picture above one of his diplomas I actually thought was a “surgery warning” ad.

“Well maybe you need to spend some time in Africa.”

I got up to leave.

“Hey, are you seeing anyone. Dating?”


“I suspect you won’t be coming back but would love to take you to dinner.”

“Sorry, I’m gay.  Hooked up recently with Scarlett Johannson, so I can actually feel her boobs pretty much whenever I want.”

“OH.” He tried to raise an eyebrow but the Botox got in the way.

“Thanks for all the tips.”

“No prob.  Keep it low and hanging!”


Rhonda Talbot reporting in from Beverly Hills dermatology and plastic surgery centers.