By Chuck Strouse
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By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
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Lip augmentation, probably the most common cosmetic procedure performed in South Florida, is trickier than the proliferation of Paris pouts here might suggest. Too little filler and you've got a kisser full of needle pricks; too much and you look like the owner of a South Beach modeling agency.
The Bitch learned that Dr. Fredric Brandt, the famous dermatologist with offices in New York City and Coral Gables, was preparing to deploy clinical studies of fibrinogen, which is genetically engineered (meaning it doesn't come from cows or ewwww cadavers) to last longer and be more stable than collagen.
That sounded interesting, but The Bitch, who once met Brandt during a demonstration he was giving at Brownes Apothecary in Miami Beach, finds the doctor's appearance a little, um, unenviably smooth. So she found herself seeking some answers about the lip-puffing process from Brandt's low-key partner at the Coral Gables practice, plastic surgeon Dr. Oscar Hevia. Hevia, a Miami native who graduated from both the University of Miami and Florida State University and completed residencies at several local hospitals was rational and informative (and completely, pleasantly normal-looking).
"I think it's safe to say Dr. Brandt and I have different approaches in regard to aesthetics," assured the diplomatic, thirtysomething Hevia, who usually uses Restylane, a nonanimal-derived, hyaluronic acid to smooth wrinkles and up-size lips. (Hevia says about 90 percent of his patients are women.) The doctor told The Bitch that, for a canine, her mouth actually looked okay.
At this point, though, the wisdom-seeking hound had become intrigued and was determined to go through with the experiment.
A nurse practitioner spoke soothingly and asked some questions, such as whether The Bitch had ingested aspirin in the past few days. Well, yes. The fearful dog had actually swallowed a handful in the past few minutes, but pursuing her usual means-justification practice, she swiftly answered, "Um, I don't think so."
There's no getting around it: Having a two-centimeter-long needle poked repeatedly in the lip area hurts like heck. The millions of tiny nerve endings that make kissing male dogs so pleasurable shriek in dismay at the Hostel-like torment. Even worse, as with a Brazilian wax, two sides must endure the pain. Fortunately, though, Hevia has exceedingly steady hands.
By the end of the session, which lasted about fifteen minutes, The Bitch had unbidden, uncontrollable tears streaming down her fur-lined face, and purplish sparkles dancing behind her tightly shut eyelids. But just before smelling salts became necessary, a doggy dose of endorphins kicked in and the hound squelched the sniffles using some ujjayi breathing.
After recovering for a few minutes, The Bitch met with Hevia in his insanely neat office to discuss his philosophy on appearance enhancement.
What do you say, like, if someone asks for something just crazy? What kind of advice do you give novices like me?
"Well, of course I have a dialogue with patients and ask them what they don't like in their appearance and discuss what realistic expectations might be," Hevia explained. "And that's what we pursue, and only that. I don't make excessively overpowering recommendations; it's not appropriate.... It would be like if someone went to a plastic surgeon to have a tummy tuck, and while performing the procedure, the doctor noticed the patient had a mole on the thigh and just went ahead and removed it because he thought it would look better removed. I would never impose my will upon someone in that manner. It's inappropriate and unethical."
Hevia added that he sees himself as, basically, a skilled service provider, not an arbiter of women's issues.
"I'm here to provide what people ask for, within reason. If people have psychological issues related to self-esteem, they need to discuss those with a therapist," Hevia said.
Smiling at his frankness while holding an ice pack to her smarting snout, The Bitch nodded.
"Seriously," Hevia admonished, "Most patients can come in, get a treatment, and go to a party 48 hours later."
And that is exactly what The Bitch did.
It Isn't Perjury to Plead the Fifth
The black-and-blue oral region and the seemingly interminable public furor over a basketball tournament or something not to mention a Jeepers Creepers marathon on the Sci Fi Channel provided ample motivation to remain indoors and on a sofa this past weekend. Yet The Bitch could not bring herself to miss Gerry Kelly's birthday party Saturday night at his latest venture, the Fifth, which is located at Lenox Avenue and Fifth Street (duh!) in Miami Beach.
Longtime nightclub inventor Kelly is a personable fellow he answered the phone himself and chatted pleasantly for a while when the bruise-stricken dog mumbled her RSVP through an ice pack and The Bitch was eager to see him move past the icky, moldy memory of Shine (the mercifully short-lived club housed in the Shelborne this past winter).
"As a fellow Gemini, you should definitely come to the party," intoned Kelly, who sounds exactly like the Bill Nighy character in Shaun of the Dead. "It's going to be glamorous and decadent."