The Bitch had long been admiring a pair of ceramic greyound statues in the window of a local gallery when, finally, during the gallery walk a few Saturdays ago, summoned the nerve to cross the threshold of NiBa, a sort of furniture and glassware store featuring a vaguely Atomic Age-themed collection on NE 39th Street. Inside the dog met two of the store's owners, chief collector Beth Arrowood and jewelry and glass artist Nisi Barryman, and some assorted other individuals, including a man named Augustin Fernandez with two adorable French bulldogs — Schlomo and Waldo — in tow, and a tall, amber-haired woman named Lisa Levin who greatly resembled Sissy Spacek from the Badlands days.
Judging from the conversation — which ranged from memories of voting for Jimmy Carter for president to being cast as extras in Miami Vice, the television series -- The Bitch would've guessed these folks were maybe about in their fourth of possibly fifth decade of existence. But no one looked a moment past Lucy Lawless (who has magically gotten younger for her role as a Cylon inquisitor in Battlestar Galactica). How was this possible? The Bitch phoned Kate Hall, a marketing and demographics expert for Tractenberg PR, who specializes in gearing products toward South Florida's age-denial market.
"The fact is our research shows that even with Florida's increasing population of immigrants, who are mostly younger, there is a concentration of baby boomers in the Miami Beach and Midtown areas," Hall said. "These people spend a lot of discretionary income on looking youthful. Appearing healthy is one thing; the demand for youth-enhancing cosmetics in Miami is huge, and people are willing to spend money on them."
Or not so much money. ColorMark, a brush-on gray-covering hair color that covers snowy roots bursting through careful dye jobs, sells for about ten to twenty dollars a tube and is Tractenberg's biggest-selling client in the Miami area.
At the other end of the spectrum, of course, are more serious medical interventions. The Bitch's favorite skin-saving dermatologist, Dr. Oscar Hevia, says that most of the clients at his Coral Gables practice are way too busy to be out of commission for the time it takes to unbruise from an old-school facelift.
"The extreme appearance of skin pulling and tightening associated with such procedures is kind of a thing of the past anyway," says Hevia, who explains that while he does get a fair share of requests for that exaggerated South Beach look, most patients are happy to look as if they've hidden the clock in the sock drawer rather than spun its hands back.
Hevia is one of the first doctors in the area to use a newish injectable called Sculptra for facial rejuvenation. This engineered polylactic acid works in a manner that at first seems counterintuitive, filling in pouches and wrinkles and making human faces look — gasp — fuller.
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"But not fat," the level-toned Hevia assures. "It just firms up the jaw line and plumps up the folds on the face and the hollows under the eyes."
The Bitch ran into the same general group of people — she won't say which ones — from NiBa a short while after her conversations with Hall and Hevia and examined them, with a new perspective, for signs of touch-ups. No hairline stains were visible, but a few Dorian Gray ladies did confess to some familiarity with that Sculptra stuff.
"It's expensive," confided one. (Hevia says a series of treatments can run from $500 to $2000.) "But it definitely has an immediate reward and it doesn't hurt." -Jean Carey