That Awkward Moment When... Someone Runs Into Their Plastic Surgeon in Public

Jager Weatherby on 8 Jul 2014 at 8:30am

Written by Adele Rayburn

This is Awkward

Picture this: It's been five years since you went under the knife and got a nose job, and you're feeling ahhh-mazing. Only your closest friends know about the procedure, and as far as everyone else is concerned, you were born with a nose that rivals Jennifer Aniston's. But then the worst happens: You run into your plastic surgeon while out on the town with your girlfriends. The horror!

Crossing paths with your plastic surgeon is almost as awkward as bumping into your therapist, only your surgeon is in on a secret that even your shrink doesn't know about: You've been nipped and tucked! RealSelf spoke to facial plastic and oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Chase Lay about his experiences meeting patients outside the operating room, and he shared some of his wildest — and most awkward — stories with us. Ready to find out what might happen when you see your plastic surgeon in out in the wild?

1. You Turn Around And Walk Away

Turn and Walk Away

We know, we know. Running into your doctor, staring at him in abject horror, and then turning on your heel is super-awkward — but you know what's even more awkward? Making chit-chat while your friends look you up and down and try to figure out whether or not your boobs are real. "If I go out to a meeting during the lunch hour and see patients around town, they often make quick eye contact with me and just give me a signal that says 'Don't come over here, don't talk to me right now'," says Dr. Lay. "In the evening, it's a little more relaxed, people will say hello or wave to me, but they still tend to not want to come up to me."

2. You Pretend You Know Him From Somewhere Else

Pretend You Know Them From Somewhere ElseIf the thought of being impolite to the person who sculpted your lovely lady lumps is completely abhorrent, you can always chat up your plastic surgeon… while pretending he's someone else entirely. The trick is not giving the doc a chance to talk — instead, introduce him to your pals as your dentist, real estate agent, or crazy cousin. Who knows? He might even pick up your cues and go along with the ruse! "I've gotten pretty good at that," Dr. Lay says. "I've had patients refer to me as a friend or professional colleague. Some people have told their friends and other people around that I'm a cop, or that I work in construction. Cop is sort of the go-to secret identity, because it's pretty believable when people look at me."

3. You Embrace Your Mutual Connection — Sharing Is Caring!

Embrace Your Mutual ConnectionPeople might not know about your nose job, but what do you have to be ashamed of? There's nothing wrong with getting some work done (haters in a box to the left), so go ahead and own it! Your friends might be surprised when you say, "Ladies, meet the guy who gave me a Brazilian butt lift," but trust us, crazier things have happened. "Some of my younger patients live out loud; they don't care who knows what," Dr. Lay says. "One patient in particular had three separate surgeries, and not only does she not mind talking to me in public, but she went on first and second dates with tape on her nose or stitches on her eyes."

4. He Says Hi, You Act Like He's Crazy

While Dr. Lay isn't in the habit of wandering up to patients in public at the risk of blowing up their spot, it's possible that your surgeon might not be so sensitive. If you find yourself OMG-ing in horror as your doctor makes a beeline for you at the bar, try plan B: Act like he's totally nuts and you've never seen him before. Even Dr. Lay had to pretend he didn't know a patient just to protect her privacy! "I try to avoid interacting with people when they've been drinking, just so they are protecting themselves and their privacy," Dr. Lay told us. "Once, I was getting off an elevator in a loft, and this patient of mine is getting on the elevator with four of her friends, obviously drunk. She says, 'Oh hey, Dr. Lay, how’re you doing?' and she starts chatting me up. I didn't really say anything, so she looked at me for a second and she said, 'Dr. Lay, that's you, right?' Her friends started to look at each other, and then at her and me, so I just said, 'Oh no, you're thinking of somebody else' and started to walk away."

Act Like He's Crazy

We're suffering from second-hand embarrassment just hearing this story, but don't worry — a quick phone call to your doctor will clear the air after an awkward social encounter. Of course, it might be a good idea to talk to your surgeon ahead of time about what could happen if you run into each other outside the office — especially if you move in similar social circles.

Have you ever had an awkward run-in with your plastic surgeon? What happened and how did you deal with it? Take it to the comments and let us know.

Photo credits: Courtesy of The Confused Shop; Courtesy of Split; Courtesy of Bravo; Courtesy of Swivel Chairs and No One Cares