At the end of last year, the LA Times reported that the top 10 spots on our list of the top ten most expensive tanning parlors were all in Los Angles, where the average price for a tanning session was $845.
At the other end of the spectrum, in Brooklyn, New York, where I live, the average cost of a session was just over $250, but the average session was over $1,100.
And at the other extreme of the scale, in Los Altos, California, where my wife and I live and work, the cheapest salon was a mere $2,400.
While it’s true that we didn’t come across any of the high-end tanning establishments that are listed above, we did see the likes of Bose, which is probably the most expensive and most expensively decorated salon in LA, and the infamous Dr. Jart+ in Beverly Hills.
Dr. Jarts was the first of the new trendy “art and science” doctors that began to appear in the United States in the 1970s and 1980s, and its “art” doctors were more often than not men who were renowned for their eccentric treatments.
I was lucky enough to visit Dr. James James, a renowned physician from Brooklyn who specialized in facial rejuvenation and who, according to the Times, was the most “expensive” doctor in the city.
James was a famous and respected facial rejuvenator, a man who would have no problem claiming to be a “doctor” in a bar or on TV, but who, when he opened his office in Brooklyn in 1981, would soon find himself at the center of an FBI investigation for allegedly running a fraudulent cosmetic surgery clinic, and who was eventually indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the government.
When I first visited Dr.
James’s office in 1990, I was taken aback by the large collection of instruments and devices that filled the large, white and gray waiting room.
As the doctor sat in his office, he was flanked by four or five other men.
“We’re here to see a doctor.
What can we help you with?” he asked the man sitting next to him, an older man in his 50s who was carrying a large, dark-green plastic tray.
“We’re looking for a cosmetic surgery specialist,” James told him.
“Do you know any of these guys?”
I asked him about Dr.
Jart+ and Dr. Joe B. and James.
The man who sat next to me replied, “No.
I’m not really interested in cosmetic surgery.”
“Then why do you want to see me?”
“You want me to take you to the nearest Dr. Jas.
I have to see him.
What else can I do for you?”
James continued to explain to me what the various procedures he had been performing for his patients could do for me.
He pointed to a patient who had been having some kind of reaction to his treatment.
Then James turned to the man with the dark-brown hair, and asked, “Are you going to have a skin-fold or an aloe-skin treatment?”
“No, I’m just doing the same thing,” he said.
“I don’t want to have any problems.”
James asked the older man to bring a small box with the skin-folds.
As James walked back to the patient, he asked him what he would be doing if he was not being treated with the aloe skin-scrub.
James told the man to “make a call.”
The next morning, I walked into James’s office.
It was late.
But, as I entered, I saw a large tray of large, brown, and dark-black instruments and a large set of small instruments and small devices.
I thought to myself, this is it.
What is this?
The most expensive thing on the room was the Dr. John Jart-Bose (or Jart) machine, which I had been introduced to earlier that day when I first met Dr. Bose.
At $1.6 million, it was the priciest machine in the world, and it was a machine that had been used in several high-profile cases of skin cancer and skin disease.
And yet, James was still going to spend $5,000 for an appointment with the most important thing I could possibly ask for.
His eyes lit up.
In the midst of my first visit to James’s clinic, a woman with a beautiful, blonde hair, a bright smile and an amazing personality, who had worked with Dr.
Bose for many years, came into the waiting room and asked for a consultation.
My jaw dropped. She looked