Silvio Berlusconi debuts new face

Silvio Berlusconi is making a bid to re-enter politics and what better way to show he's ready for it than with a brand new face. Italy's former Prime Minister, who at 81, has already weathered a number of controversies, including serial sexual harassment claims, tax fraud and the infamous bunga-bunga parties, is showing no signs of slowing down with his completely refreshed visage.

No stranger to heavy makeup, (foundation and eyebrows are very much on fleek) Berlusconi emerged on Sunday to attend a right wing political meeting and an Italian chat show with a face that would not be out of place at a Madame Tussauds exhibition. His gleaming teeth and what looked to be sprayed-on hair framed what is possibly the tightest face in politics.

And there has been stiff competition. President Donald Trump, 70, looks to have undergone multiple surgeries, including what looks to be a major face-lift, nose job and teeth replacement. His ex-wife Ivana Trump confirmed this in a court deposition, saying under oath that her then husband flew into a rage because of the pain of scalp-reduction surgery, adding that Trump underwent liposuction for his chin and stomach.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden, 75, emerged only two years ago with a startlingly smooth forehead, leading one plastic surgeon to comment that he'd "Bet his pay cheque" that Biden had undergone a brow lift. Let us not forget former secretary of State, John Kerry, who in 2013, vigorously denied multiple claims he'd had fillers put in his cheeks.

If these men have in fact had something done, it would make a certain type of sense. Journalist Paul Begala's statement, that "politics is show business for ugly people" has entered the lexicon for a reason, and that reason is ego. It's interesting to note, however, that public life in all of its forms now requires more of men, or rather, men of a certain age are feeling vulnerable to the culture's obsession with appearance. It's a grim gender reversal, aren't we all used to scrutinising women for having had too much work? And aren't we then accustomed to spurning them if they don't age as gracefully as we would wish?

But it is perhaps a sign of the mainstreaming of plastic surgery, which means we can expect more work and more denials.

Still, if these men intend to deny they've had anything done, they should probably put more effort into their excuses. Might we suggest following the lady's lead and putting it down to "lots of water" or "sunscreen" or, the fabulously modest "good genes", followed by a shrug.

This story Silvio Berlusconi debuts new face first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.