(a series structured as Facebook posts)
– From the producers of Gamer Wants a Wife comes Megan Wants a Facelift. Life experiences are shown in this controversial new series full of love, loss and relationships, centred on the life of 29 year old ‘fugly’ Megan Ramses, and her desire to have a facelift. Begins soon.
– For the first time in 29 years Megan Ramses is considering plastic surgery. Megan feels the time is right to seek corrections to a face that has seen her unwelcomely labelled as the World’s Ugliest Living Organism from 2002 to 2010 (except in 2004 which was an elephant seal named Polly). The procedure will not be straightforward.
– Despite reservations from her husband, Roger, Megan is determined to have a facelift. Megan met her husband at a local dance about five years ago. ‘He came dressed as a pirate, and I didn’t know it was fancy dress. We talked for hours. When he asked me to take off my mask, well, he was ever so embarrassed. He kept apologising. That’s the kind of guy Roger is. He really cares about how I feel.’ Roger smiles bashfully at the side, or corner, of Megan’s face.
– Megan’s appearance is due to a combination of granulomas, calcium deposits, sporadic hair follicles and a poor quality genome. ‘My parents met online. When I was born the doctors thought there was a second placenta stuck awkwardly to a headless body, but then I blinked. Luckily.’
– After a careful search Megan meets with Dr Sangakkara about prospective surgery. He is cautiously optimistic. ‘We have to be realistic. It will be a hard road, yet I am sure something can be done. We must keep a stiff upper lip.’ Dr Sanakkara pauses, reflects, and adds. ‘So to speak.’
– Megan’s husband, Roger, is still unsure about the need for the surgery. ‘I’ve got a good thing here. You might see bumps, and other bumps, and hair, but to me she is great. I don’t want to lose her.’ A section of Megan’s face creases and Roger identifies it as a smile.
– After a long pause Megan explains, ‘I guess I’m finally doing this for me. My appearance has always been a challenge to everyone else but I haven’t worried. Even when they called me Rubric’s Face or Elephant Girl or Smelly. Really, I suppose I’m now happy and it’s time to shed that identity.’
– After preliminary scans Dr Sangakkara concludes, ‘You can see here that the skull has good density, which really is something to build on. Everything is looking up.’ He pauses and adds. ‘So to speak.’
– Dressed in figure-hugging lycra shorts and a sports bra — that struggles to hold its job — Megan runs at home on a treadmill. ‘I enjoy keeping fit,’ she says between strides. ‘I sometimes think that if I could do face push-ups to have an in-shape head I would be the face push-up champion! I’d be able to do cartwheels on my neck! Excuse me I have to spit.’
– Megan meets again with Dr Sangakkara. He shows her possible appearance results including Paris Hilton, Katie Price, and Pamela Anderson. Megan is despondent but concedes even these would be an improvement.
– With appearance drafts in hand Roger’s reluctance for Megan’s surgery increases. ‘I wouldn’t change a hair on her head!’ Megan teases him in reply, ‘Oh Roger you can’t be serious! What about the clumps here, or these clusters, or this tuff?’
– Another meeting with Dr Sangakkara and Megan has good news and bad news. ‘He has confirmed he’ll do the job! However it is elective surgery so it will cost me $39,000. If only those Pinko Greenies didn’t shut down the Side Show Circuit I could make that in a week!’
– Roger’s dread of the surgery is heightened with the high cost. ‘I could almost buy a Nissan Navara for that! Not saying I want one but it’s a lot of money we don’t have. We don’t need a Navara and we don’t need the surgery.’ But Megan is firm.
– Megan is determined to raise the $39,000 for the facial surgery. After resisting an initial approach Megan agrees to sell her story to Woman’s Day. Unfortunately the articled printed does not raise any money and is unhelpful. ‘I never said anything about Magda Szubanski. This report is utter nonsense and now I’m getting hate mail!’
– Roger sits in a public bar watching dog races and sipping a beer. Staring into the camera he clenches his fist and sneers. ‘What do you think my mother thought the first time she saw Megan’s face?’ The cameraman backs off and, in the emitting silence, learns never to overstep the mark.
– Working with plasticine models Dr Sangakkara explains stages of the operation. ‘There is a lot of abnormal tissue to cut away before we start on the reconstruction. A lot. Megan, she knows the risks, yet is determined. There is much to look up to in that woman. So to speak.’
– While gardening Megan talks about her past. ‘I liked to play in the park as a child. That was before young families moved into the area with their kids. All those children. I stopped going. I miss the open space but this garden is better for me. Not as much dog shit everywhere.’
– Megan’s next plan to raise money for the plastic surgery is to sell revealing photographs of herself on the internet, albeit with her head cropped out of the image. Her fit figure helps to reach the $39,000 easily. Then Roger finds out and punches the photographer.
– With payment in hand Megan meets Dr Sangakkara who has bad news. ‘The anaesthetist wants extra danger money, also known as insurance, due to the high risk of complications with Megan’s septum. It’s pretty poor form but we have to remain head strong. So to speak.’
– Megan must now raise a further $6,000 for the surgery. She is stuck for ideas. Tears ripple down her face like little tributaries running around, under, and through rocky outcrops. She wraps her head in a pillow case and sneezes, inadvertently trumpeting “Johnny Appleseed” in the process. She lets the damp mucus filled sheet slap to the floor and continues to cry.
– Hoping to cheer-up his wife Roger insists on taking Megan out for dinner. Conceding to the offer Megan plans for the night out. ‘Sometimes I wish I was a Muslim so I could wear a burqa. Then again I couldn’t go toFrance. I guess that’s no great loss.’
– In a dimly lit corner of the restaurant Roger holds Megan’s hands across the table. Megan is sullen, ‘We could save on this dinner to help pay for the surgery.’ Roger pleads with her, ‘Don’t worry about the surgery. You’re fine as you are.’ Aggrieved Megan snaps, ‘What’s the matter with me wanting to look better? You’ve been against this from the start!’
– Backed into a verbal corner Roger grimaces. He reluctantly draws from his pocket a $6,000 winning betting slip from a dog race. He hands it to Megan. Ecstatic, Megan jumps from her chair and wraps her arms around Roger hugging him tightly. In her elation Megan dribbles and she reaches for a bucket to spit out a sudden build-up of saliva in and around her mouth. Echoing out of the bucket her cheered voice calls, ‘I though you hated the surgery idea.’
– Roger stammers a response. ‘When you get beautiful, you won’t leave me will you?’ Megan gushes and soothes, ‘Oh! Roger. I can never leave you. “Til death do us part” remember?’ Roger considers, ‘You’ll have a lot of options after the surgery.’ Megan’s face creases. With loving compassion she explains, ‘I chose you Roger. I didn’t resign myself to you.’ Roger smiles.
– The dinner ends and back at the Ramses’ home the film crew are locked out. They can overhear strange noises coming from various rooms inside the house and in the morning many upturned buckets are found stacked next to the fence to dry.
– It is the day of the surgery and Megan is in her waiting room using a mirror to study her abnormal noggin for the last time. ‘All the doctors and scientists have been in here to take images and measurements from all the angles. It was like being judged in a county-fair cake contest.’
– With a nervous tremble and guideline pen-marks crisscrossing her face Megan is wheeled into surgery. In a weak voice she reveals some hidden trepidation, ‘My greatest fear, I suppose, is that I’ll end up looking stupid like some pasty skinned try-hard white guy does when he gets a thick Maori tattoo.’
– Scrubbing his arms Dr Sangakkara contemplates the long surgery ahead, ‘It will require a radical rhinoplasty and a radical liposuction, radical cranium contortions, bone grafts, skin grafts, and many more steps. My brain hurts just thinking about it. And if I fail I wouldn’t be able to show this face in public. So to speak.’
– Three hours into the operation Dr Sangakkara is wrist deep in bone. ‘You have to agree, life could not have been easy for her. Yet Megan, she is mentally very strong. You have to say she really does have a good head on her shoulders. So to speak.’
– Waiting outside the operating theatre Roger speaks to Miss Universe, Jessica Something, who just happen to be there. ‘So, what are you doing later?’ Roger then realises how that sounds and backtracks his intentions with, ‘I mean, I suppose you’re busy. Do you come here often?’
– After fourteen hours seated in the waiting room Roger is told that his wife has been out of surgery for seven hours. Docilely he wanders to Recovery and sits at her bedside. He gazes upon her. She is unconscious with her head wrapped-up in bandages. He holds her hand and contemplates how the newly packaged and padded skull is like a lifetime Christmas present with no receipt.
– Relaxing with a brandy Dr Sangakkara exhales cigar smoke and reflects, ‘We went into this with eyes wide open, knowing, that on face value, we’d have to put the nose to the grindstone and not bat an eye-lid. Sure, we banged our head against a brick wall a few times and had to turn the other cheek, but, without wanting to sound big headed, we can take our hat off. So to speak.’
– Two days after the surgery, and drugged to high heaven, Megan is supported home by Roger to recuperate. ‘It is great to have her up and moving again. She can not speak, though she has indicated she wants to play with the wii.’
– Six months have passed. Megan’s bandages have been removed, the swelling of skin subsided, stitches absorbed and bruising healed. With her faced washed and still tender to touch Megan uncovers her bathroom mirror. Tentative she views her reflection and, alone as she requested, for the first time she clearly sees a smile.