By Greg Dawson
In his hypothetical before-and-after image, it appears that the columnist could indeed roll back the years through strategic use of plastic surgery. Sadly, he notes, the procedure would not be covered by his Medicare Disadvantage Plan.

Thirty years ago, when I was unwrinkled, I saw a documentary about aging gracefully that ended with the dreamy scene of a wizened but still lovely nonna dining with her doting extended family in the shade of a hilltop olive tree in Tuscany.

Having always been snidely dismissive of plastic surgery as a pathetic attempt by celebrities and the super-rich to deny the aging process, I thought: “That’s what I want to do — age organically in the shade of an olive tree in Tuscany.”

The closest I’ve come to Tuscany was taking a wrong turn on the way to a Jackson-Hewitt office in Casselberry and ending up on Via Tuscany in Winter Park. Meanwhile, time marches on. In the morning I look in the mirror and think of a line from a Three Dog Night party song: “Mama told me not to come/ that ain’t no way to have fun, son.”

The worst part — fun likely had nothing to do with my wrung-out appearance. Usually, I’d fallen asleep on the couch watching a DVR’ed episode of The Great British Baking Show. This is the reward I get for eating right, exercising and being a non-smoker and drinker — looking like an extra in The Hangover?

“Gravity always wins, Mother Nature always wins,” Dr. David Plank, an Altamonte Springs plastic surgeon, told me. Yes, I said, but does she have to be so mean about it?

I had come to Dr. Plank to see if he could do anything about the damage. I never would have done this back in the day, but things change when you go from “The Young and the Restless” to “The Old and the Reclining.” There’s been a surge in men having work done over the past 20 years — and Florida is now the makeover capital of America.

The YesStylist Blog Team studied stats and crowned Florida the state “Most Obsessed with Cosmetic Surgery,” ahead of California and New York. The least-obsessed are places like Montana and the Dakotas, I guess because there aren’t a lot of folks in those parts to impress — and you don’t want to confuse the farm animals by changing your appearance.

“A lot of men are getting more physically fit, looking and feeling better, and want their faces to match,” Dr. Plank said. “Women want the global picture. They want to do, like, extra stuff. Men want very functional surgery. ‘I don’t like this, just fix it.’ It’s like going to a mechanic. ‘My car isn’t running right, just fix it.’”

Before beginning my “global facial analysis,” I thought Dr. Plank, who turns 50 this month but looks thirtysomething, might toss my ego a bone, such as: “Seventy-four? No way! I was thinking 65, max.” So…

“You look your stated age.” Period. Full stop.

Dr. Plank went on to catalog sunspots (“Wisdom spots, if you will”), forehead lines and excess skin on my upper eyelids. He noted that my “negative canthal tilt” — the outside corner of my eyes — droop down.

He continued: “You have kind of a sad look. As you look at youth — all cartoon characters, all portraits from the Renaissance — they’re all up. The beautiful people always have a positive canthal tilt. The Greeks deciphered this aesthetic. Your face is no different from the Pantheon.”

Was Dr. Plank saying that my face looked 1,899 years old, the age of the Pantheon? When he said that all cartoon characters have the positive canthal tilt of beauty, did he forget that earlier he had told me that I have Deputy Dawg eyes?

There was more: “Your lower eyelids have soft tissue excess, little fat pockets. There’s a membrane back there called the septum, like a little dam, that weakens as we age and the fat behind the septum bulges out.”

And still more: “Going down from the nose, you have nasolabial folds — facial descent. From the corner of your mouth to your jaw line, those are called marionette lines. Lateral to your marionette lines is jowling. On your neck, you have some platysmal banding.” 

In other words, turkey neck. It stings to be likened to a cartoon dog, a puppet, a dam about to burst, an ancient temple and a turkey. But Dr. Plank cushioned the blow by recommending work — using technology that enables him to Photoshop faces the way the Property Brothers on HGTV Photoshop dumps into showplaces.

“You’re a nice, thin gentleman. You’ve got gray hair, that distinguished look,” he said, moving his shaper around the screen. “If you did a lot to your mid-face, it would look kind of…odd. But if you improved the neck, smoothed the jowling to bring out the jaw line. What do you think — five years younger-looking right there?”

For sure. But also $8,000 to $10,000 right there, Dr. Plank estimated, plus another $6,000 if I wanted to lose the Deputy Dawg look by fixing my upper and lower lids. And none of it is covered by my Medicare Disadvantage Plan. Sad look.

I’m afraid I’ll have to wait until Costco starts offering cosmetic surgery at prices I can afford. Meanwhile, you may find me some days on Via Tuscany searching for an olive tree where I can age organically. Gobble, gobble. 

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