The latest wrinkle in cosmetic surgery is married couples who turn up in tandem for a bit of his-and-her “work.” Charles Gandee reports on the ultimate togetherness..
Though virtually all doctors make the same point about male patients, they quickly add that over the past three or four years husbands have sped closer to their wives every year. “In the eighties, we liked to say that 20 percent of our cosmetic-surgery patients were male,” reports John Sherman, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of surgery at Cornell University Medical College who has a private practice on Fifth Avenue, a Botticelli-inspired logo, and a very snazzy web site (http://www.nyplasticsurg.com). “But that was nonsense. The true number was less than 10 percent, almost 100 percent of them were gay. Then, in the late eighties, we saw there was a ‘closeted’ group of men interested in plastic surgery — straight men who would do it on the sly. Fast-forward ten years. Men have absolutely caught up with women.”
Asked if behind the influx of husbands and wives now filing into his office is the shadowy desire to keep him from the secretary and her from the gardener, Sherman says, “The motivation to seek cosmetic surgery should never be the fear of your partner straying. Not many plastic surgeons will tell you this, but trust me, no relationship has ever been salvaged because of plastic surgery. On the other hand, if the question is, ‘Do I think some couples’ sex lives are improved by plastic surgery?’ I’ve had patients say, ‘Not even a question.’ If you take a woman who has sagging breasts from breast-feeding, and you give her back the breasts she had fifteen years ago, of course there’s a new dynamic with her partner. But that’s a temporary situation: Six months later it’s on to the next issue. A marriage doesn’t hinge on whether a man has love handles, or a woman’s nipples are two centimeters higher or lower. Still, if surgery makes you feel better about yourself, you might have more self-confidence, which never hurts in a relationship.
Like many of his colleagues, Sherman knows that duets are special patients with special needs. Which he accommodates. He has, for example, a working relationship with the four-star Stanhope hotel, down the block from his office, so that you and your postoperative spouse (with the private nurse Sherman’s office arranges) can recuperate a luxe suite overlooking Central Park, forgoing hospital food in favor of room service from the hotel’s Café M. “And it’s less expensive than a hospital,” notes the doctor with the Matsuda glasses, Hermès bow tie, and vintage Rolex.