And that last word in the title is not "Bitch" (or "Beast," for that matter), as you will soon see.
Last week I went to a bookstore with a friend of mine for an author event, the author being a friend of a friend of hers from NY. Or more like a tennis partner of a friend of hers. The author in question was Alex Kuczynski (Am I wrong in feeling proud that I can spell--not to mention pronounce-- that last name correctly without looking it up? Do I rock or what?), and she was in town to promote her recently released, and highly lauded, book, Beauty Junkies: Inside Our $15 Billion Obsession with Cosmetic Surgery. (Check out the 11/13/06 New Yorker review of the book, for instance). I will, at some point, if I am granted more than a single free moment between now and the New Year, have something to say about the book itself. This posting however, is about what happened, what oh so interesting things I learned, at the event.
Worried we were late (bloody LA traffic), my friend and I hurried into Duttons Beverly Hills (What? You thought it would be the Brentwood branch???). After surreptitiously checking out everyone's face and body for telltale signs of "work" (and of course, EVERYONE was checking out everyone else for the same thing), we were in line waiting to meet the fabulously tall Ms. Kuczynski (5' 11" BEFORE she dons her 4" leopard print wedge heels--which were also fabulous, I have to say. At that point, I was more interested in her shoes than the faces or other various body parts of the guests). The only person we recognized was Steve Martin's ex, Victoria Tennant (who looks beautifully ethereal, btw--but not necessarily physically altered). It turns out the filmmaker Henry Jaglom was there, too, but we only realized that fact after Alex introduced him to some other people. Perhaps there were other famous folk in attendance, but not being in the industry, my friend and I couldn't spot 'em. Nothing even approaching the tres cool sighting my family and I had of Al Pacino in Baskin-Robbins a few days later. Someone buy that man a comb, for God's sake. But I digress. . .
So, there we were, chatting away in line while Mr. Jaglom had Ms. Kuczynski sign a whole pile of her books. We didn't even really notice the slightly overweight man right behind us in line. However, once we began speaking with her, Ms. kuczynski introduced us to this gentleman--the famous, at least in our neck of the woods, Dr. Steven Teitelbaum, plastic surgeon. Well, we figured the conversation might turn to the obvious--but little did we know that in a very few moments we would know far, far more about Dr. T and pubic trends than we ever, ever wanted to know. And no, I did not mean to say "public." You read it right the first time.
Somehow, and I'm not clear on how we got there, the subject of waxing came up, and the talk turned to someone named, I think, Lydia, who is (according to another friend of mine) a well-known waxer in NY. (I wonder if there's a fancier word for that? Depilator?) Now, apparently, someone Alex knew (and I'm a bit fuzzy on the details here) told Dr. T when he was in NY to try getting his scrotum waxed. My friend and I blanched. While it is one thing to get the bikini area waxed, we were horrified at the thought of waxing the tissue-thin skin on the scrotum. We were also horrified to learn that Dr. T had tried it and loved it, so much so, that he was planning to do it again the next time he was in NY. Needless to say, this was the height of TMI. In the space of, no exaggeration, 2 minutes of meeting Dr. T, we'd learned what has to be among the most intimate details of this guy's life. Everybody all together now:
He, however did not bat an eye while relating all this, and I don't know if he simply enjoyed the outrageousness of making such statements to perfect strangers, or he just deals with so many private parts and functions of the body that he was desensitized to what might be considered a bit, well, too private. Now, while I'm trying to take all this in and follow the rest of the conversation, having to do with men joining the wax brigade in legions--asses, backs and, of course, scrotums, I'm also desperately trying to remember if scrotums are considered to be unusually hairy. Well, I've never noticed anything unusual or particularly off-putting, but maybe I'm not terribly observant. Or maybe I've just been married too long.
Perhaps Alex was trying to get the conversation on slightly more conventional grounds when she mentioned that she no longer waxed her legs. . .but still did her bikini line. (At least that's how I remember the conversation; it's quite possible that in my state of shock I got it all mixed up.) If that was her intention, it was to no avail, as the next words out of Dr . T's mouth were "Why [do you still wax your bikini area]? The BUSH IS BACK!" That part of the conversation I was NOT fuzzy on. (Is it possible to blanch and blush at the same time? If so, I did it.)
I could just imagine Dr. T on the Today show. . .
"And now for our segment on fashion and beauty, here's the world-famous plastic surgeon Dr. Steven Teitelbaum who, with the help of these fabulous nude models, will comment on the latest in pubic trends and other body work for this season . . . Dr. Steve?"
"Well, ladies, you'll be glad to know: THE BUSH IS BACK, as you can see from our first model. I find this look much more appealing as the larger swath of pubic hair nicely balances out the extra-large breasts most women-in-the-know- are sporting these days. You know how we Plastic surgeons like symmetry. . . Actually, I predict that next season we may see more women seeking butt and hip implants to continue balancing out the upper halves of their body. Don't want anyone tipping over!!!! Heh, heh, heh! Thank you Tiffany.
"Now, our next model, Sampson, sports the newest trend in male hairlessness--the waxed scrotum. Samson, could you turn around and bend over? See how smooth and shapely he is--just like a baby's bottom. And speaking of bottoms, as you can also see, the waxed ass continues to be a big, big trend this season. Just makes wearing those silky briefs so much more. . . sensational! Back to you, Matt."
Well, needless to say, the rest of the evening was a bit of a let down, in comparison. Kuczynski, who is really very intelligent and well-spoken--after all, you don't get to write for the NYT if you're a complete idiot--spoke for a short while and answered a couple of questions--in her rather lock-jawed way. But she looked great. Those early surgeries she had when she was in her 20's and early 30's (it's all in the book) must have stood her in good stead. Still, despite claiming in her book not to have had botox lately, her forehead was suspiciously immobile and wrinkle-free. Is it, as she claims in her work, the result of a decade's worth of botox (ab)use, or has she just fallen off the wagon, hmm? No one asked, and I certainly wasn't gutsy enough to. My proper Southern and Jewish upbringing frowns upon (oops, frowning causes facial wrinkles), embarrassing anyone in public.
As for what was going on beneath her dress, I most certainly do not want to know. . .