Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Real Housewives of OC: Can Botox Buy Love and Happiness?

The Bravo TV reality series, The Real Housewives of Orange County, follows the lives of five women, ages 40 to early 50's, the majority of whom have been nipped, tucked, botoxed, and boob jobbed.

We wondered, do cosmetic makeovers really make a difference in one's life, bringing happiness and or success?

In the 3rd season, viewers lived vicariously through the five women as they went about their southern California sun-drenched lives, living in beautiful homes in gated communities with marble floors and crystal clear blue pools in the backyard.

We watched as the 40-year-old Tamra, along with the 40-something Tammy and 52-year-old Quinn attended a "botox" party at a plastic surgeon's office. Both Tamra and Tammy opted for botox shots in between "liquid" refreshments while Quinn politely declined.

What is Botox®? Botox® injections are a diluted form of botulism which is injected into facial muscles to paralyze or weaken the muscles that form wrinkles. Last year, the procedure was performed in the United States more than 1.6 million times, a 46 percent increase since 2000 and a 2,356 percent increase since 1997. Source - Smart Plastic Surgery
With the exception of Quinn, who looks the most "natural," all the "housewives" have had cosmetic work done, to their faces, their breasts and bodies. The 52-year-old Quinn claims to still have her "own" face but we're not sure about the boobs.
The most common side effects of botox cosmetic are usually correlated to the local injection of the solutions. Patients face the chance of a contusion at the site of the injection. On extremely rare occasions, a sore may develop on the white of the eye (corneal ulceration). In less than 1% of the cases patients may suffer a side effect from Botox such as a temporary eyelid droop. But this is very slight and momentary and in most cases the patient may not even notice it. Source - AC Media
As for Lauri, Jeanna, Tamra, and Tammy, all have had work done on either their face, breasts, or both. Their faces are smooth and wrinkle free. Lauri and Jeanna's lips look artificially inflated. All of them have had their breasts redone, the gray in their long hair dyed into submission. For the most part, they all dress the same as their daughters.

This season we followed Lauri as she prepared for her wedding with the handsome and wealthy George. Lauri's fourth marriage, she vowed it would be her last. We're not sure how many times George has been married but between the two they have seven children.

Lauri has become the middle-aged Cinderella. In the first season of the show Lauri was forced to downscale her standard of living after her third divorce. By the second season she was ensconced at George's house in San Juan Capistrano and engaged to get married.

It's rumored the wedding cost close to a half a million bucks and that Lauri and George married back in September. The close of the 3rd season will be Lauri and George's nuptials. Did Lauri's over-bleached blond tresses, collagen lips, thick slab of makeup and silicon breasts attract George? If Lauri had her natural hair color, whatever that was, sans makeup and the 36DD's... would George have still been "attracted" to Lauri or have the various "upgrades" undertaken by Lauri, merely "enhanced" or added to her "attractiveness?"

Last week Tamra celebrated her 40th birthday at a party on her husband's new yacht. He had just purchased the boat with a business partner. Her husband told the party goers he didn't have much money leftover from the yacht purchase and handed her a gift from a lingerie shop, it was amusing to see Tamra's reaction. It was apparent she was miffed until she opened the gift and found a diamond encrusted Rolex watch.

Even though their own standard of living would make the Average Joe a king, it was fun to see the various reactions to the watch. Vicki complained she didn't own one, even though she could afford several. Jeanna proclaimed she had a watch just like Tamra's, that she wore it every day. Ho-hum, no big deal. And yet it was obvious, no matter how expensive the watch, that it was Lauri who had pulled off the biggest coup on Real Housewives by roping in George.

The newest "housewife" is divorced mom and non-botoxed 52-year-old Quinn. This season she is dating "Billy" the 40-year-old golf pro. We cringed when she asked Billy if he was her boyfriend and Billy refused to answer. According to Quinn, she and Billy had been "dating" for over three months and that he had never verbalized that they were boyfriend-girlfriend. We wondered why Quinn felt she needed to continue to "date" this person after his non-answer.

Married bleached blond Vicki, in her forties, has the smooth Japanese kabuki-like face, as does the early 50's Jeanna and Lauri.

Tammy doesn't spend enough time on the show but her current boyfriend had his face blurred, whatever that means.

Vicki is frustrated that she doesn't "have it all" and is not happy with her current husband, Donn, who's not afraid to tell her off in front of their friends. (Or national television)

Jeanna is divorcing her husband Matt, who is currently serving jail time for violating his previous probation which occurred when he was convicted of driving while intoxicated.

Tamra is overly concerned with staying "hot" and "youthful." A tell tale sign that her looks are everything. This doesn't bode well as she continues to age, her self-esteem based on her "outside."

Quinn is dating Billy who refuses to say he's her boyfriend. Quinn, an attractive women, seems bent on getting Billy to change his mind. For the life of us we cannot understand why. There are other fish in the Orange County sea.

Lauri is now married to the handsome and rich George. According to Lauri, her fourth and final marriage.

Did the botox injections and boob jobs make a substantial difference in the quality of these women's lives? Are they satisfied with themselves when they look into their mirror or does each new wrinkle strike fear into their hearts?

Would a man be happy with such a woman, a woman afraid to age or do men want women who are perpetually young, their faces smooth and wrinkle-free as Japanese kabuki dancers?

The current consensus on the Real Housewives is that they do "have it all" in regards to material possessions and a great place to live, that's if you love the southern California lifestyle. Otherwise their personal "happiness"is not such a "sure thing."

"Looks" are paramount, at least among themselves. The men, at least the "good" ones, are few and far between. So it seems there is no "guarantee" that facelifts, botox injections or boob jobs will bring the prince, one with enough money and looks, a la George.

Or perhaps the botox and other procedures are thought of as "stop-gap" measures or "insurance" against the cruel horrors of aging.

Or perhaps, in the end, it's fear, fear of looking "old" and therefore, less of a commodity, for any future "trading."

Image - Real Housewives
Image - Lauri Waring


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