Most of the marketing email that arrives in the Time Goes By inbox amuses Crabby Old Lady. The writers like to dress up their form letters with a little chumminess – first name in the salutation - and then structure the letter so the blog name can be dropped in halfway through the sales pitch. They often end with an overly familiar closing, as though the flack and Crabby have been best friends for a decade or so.
These “personalizations,” intended to flatter readers into thinking they have been singled out as important trend setters, are dead giveaways of second-rate PR tactics and Crabby usually dumps them straight into trash.
But two days ago in a PR email suggesting that retirement lacks "glamour," a sentence caught Crabby’s eye just as her finger headed for the delete key:
“How about getting pampered with a massage, a facial, or perhaps a tummy tuck?”
Say what? Crabby’s double-take was so swift it nearly spun her head off her neck. Certainly, she’d read that wrong. But no.
The friendly flack continued:
“My client, a Los Angeles-based surgical and wellness center not only offers breast augmentation/reduction, tummy tucks, and liposuction, but also aromatherapy treatments, foot reflexology, face-lift massages, and much more.
“All spa services can be paired with cosmetic surgery to assist the body in its natural healing abilities.”
Oh, yeah, Crabby will have a little liposuction with the manicure.
When, Crabby wants to know, did surgery – you know, that procedure for which they put you under anesthesia which can be administered only by trained physicians and then cut open your body so you bleed and if the surgeon doesn’t know what he’s doing you die – become synonymous with harmless, feel-good, relaxation techniques?
This is dangerous territory, equating surgical procedures – which are always life-threatening – with hippie-dippie, so-called “natural healing abilities” induced by the aroma of ylang-ylang. This is how far American culture’s hatred of the outward signs of aging has gone and Crabby Old Lady is not the first one to notice:
“Still, Dr. Rothman worries that these tiny procedures may create a demand for serial liposuction in which patients come to view surgery as a maintenance technique, like fitness.
"’We already have a model for this with Botox and Restylane, where people go to their doctors every few months to get another shot whenever they feel like it,’ Dr. Rothman said. ‘Maybe liposuction will become like a gym membership where you pay a doctor $10,000 for the year and you can have as much surgery as you want.’"
- - The New York Times, 15 June 2006
Until this email arrived, Crabby Old Lady would have thought stopping by the spa after work for a massage and tummy tuck was a TV comedian’s joke about Hollywood lifestyles. But she also would not have believed, until last week, that the U.S. Supreme Court would uphold no-knock police intrusions into private homes.
Both are abhorrent developments and each in its own way has the potential to kill.