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Face Off

The other day, I indulged in one of my many guilty pleasures. Specifically, I watched a programme called "Face Lifts From Hell."

Like many factual programmes, you can learn a little something from "Face Lifts from Hell", and tonight I took away this little nugget: It's not immigrants or asylum seekers that are putting a drain on the national health service. It's idiots from this country.

One woman on tonight's programme (and I don't want to appear misogynistic, but there were no men featured; draw your own conclusions) went on a surgery holiday. The basic premise is that you go on a package trip with a group of other desperate people, and they cart you off to Poland to have various bits of your anatomy sucked, snipped, sliced and tightened.

This woman, who, due to numerous face-lifts, looked like she was constantly hurtling forwards at about 97 miles an hour, had some sort of breast-enhancement and, after surgery, was taken to a small apartment in a block with all the other patients and left there to recuperate. She was essentially dumped in a flat in Poland and left to her own devices with a group of equally vacuous and recently-mutilated women.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, she contracted an infection.

She then came back to the UK and, at a cost of 5,000, had to have things fixed. (Her bosom was left comically lopsided, to my great amusement, but this is a serious point. Ironically, a serious point is also what one of her boobs was left with.)

If this was an isolated case I could let the matter go, but the entire programme was like a hit parade of idiots who now had bodies as defective looking as their brains almost certainly are.

One woman - I swear this is the truth - was talked into cosmetic surgery by a travelling face-lift salesman. I'm not making this up. Someone came to this woman's door and convinced her to get a face-lift she didn't really want. I have enough trouble figuring out how my dad always seems to end up with windows and bank accounts he didn't have any intention of aquiring after someone knocks on the door, but how in the name of all that is holy can you even consider listening to someone who goes door to door trying to convince people to be drugged to unconsciousness so that a stranger can slice into them and pull their skins on tighter?! Am I the only one who would hear alarm bells ringing in my head if this happened to me?! Possibly, yes, as this woman leapt at the chance and was genuinely surprised when things ended in tears.

Another woman travelled from Turkey for liposuction, and woke up a week later in a different hospital with what can only be described as a seam. She now looks like you could unzip her and keep pencils in her stomach. Apparently the surgeon, who, wouldn't you know it, had a history of this sort of thing, botched the operation, severed an artery, and had to rush her to a (stop me if you see this coming) NHS hospital for treatment.

While I'm ranting, I may as well mention the lap dancer who wanted her breasts increased from a B cup to a C. She woke up with an F (am I the only one who pictures her relatives standing around with deeply interested looks and yelling "SURPRISE!" as she comes to?) and as a result could no longer lap-dance. Not to fear. She's since become a teacher. Perhaps this goes some way to explaining the state of the education system, too, but that's another story.

Our penultimate contestant tonight was a heavy smoker with a heart condition (who, funnily enough, was starting to look a little aged.) She was, to be charitable, nothing special to look at anyway. She also happened to neglect to mention her heavy smoking and heart problems to her surgeon, and ended up having a stroke from the stress of the procedure. What a shocker.

However, our prize winner tonight was a woman who had two children and put on weight (she actually put on the equivalent amount of weight of two ten-year-old children, by my calculation) and was offered a stomach reduction and lyposuction on (just the girls! People on the left! All together!) the NHS. Her operation wound became infected, and she contracted gangrene. But this isn't the end of the story. Oh no. After three days, she was allowed home, and was, in her own words, in agony. She then suffered several fits. This, I'm sure you'll agree, is where most of us would plan a return to the hospital. Instead, without going into the exquisite and mind-numbingly sickening detail she indulged in, she waited a further five days (with her condition becoming progressively worse) and nearly died.

Now, is it me, or is there a pattern, here? From what I can see, the sort of people who have cosmetic surgery are the same sort of people who travel to a Polish ghetto for operations, accept advice from travelling facelift salesmen, who don't think that mentioning your liability to have a heart attack mid-operation is anything to trouble your doctor with, and decide that having a series of fits following an operation should be considered a "wait and see" sort of situation.

People who go in for cosmetic surgery, by and large, are stupid.

Now, I'm not for a moment suggesting that there aren't good reasons. If you've been burned or damaged in some severe way that wasn't your fault, or if your body really does look terrible for whatever reason, I can understand the desire to do something about it. Otherwise, here's a pretty solid, iron-clad law of physics from someone who was a straight C student in science: People get older!! Believe it or not (you probably will, I'm quite dull) you've aged since you started reading this. Yeah, you. You, there, in the chair, looking at the screen with the slightly slack-jawed expression you didn't realise you adopted when you read things.

Most people just accept it and move on with things.

If you can't, here's the first of my tips: Stop smoking. Without exception, every single woman of 50-something I've ever seen cram her flabby, drooping body into an outfit far too low, high, tight and stretchy for her has also had a cigarette in her mouth. And too much makeup, but one thing at a time. If you want to stay young-looking, stop poisoning your lungs and skin with nicotine. It'll do you wonders.

Secondly, here's my tip for losing weight without having to have a vacuum cleaner inserted into any orifices or incisions. It's a simple equation: Less food, more exercise. Or, even, equal it out. Exercise proportionate to how much you're eating. Keep an eye out for this, you'd be surprised how many fat people seem oblivious to this law.

As soon as people start to accept that shit (and age) happens, and begin to look after themselves, they'll stop being a drain on the NHS from their botched face-lifts ("Who knew 'Crazy Achmed' wasn't a reputable surgeon?!") and everyone else with real injuries might get some frigging treatment.

This, more than anything else, is the problem with the world today. Years of increased convenience (remember when you had to walk to a certain part of the house just to make a phone call?!) has left western humanity softer than an impotent marshmallow and just desperate for someone or something to blame, and for someone or something else to fix it. "I'm 50 and don't look as good as I did at 19! There must be someone to blame and some procedure I can have!" It's just going to happen, people, and until we all start to face up to the simple and oft-overlooked fact that life has a habit of sucking, we'll never get anywhere. And the people who can't accept that, of course, also can't accept it when their desperate, sad attempts to beat the cosmic house fail, and so they complain about that. I guess, at the end of the day, I'm trying to get across a simple message: You were the one who chose to have that operation, madam, and if it doesn't turn out well, there's nobody to blame but yourself.

Incidentally, I have another weight loss tip. If you can't bear to exercise and cut back on what you eat, just smoke yourself thin. You'll look old, but I can give you the number of a really good plastic surgery salesman. Honest. He's just knocking on the door, now...

Luke Haines

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