It never fails: Just as we finish explaining to our out-of-town friends that Miami is not really like that, we catch wind of something like this: a plastic surgery fashion show.
Last Thursday night, you could smell the silicone in Bay Harbor Islands. As a mitzvah-trained DJ spun techno music, partygoers munched on pigs-in-a-blanket as they studied before-and-after boob-job photos on the walls. It was the grand-opening gala for the new five-story complex for Bal Harbour Plastic Surgery Associates, founded by local fake-boob tycoon Dr. Michael Salzhauer. He's been in business down the street in Bal Harbour for six years and is the author of My Beautiful Mommy, his illustrated tome for children watching their mothers undergo plastic surgery. The book includes not-at-all-shiver-inducing lines such as: "We are learning about butterflies and watching cocoons hatch. Mommy laughed and said she felt like a cocoon herself with all the bandages."
"Bal Harbour and Bay Harbor Islands have for years been Miami's center for fashion, beauty, and body image," gushed Dr. Franken, um, Salzhauer, his unblemished, Spartan-esque face glowing as he finished posing with a dozen melon-chested former clients. "They call it 'Silicon Alley!'"
At 8 p.m. came the event's big draw — "the first ever of its kind!" bragged a Dr. Salzhauer publicist, and we believe her. Ten altered women, unnaturally buoyant busts bursting from skintight dresses, sauntered a makeshift catwalk to the cheers of the gin-tipsy crowd. One of them had a gravely unhappy Shih Tzu puppy tucked in the crook of her elbow. "The patients that are modeling today would never have dreamed of walking a runway before their surgeries!" Salzhauer triumphantly told Riptide. There might as well have been price tags dangling from the perfectly contoured rumps and jugs paraded before us.
When Riptide corralled a few of the models after the show, we learned they were in fact Salzhauer's clients — but also models he hired from Prestige, a North Miami Beach agency. "You know how when one girl tries a surgeon and loves him?" explained Ivette Torres. "The word gets around. Not only is Dr. Michael a good doctor, but his after-patient care is tremendous!"
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Okay, but we left feeling vaguely cheated. So these patients aren't formerly Roseanne-esque housewives, but nipped-and-tucked professional models? That's about as authentic as a breast you can dribble.