PRINT February 1993


Secret Vices

HERE’S WHAT HAPPENS: fat slithers off cheekbones, gouging ravines down the face. Cartilaginous noses and ears continue to grow, heedless. Lips shrink, lengthening that unnamed space between hairy nostril and mouth. Gums retract; result: “long in the tooth.” Earlobes turn pendulous, drooping under their own weight. Eyelids disappear beneath the mud-slide of a brow truly and finally smitten with gravitas. Pigment lumps; capillaries explode. If you live in horror of the body, aging only tells you you’re right.

The guilty pleasure/secret vice of many feminists is eager discussion of face-lifts, particularly, I’ve lately found, when those feminists are artists. The flute-playing satyr Marsyas was flayed by Apollo because he was the familiar boastful-artist type who roams the world seeking comeuppance. Truly annoying—one understands the god’s response—but he seems to have started something: take

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