For most of my adult life, I thought about cosmetic surgery the way I think about haute couture fashion and tiny, expensive sports cars: fun for daydreaming, but completely out of context to my life to seriously consider for myself.
Sure, I stood in front of a mirror, and pinched the fat and lifted the skin to imagine what things would look like if something was pulled here, rearranged there. I researched the surgery, compared before-and-after photos, watched the reality television shows about extreme makeovers, and yeah … I wondered.
But such a thing was too vain. Too expensive. Too extraordinary to realistically consider.
Until I went trick-or-treating with my sister.
We were in the United States again last fall, visiting our family in Cincinnati. My kids were so excited to celebrate Halloween with their cousins. I was so excited just to see my sister Jill again. Although we chat and text regularly, it’s just not the same. I was so happy being in the same space with her.
We spent a few hours walking and talking in the rain, following the kids as they ran from house to house collecting candy. We then sat for another hour or so in my father’s house, eating dinner and warming up while picking out any dangerous candy bars and sweets from the kids’ booty.
Finally, she blurted out, “I can’t believe you haven’t said anything about them.”
I looked at her confused. We talked about the kids, our jobs, relationships, our fitness goals … what did I miss?
“My boobs,” she whispered. I gasped.
“What?!” I asked.
And that’s when I noticed.
Yeah. There was something different there.
I grabbed her hand.
“Okay. Upstairs. Right now,” I ordered.
She laughed, and we headed to my stepmother’s office, where she then explained how last spring, she quietly got some work done. She opened her phone, and showed me the pictures, taken before the surgery and after.
And then she showed me the results, explaining to me exactly how things were cut, lifted, stitched, and scarred. If you don’t have a sister yourself, then I can’t possibly begin to explain how this wasn’t weird at all, but it was as if she was explaining to me how to braid hair, or pluck and shape eyebrows.
Completely normal and totally benign.
She explained how much it cost, where she got it done, and how she financed the surgery. She talked about the recovery, and at the same time, flipped thru the various photos of her healing.
I was amazed. It was like looking at photos of my own body. My sister and I aren’t twins, but we share enough DNA to look and be shaped alike. We both gained weight, and lost weight, and recovered from our pregnancies and years of breastfeeding in similar fashion: she for two children and me for four.
And the work was flawless, and looked completely natural. Jill admitted that I wasn’t the only person who didn’t notice: most people didn’t realize she got anything done because she still looked like … herself. As she explained how easy it was to shop for bras now and fit into shirts, and run and work out, I knew I wanted my own lifted, too.
This wasn’t as crazy or impossible as I imagined it to be.
But I knew I had one final hurdle to cross: my finance manager.
“So, this may be completely weird, I know, but is it okay if Martin sees these?” I asked. “For scientific observation only. I think he would agree to the surgery if he saw the results.”
Jill rolled her eyes, but laughed. And agreed. She’s known Martin for nearly two decades. She knows how he is about spending money, and making major decisions, and most importantly, she knows he’s not a creep.
So I called down the staircase for Martin, who had been sorting candy with the kids.
Later that evening, Martin said that he had no idea what was going on when I called for him. All he knew was that I ushered him into the office, closed the door, and then Jill and I stood in front of him with stone-cold serious expressions on our faces. And when I began talking about Jill and I being sisters, sharing DNA and similar body types, he immediately thought we were about to reveal something tragic.
Was Jill sick? Did she need a blood transfusion? Was I about to volunteer to donate an internal organ to her?
But then, when I turned to Jill and said, “Okay, show him,” … he did not expect for Jill to lift her shirt and flash him.
But that’s what happened.
His jaw dropped and he immediately looked at the floor, but I kept talking, and Jill spoke up about scarring and stitches. He buried his face in his hands.
“You guys are ridiculous,” he finally said, laughing.
“But this is RESEARCH,” I said to him. “At what other time are you going to see this in person?”
So he looked. And asked a question. Jill explained. After about a minute, she pulled her shirt back down, and talked more about the financing. Then we stood there, looking at each other.
“Can I go now?” Martin asked. We let him leave. And then Jill and I burst out laughing, and didn’t stop laughing for awhile. We rejoined the family, and it was like nothing happened.
But the next morning, Martin came to me as I made breakfast.
“So, I thought about it, and if you really want to have the surgery done, I think we can make it work. Let’s look into it when we get back to Germany,” he said.
So that’s what we did … thanks to my sister.