Ageing couples are having cosmetic surgery together as a way of bonding or of keeping their relationship alive, according to the Los Angeles Times. “Men are figuring out what women figured out decades ago, which is that like it or not, our appearance really matters,” says David Sarwer, a psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “We see it not only in men’s pursuit of cosmetic surgery but also in the growing number of health magazines and skin-care lines directed at men.” Staying competitive on the job is another powerful motivation.
Surgical togetherness is part of a growing trend for men. The number of cosmetic procedures on men has increased by 16% since 2000 — not nearly as much as the 42% increase in women’s procedures, but still significant. The spokesman for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, New York-based Dr Darrick Antell, says that he has seen a 15% increase in couples in his own practice over the past two years.
Cosmetic surgeons warn that appearance plays such an important role in relationships that procedures can be counterproductive. A spouse without surgery may begin to feel that their partner will dump them for someone younger. In any case, even doctors say that cosmetic surgery will not make people happier. “There is pretty conclusive evidence that cosmetic surgery does lead to an improvement in body image,” says Sarwer. “But there is not much evidence that surgery improves self-esteem and quality of life, both of which derive from so much more than just the way we look.”
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