Not all the spending deferred during the Great Recession will be missed. Cosmetic surgery sets up a rat race of positional competition for better appearance, with dubious objective benefits. Natasha Singer suggests that many may now be “putting vanity on hold:”
“In Orange County, where plastic surgery is a part of their culture, doctors told me business is down 30 to 40 percent,” said Thomas Seery, the president of realself.com, a site devoted to reviewing vanity-medicine procedures. “That tells me something is fundamentally changing there.”
Even a few celebrities, those early adopters of appearance technology, have started to deride the plasticized look that sometimes accompanies cosmetic interventions, a harbinger perhaps of a new climate of restraint in which overt augmentation seems like bad taste.
However, Rhonda Rundle (on the Wall Street Journal’s cosmetic surgery beat) suggests that those hooked on appearance enhancement may merely be scaling down, rather than breaking, the habit. Appearance competition can be vital to getting ahead–or merely staying in place: