At first glance, I'd say David J. Arend doesn't need much aesthetic help. His eyes are a piercing blue and his chiseled looks resemble Bruce Willis in his Moonlighting days. His shoulders are broad. He has nice legs.
But Arend, 47, of Cherry Hill doesn't think so. The married father of three is unhappy with his calves. Over the years, he's lost more than 100 pounds and now, with diet and exercise, he's trying to redefine his physique. It's just that in his mind, his legs are not proportionate. He wants them bigger, bulkier, hotter!
So he's getting a calf job. Think of it as breast augmentation for scrawny legs.
"When you are striving for perfect proportions, you want to get rid of the flaws," said the effervescent businessman who recently endured a tummy tuck. Arend's hard silicone implants will run him $6,500 to $7,000.
"When you are pursuing a healthy lifestyle and certain parts are not where you want, it's frustrating."
Who says plastic surgery enhancements are just for women? Men these days are spending top dollar on a gang of outpatient and operation-room fixes that were once reserved for women, from tummy tucks to Botox. And they are getting a few procedures created just for them, including square-jaw chin implants, pec implants, and liposuction to suck away man boobs.
"Every man wants a nice square jaw," said Washington-based Steven Hopping, immediate past president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. Hopping says Washington businessmen are trying to compete with the looks of the younger men in the Obama administration - the models of Beltway machismo.
"They want their eyes less baggy. They want to reduce their waists. They aren't shooting for the moon. They just want to look a little better."
This surge of interest by men is more than stereotypical metrosexual fashion chitchat. No, these guys aren't trying to find their feminine side. And they will still cut a phone conversation short to watch their favorite football team.
Their interest in the fixes are twofold. For one, men's fashion has been undergoing a major silhouette change, from frumpy to tailored. And many men, argued Cherry Hill-based plastic surgeon Steven Davis, want their face to go with it.
Also, the recession seems to be pushing men to get nipped, tucked, and collagened. Men older than 35 are starting to feel the kind of pressure women always have felt in the workplace to look ageless. And now that jobs are scarce, they are competing with younger guys. Looks, after all, do matter.
Since January, Davis says, he's seen an uptick in his business as men, many out of work, are taking the downtime to get sleek before making another foray into the work world.
"This is the perfect opportunity for them to have those procedures done," Davis said. "Two weeks ago I did a tummy tuck [on a man]."
Arend, who works as a mortgage lender, agrees.
"My field is competitive and there are a lot of people who are younger," Arend said. "We all know the better-looking you are and the slimmer you are, the better chance you have to get business."
But isn't some of it just plain old vanity?
Of course, said Tony Naimoli, 67, who recently received a "chinplant." Naimoli is in the car business and runs a bagel bakery in Marlton.
"I'm kind of vain," Naimoli said, laughing. "I want my appearance to look a certain way. . . . I never want to look bad. . . . I got my teeth all capped. I wish I could just wake up one day and look like Robert Redford, or whoever."
Jon Segal of the menswear boutique Pants may have nailed the trend's catalyst. Men, he says, are the new women.
For years we've felt we were competing with men in the workplace. Now we're also competing with them in the looks department, and I don't like it. On Sunday I sat next to a Philadelphia police officer who was getting a manicure and pedicure. He was quite handsome and very macho. But isn't the manicure/pedicure time my time?
And have you noticed men's recent propensity to take it over the top? Kanye West (of whom I'm a fan) rapped in his song "Champion" that "I shop so much I can speak Italian." And then there's the male fashionistas on Entourage.
On the recent BET Awards tribute to Michael Jackson, vanity levels escalated to obscene, from Jamie Foxx and his million clothing changes to Lil Wayne's perfectly coiffed dreadlocks.
On the other hand, perhaps we should just be happy that today's man is starting to care about his appearance. Maybe it means he will start going to the doctor. Or is that too much to ask?
"I think it's awesome," said Michelle Arend, David's wife, who admitted having teased her husband about what she calls his "chicken legs." "I've been encouraging him all the way. He should take advantage of these things and go for it."