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What a waste of plastic surgery

OPINION

  • Barbie
Barbie (Chuck Berman/Chicago Tribune…)
September 16, 2012|By Stephen Markley, @stephenmarkley | For RedEye

We need some levity this Monday.

I've been saving this column for a long, long time. It's my "break the glass in case of emergency" column. It's my "crossing the streams of the proton packs" column.

With the tragic Benghazi incident abroad and the divisive, emotional standoff between teachers and the city here in Chicago, we need to be reminded of the wonderful, unflinching absurdity of the human condition, which, I would argue, is defined by Steve Markley, 28-year-old genital enthusiast, pontificating on the plastic surgery operation known as "the Barbie."

The Barbie is thus named because the intent of the surgery is to make a woman's nether regions resemble that of the famous doll. Or in the terrifying, giggling-fit-inducing words of The Atlantic, it's a "procedure in which the labia minora are completely amputated to create a 'smooth' genital look."

Strike or no strike, aren't you glad you live in Chicago instead of that horror house of Southern California where a bunch of freak show doctors pioneered this lunacy?

There's a lot to unpack here—so much that I fear one column will not do it justice, and I'll have to start a separate RedEye blog devoted entirely to discussing the Barbie.

However, first and foremost, I'm confused as to why women think their private parts need beautification when clearly the thing to work on aesthetically is the male organ. There is no such thing as a good-looking penis. They are either a 1 out of 10 or a -32 out of 10. Every male member bears a striking resemblance to the latter-day melting-wax-statue version of Sylvester Stallone we see in films such as "The Expendables 2": weirdly contorted, inexplicably veiny and oddly tanned.

Unfortunately, the plastic surgery industry would have little to work with. Sure, there is such a thing as surgery that can make it longer (ladies, the guy reading over your shoulder on the train just rushed to Google on his smartphone), but no surgeon has yet tackled the daunting aesthetic challenges posed by what 49 percent of the population has between his legs.

And yes, in order to research this column, I, as a highly professional journalist, now have "plastic surgery for penis" in my search history (well, bookmarked—whatever, don't worry about it).

Despite a stern warning against cosmetic vaginal surgery by the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women continue to ask for the Barbie in record numbers. And there is something reassuring about this, that when the aliens find the ruins of our civilization, they'll see that there was a concrete strata of this fallen world that wielded its economic power to make its genitals look prettier.

Then they'll turn to each other, their long, strange alien faces contorted in befuddlement, clutching scraps of newspaper describing an overheating climate, dwindling resources, religious confrontation, and raging debates over how to educate the populace, and say:

"Wait, their scientists grew a self-aware, fully cognizant, human-sized male sex organ just so it could appear in an action film that grossed less than $30 million for the opening weekend box office? I get the Barbie, but what sense does that make?"

RedEye special contributor Stephen Markley is the author of "The Great Dysmorphia" and "Publish This Book."

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