• Rick Gomez/Corbis

    Nip, Tuck

    My Plastic Surgery Regrets

    Two-thirds of baby boomers would get work done if they could afford it—but Michele Willens wishes she'd known more about the negative side effects before going under the knife.

    Beauty—and the lengths people will go to get it—is an evergreen issue. Next month, actress-director Elizabeth Andrews will debut her short film, The Face, in which viewers watch a woman decide whether to go under the knife. Even humorist Paul Rudnick, in his new Young Adult novel, Gorgeous, deals with what he calls "the degree to which beauty rules our lives. Mirrors are more dangerous than drugs and more readily available."

    On this very website, Samantha Marshall touted the success she has had with numerous cosmetic surgeries. I am thrilled for her, but lately, I have run into—and experienced—more and more disenchantment on the subject. I had some work done on my neck and chin area about a year and a half ago. Barbara, my downstairs neighbor, had a similar procedure in January. We both had six very good, satisfied weeks. Since then, she has been suffering one medical mishap after another. My repercussions have been mostly of the mental variety.

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  • Blend Images/Corbis

    Blowing the bank

    Europe's Facelift Capital

    Cosmetic surgeries surge in one recession-struck country.

    Even as Greece struggled with harsh austerity measures to scramble its way out of economic crisis, its citizens are blowing the bank on facelifts and other forms of cosmetic surgery. In 2011, one in 79 Greeks invested in a cosmetic procedure, from liposuction to eyelid correction and Botox—making it second only to South Korea in the proportion of procedures performed. Surgeons are reportedly cutting their costs to appeal to recession-era budgets, and psychologists say that the boom in cosmetic surgery is hardly a surprise during a time of national insecurity. Meanwhile, the near-bankrupt government is desperately trying to wrestle its bloated health care system under control, and about 35 percent of Greeks have no health insurance at all.

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  • DUEL/Cultura, Corbis

    Pert and Perky

    Your Small Nipples Are Hot

    From Botticelli to John Updike, the rosebud nipple has long dominated Western art.

    In case you haven’t heard, a nipple movement is sweeping the U.K. Ladies from Liverpool to Essex are increasingly looking to define, darken, and enlarge their areolae, shelling out as much as $1,800 for “tittooing,” a not-so-clever nickname for the two-hour tattooing procedure.

    Sure, it could be a passing fad, but big nipples are in—and tittooing is poised to upend the landscape of breasts as we know them in the Western world. Taking our cues from the arts, we’ve long idealized the small, salmon-colored nipples of Botticelli’s Venus. Fashion tends to favor small nips as well (Kate Moss’s dime-size areolae are almost as famous as the model herself). Nipples are slightly more varied in the adult-entertainment industry, but there’s little diversity when it comes to highbrow smut. Playboy’s bare-breasted models may be buxom, but their nipples are rarely larger than pepperonis.

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