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I remember many years back when the valley’s first gymnasium opened. It was run by a couple of manly-men weightlifters, Harvey Keith and Steve Davis. I became good friends with Harv, although I haven’t seen the misplaced New Yorker in years. The first Valencia Health Club opened up not so much across the tracks off of 13th but just about on them. You could literally step out the front door and hit a rail with a good spit.

The Valencia Health Club was, at first, all-male. Guys went there to pump iron, sweat, swear and tell ribald stories in gruff voices. It was dark and Spartan and, as the old joke goes, it had both kinds of exercises: the bench AND the press.

Success bit Steve and Harvey quite hard. They were on the tip of the upcoming tidal wave of adult fitness. After a couple of years, they abandoned their heavy metal garage address and opened a large and ultra-modern facility in Honby near Home Depot. There’s a big furniture store there today.

Being Harvey’s pal, I got to take the big VIP pre-opening tour. This was in the mid-70s, if I’m remember correctly. With its relocation, the once proud, stinky, dilapidated Valencia Health Club had gone co-ed and squeaky clean. While we were walking through the new men’s tiled men’s lockerroom, I caught a sour reflection of myself in the giant mirrors  — themselves something previously unheard of in a guy’s workout area. There were electrical outlets all along the counters.

“What are those for?” I asked Harvey.

An expression of great pain, the kind one gets after selling his soul to commerce, crossed my friend’s lined face.

“Hair dryers,” he said.

“Hair dryers?” I repeated. “In a men’s locker room? Are you gay?”

Back in the day, you could ask questions like that.

Harv was too weak to take a swing at me.

Here was the future.

I came across a story on the Reuters wire the other day. It seems in a survey, 25 percent of all men asked said they would consider facial cosmetic surgery for work-related reasons. I can sympathize. I glance around the newsroom and can safely say that of the male reporters and photographers, all of them are too damn ugly to hold down a job elsewhere and while I may be prejudiced having worked with them, forget cosmetic surgery. Try a head transplant.

No offense, of course.

One of these decades, I will be approaching middle age. Granted. Like my male co-workers in the print media, I too am Hunchback of Notre Dame butt ugly. Still. I can’t imagine going under the knife for something as silly as a face lift. For one thing, I’ve got skin looser than a blood hound and I’m afraid that after the doctors stopped pulling, my ears would nearly touching at the top of my head at the 11 and 1 o’clock positions.

I’d also be fearful that post-surgery, the hair on my chest with be nose level and I’d look like a Bolshevik madman.

Well. More of a Bolshevik madman.

According to the American Academy of Facial and Plastic Reconstructive Surgeons survey, injections of fat to lessen deep wrinkles increased 500 percent last year in men. In women, their participation in the same procedure fell 36 percent. I’m sorry. That just gives me the willies, injecting fat into my face.

Then the question naturally arises. From whom or what did we get the fat? I  like my wrinkles. I’ve earned them.

Men’s use of Botox rose nearly 100 percent last year. Women’s use fell 8 percent.

I guess the women are wising up. After a half-century of watching some Beverly Hill’s facial engineer tighten the back of Cher’s head so tight her face is more taut than a tube top on a Canyon Country soccer mom, maybe women are wising up. I can’t look at Cher anymore without holding my clawed hands in front of me. I have the awful feeling that if she were to smile or accidentally pass wind, the skin around her noggin would explode and there’d be nothing left by muscle and skull.

The ultimate lean look.

It gets even worse.

More and more, men are getting nose jobs. According to this plastic surgery survey, last year, rhinoplasty (the scientific name for a well-sanded honker) operations rose nearly 50 percent for men, compared to five percent in women.

I don’t know what’s going on with my fellow males of the species. God help them that someone might mistake them for being wise and mature. Do they think that if I were to sit in on some big important business meeting with them, I’d give them more than their fair share of respect if they looked more like Sandra Dee with a cute little pink button nose?

(SCV author John Boston also writes The Time Ranger & SCV History for your SCV Beacon. He’s has earned more than 100 major awards for writing, including being named, several times, America’s best humor, and, best serious columnist. Don’t forget to check out his national humor, entertainment & swashbuckling commentary website, America’s Humorist — http://www.johnbostonchronicles.com/) — © 2017 by John Boston. All rights reserved

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