British Expat Newsletter:
15 February 2006

Hello, and welcome to those who have joined up since our last newsletter.

In this issue

  • This week: Plastic surgery
  • Virtual Snacks
  • Bizarre Searches
  • Quotation and joke

This week

If you follow the news, you may recall that back in November a French woman, Isabelle Dinoire, became the first recipient of a face transplant after she’d been attacked by her dog while she slept. You’ll also have seen that she was in the news again last week – giving a press conference to thank the surgeons who rebuilt her face, and to explain how the plastic surgery had given her courage to face the future again.

It’s perfectly understandable that people would need to undergo plastic surgery in Mme Dinoire’s situation. Likewise the RAF pilots in the Second World War who – after suffering horrific facial burns in action – became the first patients of pioneering plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe and who dubbed themselves the Guinea Pig Club.

But what of those who pay for treatment simply out of vanity? Cosmetic surgery has become almost commonplace these days, especially the modern less invasive procedures such as Botox injections. (Botulinum toxin is scary stuff and can be used as a biological weapon. Botulism causes double vision, blurred vision, drooping eyelids, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, and muscular weakness, progressing to paralysis of the limbs and respiratory muscles – and eventually death.) But the old favourites – nose jobs, boob jobs, face lifts – are still there too.

Men are also increasingly turning to surgical means to enhance their appearance. Many are concerned about the crow’s feet around their eyes, or the growing size of their man-breasts. Others are more worried about their receding hairlines. And other parts also come in for attention. Small wonder that Mike Clark’s excellent article on pine trees, “A Pine to Piddle Against”, attracts so many search engine visits from people typing in “pinus enlargement”.
(You can read Mike’s article here: Clark in the Park: A pine to piddle against)

It’s so popular, in fact, that a whole new branch of the tourist industry’s arisen from it – it’s cheaper to get the surgery done overseas rather than in the West, even after taking the cost of travel into account. Thailand’s a very popular destination for all sorts of cosmetic surgery, but is probably most famous for sex change surgery. “Lady boys”, a kind of third sex in Thailand, are a major part of Thailand’s sex and entertainment industries, and many of them go far beyond mere make-up and transvestism. Breast enlargement and Adam’s apple reduction are commonplace, but full sex reassignment surgery isn’t rare either. And at only $6,000, it’s a snip!

So why is it becoming so popular? Well, I suppose in part it’s because the technology’s there and people are more able to afford it these days. But part of it must be because it’s what the “beautiful people” in Hollywood and the entertainment industry generally do – good looks go with success. Think back to the 1980s and Nancy Reagan (yes, her again) with her permanent stretched smile. But the most famous case, or the most notorious, was Michael Jackson. Although in his infamous ITV interview with Martin Bashir he denied that he’d ever had more than two operations, there’s very little of his original looks remaining. And as far as I’ve been able to tell, vitiligo (the skin condition Jacko claims to suffer from) only affects your skin pigment and does nothing to change your cheekbones, jawline or nose shape…

Do you have anything to say about this topic, or do you have some suggestions for other issues we might discuss in our weekly email? Why not comment and tell us about it?

Virtual Snacks

[Obsolete content and links removed]

Have a look at a photographic history of Michael Jackson’s face. Michael Jackson

Bizarre Searches

Some strange search terms which have led people to visit British Expat recently:

  • the loin king
  • chilled iron round shot
  • the longest most meaningless movie in the world
  • bloody flux no trousers
  • lucky man and five holes
  • african tribe with long penis
  • unusual phobias toilets
  • nicole van dam art
  • dohifellforaviking
  • where can i find out some info on the haunted houses of grimsby and cleethorpes?
  • fat airlines seats
  • inflatable lochness

Till next time…
Happy surfing!

British Expat Magazine


“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously. A person may be proud without being vain. Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves; vanity, to what we would have others think of us.”

– Jane Austen, novelist and writer (1775 – 1817)


Just as a surgeon’s finishing up an operation and is about to close, the patient awakes, sits up, and demands to know what is going on.

“I’m about to close,” the surgeon says.

The patient grabs the surgeon’s hand and says, “I’m not going to let you do that! I’ll close my own incision!”

The doctor hands him the needle and thread and says, “Suture self.”

This entry was posted in 2006 by Kay McMahon. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kay McMahon

Kay has been an expat for nearly 30 years. She set up the British Expat website back in early 2000, whilst living in London and missing the expat life. These days she spends much of her time lugging computers and cameras around the world. (Dave gets to deal with all the really heavy stuff.)

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