my nose, among other world problems.

by Natalie

If anyone ever says that you are the only one who will notice your flaws, they are lying. People may even be so kind as to point out flaws you were not aware you had. My mother recently pointed out that I have one eye that is smaller than the other, then tried to reassure me that it is a family trait. Apparently this one can be blamed on her family, unlike my nose, which is my father’s fault. All of my bad genes/traits are my father’s fault, because my mother comes from a long line of tan, wrinkle-free, hairless people.  Her family has nice straight Romanesque noses, while the noses on my father’s side are reminiscent of pugs. There is nothing straight or regal about them. And while the look might have been alright for my grandfather, I find little appealing about having the nose of an Irish dock worker.

According to my mother, I developed the flawed trait on my own nose around the age of twelve. I then proceeded to live eight years in blissful ignorance, until the age of 20, when a prolonged episode of soul-searching in a mirror led me to the discovery of my uneven nostril. Every time I smiled, the nostril on the left side of my face hung down a little. Horrified, I practiced smiling for a few minutes, searing the image into my brain, so that I would remember to never smile again. When I informed my father, he told me that he too has uneven nostrils, and that it has never hurt him. My father thinks sweatpants are a fashion statement, however, so his opinion was null and void. He then tried the tactic of telling me no one  would notice. This theory was blown out of the water the next day, literally, the next day, when my then boyfriend remarked that there was, “something uneven about my nose.” Future boyfriends be warned: that sort of comment will put in jeopordy the status of our relationship.

I have since become obsessed with noses. I have spent entire family gatherings sulking while coveting the perfect noses of my maternal cousines.When people talk to me, I do not make eye contact until observing whether or not their nostrils are even. My roommate’s are. My brother’s are not. I become very excited when I see others who share my problem. I then almost immediately look to see if they are married, as if to reassure myself, “See, someone wanted them!” I was eating dinner with my friend Beth one night when I noticed that she has an uneven nostril. I spent the rest of our meal trying to observe her nose from every angle, as discretely as possible. My allergist has one as well, but there I have an unfair advantage, as I spend a lot of time looking up at him from the patient’s chair. Like an avid sports fan who knows all of thier favorite players’ statistics, I have a mental list going of all the other people out there who share my predicament.

I have spent serious amounts of time pondering plastic surgery. I may or may not know a rough estimate of the cost for the sort of procedure I would like to have done. I prefer to be in photos that only show the right side of my face. Then there are times when I attempt to speak rationally to myself, with statements like, “Your nose allows you to breathe, you should be thankful for it.”  Sometimes I think I should be a champion for women, embrace my flaws, and offer to pose nude for a magazine without any airbrushing. But that might be taking the feminism thing a bit too far.