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LAce Posted Monday, July 10th, 2006
Lunch at The Marlton Grille
Donna M. Kenworthy Levy

Last month, I met the girls for lunch at The Marlton Grille inside our favorite department store in the new mall. This restaurant is really a good choice. Somehow eating there tends to curb my appetite because half the time I’m dining, I’m also thinking about all the lovely clothes I espied on the escalator on the way up, like the darling red chiffon kerchief skirt.

As I joined my friends, I couldn’t help but notice how wonderful they all looked for their ages. Of course, this is a very chic, contemporary group of women. Even if one didn’t know them personally, just their outward appearance alone communicated that they really had it together. Then I remembered that each and every one of them had had a facelift. While admiring how well the incisions in front of Kathy’s ears were healing, she remarked, “You’re next! All of us have gone under the knife now, except you.”

I knew everyone among this set of friends (I have other sets for different sides of my personality) was expecting me to make an appointment with Dr. Frankel. I figured I’d get around to picking up the phone and actually dialing his number at some future date. It’s just that the thought of scalpels and stitches fills me with dread. I still vividly remember the trauma of undergoing a tonsillectomy, and that was back when I was four.

Hearing Kathy’s comment, Marge offered up, “Oh, I’d do it again in a minute. Getting a facelift was the best decision I ever made.”

I guess I just wasn’t ready yet. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to look younger. However, what I’d really prefer though is to look like someone else, say Lana Turner in her heyday.

“Don’t think about it too long,” said Judith, then added, “Just do it. Otherwise it’s too easy to talk yourself out of something you should do. Believe me, plastic surgery is one of the best things that can happen to a woman in her sixties.”

While the waitress was busy filling our coffee cups, she had apparently been listening to our conversation. She had some thoughts of her own on the subject. “I heard the latest thing is getting an entirely new face, like that lady in France. I guess technically it would be considered organ transplant surgery. Of course, I wouldn’t want relatives and friends of the dead person to come look me up and expect me to just carry on as if I were the person who once owned the face. You know, you really gotta think about things like that.”

“Thanks for sharing,” Kathy and Judith said at the same time.

At this point, I was starting to get sick to my stomach. Maybe I wouldn’t bother ordering the grilled tilapia and salad.

Marge put on a serious expression to tell Francine Olsen’s sad story. “Her husband had put money away in a special account for her to eventually use towards paying for a facelift. Well, Francine decided that she didn’t want to create an artificially youthful face. For some reason, she didn’t think it was proper to mess with nature. What that had to do with anything, I sure as heck don’t know. Anyway, she opted to grow old naturally. She even let her grey hair grow out. So her husband Ernie made an appointment with Dr. Frankel for himself. Not only did he get a new face, he found himself a new wife, who was 20 years younger than him!”

Everyone at the table got very quiet. As I looked into those taut, unlined faces with wise ancient eyes, I felt myself being silently chastised.

“Consider yourself warned, my dear,” said Kathy.

“Well, to tell you the truth, girls, I really didn’t think I needed a facelift yet,” I said.

After they were all done laughing, Judith reached into her handbag and pulled out a mirror and handed it to me, while saying, “Here, this is for you! It was a complimentary gift from Dr. Frankel. His address and phone number on are the back.”

“Would you ladies please excuse me? I’m really not very hungry and I saw a darling red skirt that I’d like to try on,” I said.

Before I could even manage to stand up, Marge had pulled out her cell phone and handed it to me. And that’s how I ended up making an appointment for a facelift while having lunch at The Marlton Grille.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Angela Nolan [ ] on Tuesday, July 11th, 2006 at 8:33 AM
Donna, Thanks for a great piece. I always thought my mom would have a facelift (and she still may, she turns 67 the 21st), but so far she hasn't and I love her face exactly the way it is. Maybe I've seen a lot of bad ones, but most women don't look better after a facelift in my opinion. Kind of like folks that have back surgery, they rarely improve their lot. Now, hopefully, by the time I'm 67, they will be much beter at it and I'll have plenty of money for a good surgeon. :) Thanks again, a good piece to ponder.

Posted by Claudia Cunningham on Tuesday, July 11th, 2006 at 12:41 PM
Thanks for this totally absorbing peek at another world, Donna! You must tell me: is this fiction or did this actually happen to you? If fiction, it's awfully convincing! If not, won't you write us a sequel with the happy ending where you cancel your appointment :)? I'll be watching for more of your writing! Great piece!

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