Tag Archives: Plastic Surgery

Channeling Chinatown

Okay, someone please explain this to me. Apparently, here in Beirut, nose jobs have become so popular that those who cannot afford them, or don’t even actually need them, can still opt to wear bandages across their nose…to fake a nose job. Yup. The newest trend to hit the Beirut fashion scene is the post-op nose bandage. Seriously, what the what??

Jack Nicholson in Chinatown. If only this movie had been made 35 years later and in Beirut...

Jack Nicholson in Chinatown. Ahead of his time. If only this movie had been made 35 years later and in Beirut...

Sorry, but how or why is this considered a chic look?? Okay yes, nose jobs are extremely commonplace in Lebanon – in a 1999 article in the Daily Star discussing the rising popularity of plastic surgery in Lebanon, journalist Anne Renahan wrote, “The Lebanese nose:  a facial feature that some people are starting to say is an endangered species on the verge of extinction.” And that was 10 years ago… Today plastic surgery is more popular than ever and the nose job is still leading the way as the most commonly elected procedure – but still, why wear the bandages if you don’t have to??

In that same article, Rehahan continued with several interviews with Lebanese plastic surgeons, including Dr. E.M., 65, a member of the Lebanese Society of Plastic, Reconstructive and  Aesthetic Surgery.  Apparently Dr. E.M. “…[didn’t] think that the high number of nose jobs in Lebanon [was] a fashion trend. The low cost of operations means that it cannot be considered a status symbol because to a certain extent it is available to everyone. ‘The operation is easy to do and can be done in a day. And it’s also cheaper here than other countries  the average price of a nose job in the States may be up to $6,000. In Lebanon it can cost as little as $1,000,’ he says.”

Okay, first of all, I don’t know what world you live in, but in my world, $1,000 is still a fairly large chunk of change. But if, for argument’s sake, you say that $1,000 is affordable, meaning that nose jobs are not considered a status symbol, than why bother with the bandage trend at all?? What’s the point?

To me it reeks more of Halloween than high fashion, but hey, I’m no fashionista.

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Lebanese Vacation Barbie

Haifa Wehbe

Haifa Wehbe

One thing you can’t help but notice in Beirut, is the number of women who have had plastic surgery. Walking down the corniche (the boardwalk that runs alongside the Mediterranean), you see women with tightly pulled faces, power-walking while sporting skin tight jogging outfits, with matching shoes, manicured nails, full makeup, perfectly coiffed hair, and their heads held high.  Haifa Wehbe, the popular Lebanese singer and model, has had A LOT of work done and is often spoken of as the ideal Lebanese beauty. Whereas in the States, women go to their plastic surgeons asking to look more like Angelina Jolie, here, they want to look more like Haifa.

And now, in Lebanon, where the plastic surgeons are known for their talent and low prices, plastic surgery is being promoted as a draw for tourists. In fact, according to an article published today by the Agence France-Presse (AFP), Image Concept (a private company based in Dubai), has launched a cosmetic surgery tourism initiative in Lebanon that “…includes post-operation rest and recuperation in stellar resorts and even summer camps for patients’ children.” Resorts?? Summer camps for your kids??? Apparently, they take their plastic surgeries very seriously here.

Banks in Lebanon even have special low-interest loans that they offer to those interested in getting plastic surgery. Men go for plastic surgery as well, and if I had a nickel for every person I’ve seen walking around Hamra with their noses bandaged and bruised, fresh from a doctor’s visit…well honestly I’d have 25 cents, but I’ve only been here 2 weeks, and I’d say that’s a lot for 2 weeks.

“According to plastic surgeon Elias Shammas, who heads the Hazmieh centre and is affiliated with Image Concept, ‘It is a national duty for women to look the best they can.'”

So come to Lebanon for your next vacation, and you too can look more like a Lebanese Barbie!

Oh, and speaking of Lebanese Barbies, I was walking by this toy store the other day and in the window I saw….Muslim Barbie. She’s amazing!!

Fulla, sporting her different outfits

Fulla, sporting her different outfits

She’s actually not Barbie, but ‘Fulla’ (which is the Arabic name for a type of Jasmine flower and my great-grandmother’s nickname :)) – a Barbie-like doll, created by toy companies in Syria and the UAE for Muslim children as an alternative to Barbie. Fulla comes with two outfits – a more conservative outift, covering her hair and body to wear outdoors, and a slightly more revealing, more form fitting outfit to wear when she’s at home.  Her daily activities include cooking, talking to her friends, going to work, going shopping, reading magazines and praying.

Check out one of the Fulla TV commercials – fun and a little bizarre:

Barbie face or Barbie doll…I don’t know about you, but when it comes to Lebanese souvenirs, I’ll pass on the plastic surgery, but I’d love a Fulla doll ;).