Personally, I've always liked Renee Zellweger, who seems very personable and down-to-earth for an Oscar winner. Like she'd be fun to hang out with over a cup of coffee, if she drinks coffee. I'm not going to speculate one iota about her "altered" appearance, as if anyone would care about my opinion, anyway. All I will say is: If she's happy (and she says she is!), then I'm happy for her. She's in a tough business for women of any age.
How should we react, however, if a co-worker walks into the office one day looking...noticeably different? Perhaps it's a fuller chest, a forehead that is suddenly as smooth as a newly-opened container of margarine, or something else that makes us wonder whether or not they may have had something "done." This co-worker has said nothing so far, but something seems to have changed, even if we can't quite put our judgmental, non-manicured finger on it. Should we say something? Is it any of our business?
It's a question I hadn't thought about until about an hour ago, but it's a trendy question given recent statistics. Americans had a startling 11 million cosmetic "procedures" in 2013, which is six times the number of cosmetic procedures we had in 2007.
The reasons behind it are many, not to mention easily identifiable. Job seekers in a tough job market want to appear younger, current employees want to do the same, we live in a youth-oriented culture, too many of us are still watching the "Real Housewives" franchise for some reason, cosmetic procedures are "evolving" over time, and why can't our co-worker seem to move his eyebrows anymore? His eyebrows used to dance whenever he got worked up during a staff meeting. Now we find the stillness in his staff meeting monologues vaguely unsettling somehow. What happened?
Well, we don't know what happened. I mean, we have our suspicions but is it okay to ask our co-worker what's been going on? Here's an excerpt from a brave Canadian advice columnist for Chatelaine who faced down a question from a reader regarding what to ask a co-worker who seems to look...different...all of the sudden:
Bravo. If we don't have anything nice to say, then it's best we do not say anything at all. And if, and when, our co-worker is ready to comment on his or her new and (we hope?) improved appearance, then he or she will talk about it. At work, or maybe after work over an Awesome Blossom at Chili's. The point is, this co-worker is the one who starts the conversation.You might feel weird about [a co-worker's] change in appearance, but you are at work. That means it is totally inappropriate to ask your co-worker questions about whether or not she has had plastic surgery. After all, how would you feel if someone at work started asking you super personal questions about your medical history? Enough said.
Bottom line: If you think she looks great, then just say, “You look great.” Otherwise, keep the prying questions and judgey gossip under wraps and wish your co-worker and friend the best.
Until then, the rest of us can keep up our own appearances at work by keeping our mouths shut and our minds focused on the job at hand. We might also need to be the one putting on a brave face to (gently) tell our gossiping co-workers to stop speculating as to why a co-worker's hands look different lately. She seems very happy, and really, it's none of our business. Now don't you go raising your eyebrows at me.