Editor's note: Gene Weingarten is away this week. This column originally appeared in 2006.
I recently found myself in New York, in the office of Dr. George Lefkovits, a Park Avenue plastic surgeon. I was there because I had read Dr. Lefkovits' ad in a magazine, and found the new procedure he was advertising to be so astonishing, so counterintuitive, so beyond the reasonable norms of medical science, that I decided he must be a genius or a madman. This demanded a field trip.
The doctor looks and sounds exactly like Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny. It made for an entertaining interview.
Me: Can you briefly describe this new, patented procedure which you pioneered?
Dr. Lefkovits: I try to improve, augment and re-profile buttocks. You see, people are unaware of the significance of buttocks, and the need to better balance the ...
Me: Let's cut to the chase. You make Americans' behinds bigger, right?
Dr. Lefkovits: Well, it is really a matter of creating a more aesthetically pleasing and more voluptuous buttock through additional projection.
Me: You add fat to the human buttock. You make Americans' behinds bigger.
Dr. Lefkovits: Yes.
Me: My God.
Me: Are you not aware, Doctor, that the American behind has been increasing in size almost exponentially over the years, to the point that the makers of bus, train and movie-theater seats have had to broaden them? That standard-length hypodermic needles no longer can penetrate the fat of modern-day buttocks to deliver their payload into muscle tissue? That we are the worldwide "butt" of jokes, even in Latvia, where the national diet staple is potato soup? And yet, despite all this, you offer this service? If, 20 years from now, the average American buttock resembles an igloo, and keister size reaches such epidemic proportions that people are participating in a Waddle for the Cure, will you feel responsible?
Dr. Lefkovits: No.
Me: And you call this patented procedure ... ?
Dr. Lefkovits: "The Brazilian Butt Fill."
Me: This is a Brazilian procedure?
Dr. Lefkovits: No, but you need a name for it. I came up with a name.
Me: And you charge ... ?
Dr. Lefkovits: Ten thousand dollars.
Me: And you are doing ... ?
Dr. Lefkovits: At least three or four a week.
Me: My God.
My astonishment turned to frank admiration. Maybe, as with the human behind, it's all in how you look at it. Rather than considering Dr. Lefkovits a criminal of medicine, it occurred to me that he might be a hero of marketing. If this man could sell butt enlargement surgery, he could probably sell anything. Penis reduction. Varicose-vein implants.
Me: I think you may be a visionary, a man who dares to think the unpopular thought.
Dr. Lefkovits: It is uncharted territory.
Me: Would you compare yourself more to Copernicus or Darwin?
Dr. Lefkovits: Those are not appropriate analogies. I'm making a major impact on lives, though. The niche is there, fulfilling a need for people desperate to increase their buttock projection. They've been wanting it their whole lives. Now, thank God, there's a method to help.
Me: So would you compare yourself to Jonas Salk?
Dr. Lefkovits modestly declined to make the comparison. He seemed like a nice guy, actually, so I decided to ask him to inspect my own personal behind. I dropped trou, and he took a picture. I wish he hadn't. I always thought I had a fairly good butt, but the photo made it clear that it is a little flat ("It's not a firm, ripe butt, not a whole lot of projection," the doc said), and also lopsided ("Definitely asymmetric," he said) and droopy ("There's some decreased elasticity"). He could help me a lot, he said, gently, by moving some of my belly fat into my right butt cheek. For 10 grand.
It was tempting, but for the 10 grand. And that's a big but.
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