Humans have always placed a high value on good looks, and now modern surgical techniques can improve the looks of almost everyone. These days, between 15 and 20 per cent of cosmetic surgeries are now performed on men: these can range from necklift surgeries to eyelid tightening to full facelifts.
It is easy for detractors to dismiss the increasing popularity of male cosmetic surgery, but to do so is to ignore a couple of very important factors.
Judging others by their looks
The first is the above-mentioned tendency of people to judge others by their looks. This is a primitive instinct which helped early men to choose the best possible mates to propagate and was even recognised by the Roman stateman, Cicero, who declared that the face was the mirror of the soul. His meaning was that a fair or good-looking face indicated a good soul, while any physical blemishes were no doubt indicative of blackened or evil souls.
We now know that this belief is wrong, and yet the tendency to make snap judgements on people when first seeing them persists, especially in today’s heavily social-media influenced life. Dating apps and social media positively invite these snap judgements and it can be very unfair on those who have been unlucky in the gene department, or who have had a harder life than most.
Referring back to those early instincts: it makes sense. A woman would choose an alert, active partner over a tired one; a man would choose a healthy-looking woman to have his children, and no one would choose a weaker or inferior partner while living in times of high mortality and no medical care!
So, can cosmetic surgery make men appear more trustworthy?
And things have changed very little in regards to our instincts; a recent study took pictures of 24 men who had recently had cosmetic procedures and asked 150 people to rate the before and after images for a number of characteristics including manliness, likeability, attractiveness and trustworthiness.
Almost without fail, the men were rated highly in almost all the categories (except manliness, which was only impacted if the man in question had had a necklift, interestingly enough!). Trustworthiness was the big winner, with attractiveness a close second.
All of which just goes to show that one’s appearance is – and always has been – rather important when it comes to winning at the game of life.