I was planning to write about love today. Because, you know, Valentine’s Day and all. But there’s something going on that’s caught my attention, and I’m going to write about it instead. Guess I’ll save my love-themed post for some other day …. In our house, we listen to the Jewel 98.5 alot. Yes, Ryan and I are in our thirties, not our fifties – and we listen to lots of other stations, too. But we love us some Air Supply and Bread and Dan Fogelberg and Jim Croce and Gilbert O’Sullivan and America …. and the Jewel gives us copious amounts of all of them, plus alot of other beautiful music that you won’t hear on stations with a classic rock, new rock, top 40 or country format. Or on stations called Jack, Bob, Frank or any other monosyllabic male name. Anyway …. One of the Jewel’s sponsors, for years, was Eve’s Laser Clinic. The commercials were, without exception, horrible.
In one, a couple of guys are at the beach, and one guy reacts to a beautiful woman, and asks his buddy if he thinks he has a chance with her. His buddy says “that’s my wife”. The one who was about to unknowingly hit on his buddy’s wife expresses astonishment that she looks so good, and it is explained that she went to Eve’s Laser Clinic to get rid of her cellulite. Because your face is unremarkable; it’s your ass and thighs that confirm your identity for others.
In another, also featuring two guys, one guy remarks that his friend seems happier than he’s been in a long time. The happy guy explains that his sex life has heated up, and his friend assumes he’s got a new girlfriend. But no – Mr. Happy and his girlfriend went to Eve’s Laser Clinic, and his girlfriend’s “needle legs” and “the jungle” on his back are now a thing of the past. Because, you know, people with no body hair have way better sex – and more of it – than the rest of us.
A third commercial features one guy telling another that his wife now does “that thing she used to do before they were married”. Whatever she has resumed doing for him isn’t stated, but there is a line in the commercial about “a job well done”. That’s right: if you havn’t done any manscaping, don’t expect sexual favours, not even from someone who loves you.
There’s one in which a little girl is terrified by a creepy plastic woman following her. She is reassured by the creamy voice of her mother that it’s just Aunt Margaret, who “wouldn’t look so plastic if she’d gone to Eve’s Laser Clinic for her Botox”. No hugs for you, Botched Botox Barbie.
The most recent one was a couple talking about friends of theirs. The woman says she ran into them, and she can’t believe how good they look – they both look twenty years younger! All their “wrinkles, baggy eyes and saggy, leathery skin” have disappeared. When I run into friends, I don’t notice these things. I’m just happy to have a chance to catch up with people who are special to me. Their faces – every line, dimple and freckle – are dear to me because they are dear to me. And I’m fairly certain they feel the same way about me.
Every time I heard one of those commercials, I felt rage well up inside. If our daughters were with me, we would have yet another discussion about who we are mattering more than what we look like. I would explain to them that Eve’s Laser Clinic is just trying to make people feel like they’re not good enough so they’ll come to the clinic and lay down a chunk of cash for a few sips from the fountain of youth. We would talk about how hurtful these commercials are to people who are already self-conscious about their wrinkles, cellulite, scars, and hairy bodies – that is, most of us.
Lately, though, the commercials have been airing less frequently. This is likely connected to the fact that Eve’s Laser Clinic is being investigated by Ottawa Public Health. Apparently, Eve has been offering clients Botox and thread lifts without the presence of a doctor. Even more alarming, she has admitted to performing rhinoplasty and invasive “vaginal beautification” surgeries on clients (because women should worry about what body parts look like even if they never look at them).
Eve may be facing jail time and a fine of up to $25,000 – and I’m glad. Not because she’s broken the law and put her clients’ health at risk, although those two acts are, indeed, worthy of punishment. No, my reason for cheering on the downfall of Eve’s Laser Clinic is more personal: I’m glad the clinic is being investigated and might be shut down, with punitive measures against the owner and operator, because money made from making people feel shitty about themselves is dirty money. More than $25,000, it should all be taken away from her, the way her business’s commercials stole from people’s contentment. Those commercials held a mirror up to alot of people’s deepest insecurities, and threw on the harshest possible light.
The human body is amazing. We were all given the gift of amazing, the day we were conceived. We spend our whole lives inside this amazingness, and it bears the marks of our experience. We are who we are because of how we got where we are – why stretch smooth, burn bald, and slice away pieces of ourselves? Why not say thank you for the gift of amazing by loving ourselves, just as we are – and by recognising others as fellow pieces of God’s beautiful living artwork?
Sometimes, when I start writing, I have no idea where the piece will lead – and this one has surprised me by being about love after all. Happy Valentine’s Day, amazings!