Posted by: nastypen | September 21, 2007

Face Value

I’ve never had a facial. I’m talking about going to a dermatologist and having my face scrubbed with God knows what. I had a few sessions with a dermatologist when I was in high school and with raging hormones. All those disgusting pustules invading my face? Ugh. Then one day, it all cleared up.

I don’t really mess around with vanity. I’m not the type of a person who spends so much on beauty products. I’m not the one who frets about wrinkles and sun damage to the skin. Hell, there are a lot of straight men who go have their facials to look fresh and clean.

Once, I was asked who was my dermatologist because I had “such glowing skin.” I had not met a dermatologist in more than a decade. I told them I just get eight hours of sleep and that’s it. They don’t believe me. I guess I’m lucky in terms that I get zits whenever I’m stressed, ergo, I keep the stress at bay then I have clear skin.

I’ve never had a facial…until a few days ago.

So, I have to go interview this plastic surgeon for an article. So, we arrived and the doctor ushered us to small rooms and ordered his staff to give us facials. He said he wants the writers to experience the procedures. His wife is the dermatologist. But the doctor we interviewed does “body sculpting” and I was laughing with a friend as to what if he gives me a free liposuction and tummy tuck.

So, I was made to lie down as his clinic assistants did the procedure. The doctor mouthed off instructions about deep-cleansing and mineral wrap. I thought they were just going to scrub away the oil and grime. I was wrong.

I didn’t know there was pricking involved.

First of all, yes, I’m gay, but I do not involve myself in such process of knowing the different machinations of a facial, so I was pretty ignorant of these. No, I do not do manicures. I don’t like to waste my time and money on these queer eye activities that really numb my mind.

So, the pricking….

I wanted to slap the girl who was needling my face! I didn’t know it was that painful! My eyes watered as she plowed through my pores with cold metal implements of torture. She was showing me the dirt on my face. Since it was my first time, the dirt she harvested has been burrowed there for years. I normally have ok skin, but I felt like a dirt bag when she showed me my white heads et al.

I was thinking if I cry like a whining bitch during a facial, what more for a tattoo session? there goes my aspiration for an elaborate Japanese tattoo on my back.

I looked like this before they put mineral sludge:

I kind of look like a burn victim or a light version of this one:


Ah well, that session made me realize that facials can be used as torture during interrogation.

But I really felt clean after the session although the pain lingered on. It’s like my face felt lighter. I can see some red parts where they had to mine those dirt and pustules.

So, the interview commenced. We discussed about the business of plastic surgery. Of course, there were juicy bits. The doctor, by the way is low-key and does not whore nor ham himself in the media, cannot disclose the procedures of his patients but he implied certain celebrities who have had gone under the knife.

Why, as I was waiting for the doctor, in the other room, there was this starlet…sorry, I forgot her name, and I don’t know her…. apparently, she’s one of those up and coming girls…. she was with the doctor to have underarm whitening treatment. She was a pretty young thing who gleefully started waving like a crazed beauty queen after the treatment. She said she can wave now to the tv cameras. Lovely.

He even mentioned some stars who endorsed the biggest local brand of cosmetic surgery who go to him for touch ups because they were not pleased by the work done in said company. (Of course, we can’t write that in print, but this is a blog, and still I don’t want to name names because I blog just to write and not be an attention-whore and increase readership. I may have placed the url of this blog in my comic strips, but that is just an avenue for some readers to contact me just in case they find me un/funny. This is a personal blog. Ergo, what I say goes.)


I love it when we gossiped about a certain star who had a meltdown relationship-wise who had her arms lipo’d, her boobs enlarged, her nose “trimmed” all in the name of getting back at th guy who hurt her. There was a glint in the doctor’s eyes when he said that this star provided many jobs for plastic surgeons. Hahahaha.

The clinic is tucked away in a quiet corner in a relatively affluent section of Manila. The clinic has nice interiors albeit the kitschy feng shui crystals, statues and waterfalls strewn all over the place. Well, they work, these feng shui thingimajigs. The doctors have a busy schedule. In front of the couch, magazines are tastefully arranged. These are not just for the patients to read as they wait, but these magazines are a showcase of the doctor’s works. And he has a lot of customers. Big stars. Massive endorsers. No wonder he can spare a free facial for poor people like us. It’s his form of social responsibility? wahahahah. As if.

It’s disturbing that there is a need for this industry. Let’s be honest, appearances are important. Scientific studies show that good-looking people get better jobs and selected first. The doctor told a story of a teacher in a school. She had a nose job because despite her sterling academic background, she did not look like she belonged to that school. (that school being one of those schools for rich brats of expatriates, high society and social climbers…sorry, no names here) After her nose job, she got the job. Hey, it rhymes. So, she texted the doctor and thanked to the high heavens and believed it was a good investment.

Investment? Vanity as investment. Wow. This is progress? But, in reality, this is the way it is. It’s all about aesthetics. You can’t be an a flight attendant if you look like you just had a haircut from the mental institution. You can’t be desired for a call center job if your voice sounded like a cat being gang raped. There is a certain level of modulation done by everybody to look good. Sucking in that gut? Tilting your head a bit upward to diminish the double chin? Pursing your lips as to not look like a muppet? We all have moderate levels of modification.

Plastic surgery is hardly moderate.  On the reception area, there is a screen which has a slide presentation of before and after.  These are his patients.  And he has had men who yearned for botox and the like.  The doctor laughed that men are the ones who are deathly afraid of the procedures.  They act all macho until they see the needle approaching puncture and they get all tensed.  “Major drama,” the doctor laughs.

Men, he said, do it to boost their egos.  The stereotype of these middle-aged men is they splurge on a sportscar, driving around looking like overgrown children with wigs.  Sad.  Now, they want those lines and paunches zapped.  I wanted to act if he has had any penile enlargements done for Pinoy patients.  Nah.  The article is all about beauty enhancement.  Pensi size is dangerous territory.

We had to cut the interview because a patient is arriving.  A buzz envelopes his clinic.  I asked him if he has had politicians to “freshen up.”  He smiled, “Yes.”  Apparently, before the election, he was booked.  wahahahaa.  Who could they be?  I don’t blame them since elections recently are about media savvy and no longer about issues.

I exit his clinic, go to work and as I careen down EDSA, billboards of pretty faces eat the skyline.  I am bombarded with signs and photos of corporate-dictated beauty and my face starts to hurt again.



  1. ehhhehee
    im very allergic going to the dermatologist ahahha
    after 2 sessions…i quit!

    si lace na lang yung madalas magpunta hahahaa

    pero during HS ko.. regular ako magpunta
    kasi mura pa noon hahahah.

    medyo weird kasi parang mas less ang effect ng mga gamot sa face ngayon. compare sa dati.

    dati naputi na face ko for a week..
    ngayon kahit ilan beses ka maglagay.may pimples pa din.

  2. At least medyo mura ang facial diyan sa atin.
    Dito everytime I get a microdemabrasion it cost me $135.00 and that’s not including the 20% tip.

    Everytime one of my sisters and even my brother (yeah my brother ) ay umuuwi sa Pinas they go to Belo. I have never been there myself but I can see the difference from what I see from my brother.

    Pag uwi ko next yr Jan. 2008 I’ll give u a call and maybe we can go back duon sa dermatologist my treat!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: