My nose has a bump. It’s been called beak or a Roman nose. It has a prominent bridge but it’s not stare inducing like my best friend in grade three’s triangle shaped nostrils.
From straight on I like the way I look; I have large hazel eyes, full lips and a gleaming smile but my profile always shocks me when I see myself in a three-way mirror or, heaven forbid when someone takes a picture of me from the side. I stare at the image asking, ‘Who is that woman?’ It wasn’t until someone commented on my nose when I was six years old that I even noticed that noses could be different. And so began a lifetime of nose related angst.
Sure, people have told me they ‘love (my) nose,’ that it ‘gives (my) face character’ and ‘makes (me) more interesting.’ I have always thought these people were liars.
When I was thirteen years old I took a drama class with the Calgary Young People’s Theatre and our teacher, for reasons I will never know or ever forgive, asked my class: ‘If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?’ A girl with curly hair wished she could have straight hair, a drama-loving boy wished he could be more athletic, and I said that I’d like to change my nose. Later a girl, who’d like to change her nail-biting habit, came up to me and said something like, ‘When I first met you I totally noticed your nose, but now I think it really suits you.’ That was the first time I learned the meaning of the phrase backhanded compliment.
Last year at a pub in East London I met a friend of a friend who was beyond drunk. From the moment he laid his eyes on me he called me ‘Big Nose!’ This was the first time anyone ever commented on the size of my least favorite body part. However I should note that this man’s schnoz was substantial. Later, when I was completely pissed-off at him, he tried to apologize by telling me that I was ‘dead sexy’ and asked if I’d ‘like to shag’ him. I did not.
A week later his ‘Big Nose’ comment had circled around my head so much that I had a full-blown complex. Was my nose really the first thing people saw when they looked at me? Could my big bumpy nose be the reason I was never successful as an actor? Am I known to strangers as The Girl With The Nose?
There have been many times I’ve thought about getting a nose job. I’ve done the research and know how much it will cost (about $5000 dollars on average), and how long the recovery period is (a few months) and what is involved in the procedure (cutting my face open and sawing off cartilage!). The cons have come close but they’ve never fully outweighed the pros; which would be no more comments about my nose and possibly becoming more attractive.
Growing up in the third wave of feminism I’ve always dismissed cosmetic surgery as something that women I hate do. It’s superficial, petty and my money could be better spent on things like vacations, education or a closet full of Betsy Johnson dresses.
I particularly look to celebrities like Jennifer Gray and Ashlee Simpson; two women who had nose jobs whom I find them much more attractive in their before photos but maybe that’s just me. When these women reduced their bumps and imperfections they robbed themselves of the uniqueness that got them through the door in the first place. However, this theory works more in Jennifer Gray’s instance as we all know Ashlee Simpson only became famous because her sister already was.
When I google image search ‘hook nose,’ ‘aquiline nose’ and ‘bumpy nose’ after scrolling through pictures of witches I see beautiful women, strong women like Angelica Houston, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand and even the cutest woman in existence, Cheryl Cole. I’d much rather be amongst these faces than the plastic Barbies that dominate mainstream magazines today. But, it does hurt that the Wicked Witch of the West is what people think about when discussing distinctive noses.
Learning to love my nose is a struggle. I am lucky to have some people in my life who tell me that beyond my unique nose I have other distinguishing features; my eyes, my smile, my curves and my Lady Tah TAHS (thanks boys). For the time being I’m focusing on continuing what’s worked for me so far, accentuating the positive, spending my money on things that matter to me: education, vacations and spending time with people that make me feel good about myself.
Joke Ending: My surgery is scheduled for March.
Thanks for this great read. I am with you 100% on all your points.
I like your face. All of it.
i love it that i read “Third Wave Feminism” and “Lady Tah Tah’s” in the same blog. you’re great.
I love unaltered noses. All of them. I respect them. The stuggle to accept them (or any non-ideal body part) on oneself gives us depth of character. Power to you Sara.
Excellent piece of writing.
Don’t be silly. You’re perfectly beautiful just the way you are.
[…] I have a noticeable nose. I’ve written about it before. […]