Don't be surprised if you catch a man flipping through an issue of "Men's Fitness" and wiping away tears at the same time. As it turns out, impossible beauty standards have become equal opportunity offenders. According to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the number of men going under the knife in 2010 increased by 5 percent with 1.1 million procedures performed.
Just like their female counterparts in town, the cosmetic obsession among male patients is with breasts. Unlike their female counterparts in town, they want them downsized. They're called man boobs and surgery to reduce them held the No. 4 spot on the list of most popular surgical procedures among men nationwide last year. Locally, they're all the rage.
Las Vegas plastic surgeon Dr. Julio Garcia blames Mario Lopez's perfect pectorals, among other things. "The guy (Lopez) has no body fat. These guys want to look like that," says Garcia, who himself gets Botox to fight aging.
Twenty-one years ago, Garcia's first male patient was over 45 and seeing him for eyelid surgery. Today, he's as young as his early 20s and looking into breast reduction or liposuction so he can, Garcia suspects, fit in better at places such as the Hard Rock pool party Rehab.
That's just one source pressuring men to attain an unattainable body type. Garcia feels the media is doing more than its fair share, too. Men's magazines now take up as much space on the racks as women's magazines. With them you have fragrance ads starring an airbrushed Justin Timberlake or a shirtless and shameless Matthew McConaughey. The fashion ads, featuring men closer to a legal driving age than a legal drinking age, don't hold any punches to the self-image, either.
Although Eric Newquist wouldn't mind some liposuction, veneers and Lasik surgery to show off his hazel eyes, he insists the only pressure he feels to improve his appearance is self-inflicted. "I don't feel 50 or act 50 or want to be 50," he says. "But I'm proud of my age because I don't look 50."
Newquist had rhinoplasty 20 years ago, when men's visits to plastic surgeons' offices were so rare that he remembers the staff looking surprised yet excited to see him there. He wanted to file down a bump on his nose and straighten it out because "everyone knows with guys, the big things are the nose and teeth." Kind of like the reason he shaves his back. Because as a kid in California, everyone made fun of the guy at the beach with the hairy back.
That's just one measure he takes to appear younger. The culinary school student turns his nose up at Supercuts, opting for a $50 haircut instead. He also carries an Ulta card to get discounts on his high-end men's skin care and hair care products.
And, this recent trend of more men going under the knife? Long overdue, if you ask him. "A lot of guys wouldn't do it because they're afraid of being perceived as gay, vain or metrosexual," he says. "But, what's wrong with taking it to the next level?"
Absolutely nothing, according to Dr. William Zamboni's typical male patient. The professor of plastic surgery at the University of Nevada School of Medicine says most of the men who come to his office are baby boomers looking into anti-aging procedures. Face-lifts and eyelid surgeries aren't uncommon for men in their 50s and 60s who are trying to stay competitive in the workplace.
"Especially in this city," says Zamboni. "People are worried about losing their jobs in this economy."
Sure, experience still counts for something, but this is a town in which real estate agents' business cards boast a self-portrait. To be younger is perceived to be quicker, slicker and just plain better. That explains why 20 percent of Zamboni's minor office procedures, such as fillers and Botox, are claimed by men nowadays. They coordinate well with a man's preference for that which is fuss-free and fast.
Does that mean we can expect to hear men discussing the latest face-lift developments over beers at the sports bar? "No, and not in the near future," Zamboni says.
Some things among his male and female patients just always will be different. For one, guys aren't holding pages ripped from magazines at their consultation appointments. (He has, however, heard Brad Pitt's jawline mentioned on several occasions.) Second, men don't have a laundry list of adjustments they'd like to see with just one procedure.
Zamboni says he has to be very specific with his male patients, even holding a mirror up to their face and pointing things out for them.
He didn't have to do that with Barry McKay, though. The 36-year-old server at Dick's Last Resort knew exactly what he wanted when he saw Zamboni last fall. At a doctor's urging 13 years ago, McKay had his stomach stapled. A rapid weight loss left him with rolls of loose skin to carry around. Zamboni relieved him of all that more than a decade later with abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) surgery.
While he doesn't think of himself as the cookie-cutter plastic surgery candidate, McKay admits more men have fallen prey to the beast that is hyper image-consciousness.
"In general, on TV and the news, we're (men) finally getting caught up, in some aspects, to women with the whole bigger, better, blonder thing," McKay says. That said, you won't catch him pondering calf implants anytime soon. He loves his wrinkles and doesn't see anything wrong with chicken legs, either. The self-described game dork simply wanted to finish what he started all those years ago.
McKay says the surgery got him off the couch, improved his sleep and stopped his chronic back pain.
He's appreciative of the changes, but similar to women who've lost significant weight yet forget their triumph at the sight of a Victoria's Secret ad, he still has his struggles.
It isn't unusual for him to look in the mirror and see a glimpse of his former "fat-man" self. And, his 6-foot bearlike physique dropped six waist sizes to 38, but McKay still can't fit into the pants at Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch or Forever 21. They stop at 36.
"I've learned to walk away from those stores," he says. "I now have what I always wanted. I look the way I feel."