Nude beaches problematic for plastic surgeons

As a cosmetic plastic surgeon, I spend most of my day looking at and moving around the flesh of people in the nude. That is my job. I don’t think twice about lifting a breast up or squishing a tummy down. I wear my white coat and with my state-sanctioned license to practice surgery and medicine, I go about my business.

When I leave the office, my brain changes and I go into normal human mode. This means I am not looking at everyone and everything through my cosmetic plastic surgeon eyes that can lead to life changes,  but rather through the eyes of a mere mortal.

Then I went to the beach at the French island of Guadalupe.

My first experience with  Topless Beaches was when I was a teenager and went for holidays with my family to St. Tropez in France.  That was where Brigitte Bardot  (Google her if you don’t know who I’m talking about) had gone to live, and it was the place to be in the summer in the 1970s.

I had seen enough girly magazines at boarding school not to be shocked by the sight of voluminous jiggling flesh and firmer bouncing breasts. My 8-year-old brother had not seen the magazines. He was walking along happily on the beach until he came upon the nude beach and, as family lore goes, let out a primal scream and ran away in horror, crying all the way back to the car.

Monokini (going topless) has been common on continental beaches for the past 40 years, even though it goes in and out of style to a certain degree. Men are always topless on beaches (have you noticed that?). That level of female nudity has never caught on at our puritanical American shores.

Nevertheless, there I was looking at a whole range of naked bodies and… I was back at work! It lasted for a few days. I was looking at every breast and following it down to the tummy or shooting up to the face and nose (Gallic noses have fame in plastic surgery circles). Every patient/person on the beach was scrutinized as if in the privacy of my office consultation room, and each was assigned a therapeutic and surgical plan. A breast augmentation here, a tummy tuck there. The possibilities were endless.

My frenzied brain settled down after a few days and a few rum-laden treatments. I could then look on the world again through the eyes of a normal and nonchalant French holiday-maker.

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