Jewish World Review Oct. 6, 2004 / 21 Tishrei, 5765

Lori Borgman

Lori Borgman
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Consumer Reports

Some beauties are a cut above the rest | A husband in China was so upset his wife gave birth to an "ugly" baby girl that he accused her of having an affair. She confessed to saying, "I do" to plastic surgeons multiple times before saying, "I do," to her husband at the altar. He filed for divorce and sued for deceit.

All nipping and tucking aside, what kind of man calls his own baby ugly? True, not all babies look like Gerber babies, but ugly? I'll grant you that some of them arrive with faces looking a little smashed, but it wasn't an easy trip. Some of them look shriveled and wrinkled like they soaked in the tub too long, but ugly?

Surely, there's a kinder way. Maybe, "Isn't she interesting looking?" Or, "She looks a lot like her great grandpa Orville." Short of having green horns and a spiked tail, well, even then it is not appropriate to call a baby ugly - seriously unattractive maybe, but not ugly.

Our first-born entered this world with such a cone-shaped head, we could have played ring toss on the maternity ward. When he began walking at an early age, and was still bald, friends occasionally called him E.T., but at no time did anyone use the word ugly.

Our middle child was born with a forehead you could land a Boeing 747 on, but at no time did we call the darling ugly. Our youngest had a perfectly round head shaped like a basketball, but at no time did we call her ugly. We did make awful puns using the world dribble when baby food oozed back out of her mouth, but we did not use the word ugly.

It is a dreadful mistake to call any baby ugly because looks change so incredibly quickly. Babies have a way of growing into little pug noses, and out of rolls of fat overnight. Before you know it, they have morphed dramatically and are at that awkward, gangly, pre-adolescent stage that challenges description.

With this new-emerging concern over how babies look, it is probably just a matter of time before pre-nuptial financial agreements are joined by pre-nuptial plastic surgery disclosure statements. "Do you swear that the nose on your face is the nose God gave you? Is the chin beneath your mouth the chin you have had since birth? Have your eyebrows always arched like you are asking a question? At any time, have you had fat removed from your thighs, knees, hips or buttocks?

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"Do you promise to pass on only high cheek bones, a trim waist and shapely legs to any offspring born of this union? Are those your real _?" Oh, never mind. In the recent Miss Universe pageant, Miss Brazil was a 22-year-old who had four plastic surgeries and 19 cosmetic procedures. By all rights, she should have printed the names of her surgeons on the banner she wore across her chest. Sort of like the Staples Center or the RCA Dome - corporate sponsors getting their due.

But before you go clucking your tongue at Miss Brazil, you should know that she is cutting edge. China is set to host the first Miss Plastic Surgery Beauty Pageant. To enter, contestants must show documented proof that their beauty is the result of a surgeon's scalpel.

For decades, China banned beauty pageants as capitalistic and decadent.

Now, in what can only be termed an about-face, leaders think such a pageant will be good for both tourism and commerce.

It's a beautiful thing.

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JWR contributor Lori Borgman is the author of , most recently, "Pass the Faith, Please" (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.) and I Was a Better Mother Before I Had Kids To comment, please click here. To visit her website click here.


© 2004, Lori Borgman