Is it grooming, vanity or insanity? the world of cosmetic surgery
We all like to look good, and in the gay community it is a big thing. Some might argue itâ€™s one of the things that marks gay men out from their straight peers.
So how far would you go to look your best at a gay bar on a gay friendly night out in Soho, for a gay friendly holiday? A good haircut and some trendy clothes? A little injectable help every now again, to keep you looking fresh? Or how about going under the knife, improving your body or face surgically? Is there a line between grooming and a cosmetic procedure, or are they both just part of looking good, is the LGBT and gay community willing to go surgical sooner?
â€œLGBT and gay community members tend to have the same procedures as the straight community,â€ says Dr John Quinn, a GP and cosmetic doctor from The Private Clinic in Harley Street and Q Clinics in Bristol. â€œThe most popular is definitely Botox, closely followed by dermal fillers, skin peels and lasers. Most patients know we can do great things without surgery these days.
â€œThe one difference I do see between the LGBT gay community members and the straight community is that, the gay community start having treatments earlier on in life. Iâ€™ve never consulted a straight man under 35 but Iâ€™ve seen plenty of gay men under that age.â€
Cosmetic surgeon (and NHS cranio-facial plastic surgeon) Simon Eccles from The Consulting Suite in London, agrees.
â€œThe LGBT and gay community members go for non-surgical work such as injectables and fillers at an earlier age, but the majority of male patients I see these days, irrespective of their sexuality, are businessmen in their 40s who are looking to have cosmetic work done to allow them, in their eyes, at least, to compete with younger colleagues. They know their faces look tired so they want a bit of rejuvenation, whether thatâ€™s Botox, rhinoplasty (nose job) or blepharoplasty (eye bag/brow lift).â€
Dr Quinn says the whole concept of metrosexuality (a term originally coined by gay writer Mark Simpson) has made cosmetic procedures and surgery far more acceptable for both gay and straight people alike:
â€œWe want to look the best for where we are in life and the LGBT and gay community alone with the straight community have the same concerns and look for the same results. I hear people talking about the gay community always seeking the fountain of beauty but I just donâ€™t see that. Perhaps straight folks have caught up with us but I think thereâ€™s now a pressure on everyone to look a certain way.â€
Annual figures from The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) show a clear year-on-year growth in men seeking surgical and non-surgical procedures, so what does the future hold? According to Dr Quinn itâ€™s all about a more natural look, and they have put this down to the gay community, men in particular:
â€œThe aesthetic has changed in the last couple of years â€“ people want to look natural. Itâ€™s also about a combination of treatments such as Botox, fillers and lasers, aiming for an overall rejuvenation, not the forehead of a 20-year-old and the hands of a 70-year-old.â€
Surgeon Simon Eccles sees a merging of grooming and cosmetic procedures:
â€œI think the future is in procedures with less downtime for recovery, such as lunchtime liposuction, although you need to be sceptical about some of the claims being made about some of these â€˜quick fixâ€™ treatments as some of the effects only last as long as your lunchtime!
â€œWeâ€™ll also see treatments currently considered â€˜medicalâ€™ become part of your grooming regime, with increasing numbers of spas and gyms offering Botox and facial fillers alongside electrolysis, hair removal and massage.â€