Think it through
Lucas (pseudonym), a 48-year-old Chinese man who lives in Shanghai, had a facelift last year. He said his son underwent nose and chin surgery two years before.
"My son looks great after the procedures, but for me, it is unimaginable. I would rather do some minimally invasive procedures than a big makeover," said Lucas.
"Middle- and old-aged men prefer small, non-exaggerated changes instead of too many drastic changes to their facial outline, while young people focus more on how handsome they can get from it," said Feng.
He said many Chinese young people blindly imitate the popular Western sharp face with a high nose and long face regardless of whether it is fit for them or not, but many dashu are more rational by keeping the traditional Chinese square face.
"However, there are also a few middle- and old-aged men who want to look like celebrities, such as Ekin Cheng, Li Ka-shing, and even Vladimir Putin," said Xie.
Lucas said another very important reason for his cautiousness is a lack of social acceptance. Before he did the procedures, his son persuaded him for a long time, as he was afraid that his changes would draw criticism and gossip.
To avoid others discovering it, Lucas especially chose minimally invasive procedures which did not leave obvious scars, rather than those which need time to recover, so that he could return to work soon after getting off the operating table.
"Now many dama and young people undergo plastic surgeries, and it is accepted as very natural. But many people still think it is strange for us [men] to do so. People around me cannot accept big changes in my appearance," said Lucas.
Feng said the most fashionable dashu he met so far is a 50-year-old man who got a nose job (cosmetic altering of his nose) and a blain hole laser treatment, which are mostly done by young people.
"It is not a big deal if a 50-year-old woman gets rid of the bags under her eyes, but if a 50-year-old man does so, it will quickly become a source of entertainment among his colleagues and relatives," said Feng.
Feng found that many middle- and old-aged men who are still working hope to gradually improve the appearance of aging by cosmetic procedures, but, under social pressure, they seldom act on it, especially regarding plastic surgeries that require time for recovery.
"Skin tightening by radio frequency is preferred because there are no wounds and scars. The skin recovers after half an hour and it can hardly be discovered," he said.
Mental preparation needed
Since men will face more obstacles than other groups of people, Xie advised that middle- and old-aged men who want a plastic surgery should be well prepared for it.
She said they should not have too high an expectation and think that one surgery will bring about great changes.
She also said that it was important that they mentally prepare for both before and after the procedures.
"Think over whether you will like the changes and whether the people you care about will accept them. For those who care too much about public feedback, they should be very cautious," said Xie.
Feng said middle- and old-aged men who care too much about their appearance are largely more fragile and sensitive, so if they find that they cannot handle it, they should see a psychologist.
"We see more disputes between male clients and hospitals than women due to this factor," said Feng.
He cited meeting a middle-aged man who after doing a wrinkle removal procedure felt that he looked much younger (around 10 years younger) than he expected and was not satisfied, which caused a dispute.
"Sometimes, even a small detail such as the removal or reduction of wrinkles around the eyes can make them anxious," said Feng.
Han Xuefeng, a plastic surgeon at the Plastic Surgery Hospital in Beijing, told Metropolitan that finding a good plastic surgeon with many years of professional experience is also vital.
"Many doctors have done many surgeries on women but not many on men, so they don't have much experience. Some even have wrong aesthetics over men's appearance and make the apples of men's cheeks stand out, which is the feature of a female. This mistake is more common among middle- and old-aged men," said Han.
"The standard and traditional male feature is a tall nose, square face, and thick eyebrows," he said.
Though Lucas was glad that his colleagues and friends did not discover his secret, he has decided to gradually publicize it and plans to do further procedures to reduce his beer belly.
"I hope that more people can accept us dashu doing plastic surgeries to pursue beauty and there will be less stigma against us," said Lucas. "I think it is nothing strange, just one way to make yourself feel younger and physically and mentally energetic."