natalie slightly scattered

everything in between

Category: Humor

One of My Finer Moments

I never like the songs that play as the credits roll at the end of a movie. A few examples:  Celine Dion crooning at the end of Titanic about her heart going on and on, except Jack had died, so no one really cared what her heart would do. The Lion King. Excellent movie. All of you Disney naysayers can just go to the land where dream squashers and negative people go to die. But really. Someone tell me how Elton John bleeding emotion for feeling the love tonight has anything to do with jungle animals.

Because it doesn’t.

I could go on, but I’ll spare you, because this isn’t actually about the credit song selections of Hollywood. Well, not really. This is about a couch. A couch that took up residence for two years at 50 Robinson Street, where I lived with my friends during college. A brown leather, extremely comfortable, couch.

It was the nap couch, the homework couch, the movie couch, the late-night chat couch. But more than anything, it was the make out couch. At one point or another, every girl in our house had a boyfriend. With only one single bedroom and five girls, there wasn’t much space for privacy. Which meant that if a couple was going to hang out at our house for the evening, they were going to end up on the couch.

Our house was tiny. The couch was in the living room, right next to the kitchen. The only thing separating one room from the other was a thin sheet of plaster a hundred years old. Even if you had the privacy of the living room, other people were never more than a few feet away. If the lights were out and a movie was on, we all knew what you were doing.

A favorite game of ours was to act like we had never been in that situation when it was someone else on the couch. We would trade knowing glances over breakfast, and whisper in the hallway:

“What time did she come into the room to go to bed last night?”

“I bet she’s so tired today!”

“I can’t believe they stayed up so late again. That’s the third time this week!”

The couch occupant knew that she was a conversation topic, and would act indifferent until it was another couple on the couch, at which point she would assume all innocence and eagerly join in the banter.

The nights when the rest of us were relegated elsewhere, we would usually congregate in the kitchen. Sometimes there would be reservations made for the couch, “I’m having my boyfriend over Friday night.” Nothing more needed to be said; we all understood.

On those nights, the door between the kitchen and the living room became a divide – if you were in the kitchen you were safe, but beyond that door it became enemy territory. We would snicker and tease, and wonder how she could possibly want to kiss him. One such evening, I happened to be in the kitchen doing homework, while the couple that had the most couch time occupied their favorite spot. The only sound coming from behind the door was the song to the credits, playing on what seemed like an endless loop. I fail to believe that anyone enjoys listening to the credit score on repeat, unless they are otherwise engaged.

I needed something to drown out the noise from only a few feet away, so I decided to put on some music.

The obvious selection was to play Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing.

Full volume.

On repeat.

I do so hate those songs they play during the credits.

The Closet Creeper and a Visit to the Doctor

Sometimes I do not know when to stop talking. Those who know me well would likely say, “Only sometimes, Natalie?”

I’m a very vocal person, which has its pro’s and con’s.

Plus Side:     You always know what I’m thinking.

Down Side:  You always know what I’m thinking.

I have been called blunt, rude, hilarious, and awkward. I have never been referred to as a creeper, but the truth is that sometimes, I am a complete creep.

While it is not fair, one is generally only referred to as a creeper if one is:

  • Of the male variety
  • Unattractive
  • Overly persistent in giving unwanted attention (think: Bar Scene, North America)
  • Sporting a penchant for trench coats.

Since I am not:

  • A male
  • Decide for yourself
  • Of the persuasion to hit on women
  • The trench coat wearing type…

I usually just get called weird when I go into full on creeper mode. Which is why I propose this alternative description of a creep:

Someone who knows / remembers details about your life when you:
a) Never told them
b) Don’t know them

Unfortunately, my actions have fallen into both of these categories on numerous prior occasions. Still, that’s not quite the crux of it just yet. The real mark of a creeper is:

Even if the other person does not appear to be enjoying themselves / your conversation, you just can’t seem to bring yourself to stop.

Case in point, last night. We all remember The Wart. Long story short, up until last night, I still had the wart. I had begun to think of it as its own entity, my body its host. When the dermatologist appointments proved futile, I began attacking it with the vigor of a reigning monarch against an invading army.

This sucker was going down if I had to cut it out of my foot myself (which I tried, repeatedly). But before I get too sidetracked, I have already devoted an entire post to the wart, and this is actually about my creeper tendencies.

To recap:  me, creeping, wart, failed self-imposed attempts at surgery.

I decided that it was time to go see a podiatrist. Bringing out the big guns. Podiatrists deal strictly with feet (and really, I’m fascinated – how does one feel a calling to this?) No matter. I needed one, and so my mother, ever helpful, led me to Dr. T.

I had actually been to see Dr. T once before, but had failed to save his number. I typed some variation of his very Greek last name into Google, and received quite a few hits in return. God help me, I actually clicked on some of them, and promptly learned way more than I should know about Dr. T, other than that he may harbor a foot fetish. Let me say one more time: Podiatry. Feet, all day long. This one was easy to deduce.

I will justify my actions by stating that I was bored at work. And it’s not like I learned anything inappropriate about Dr. T. I was just able to glean that he and his ex-wife have joint custody of the kids. Two boys.

No big, because in theory, Dr. T would never need to know I know this.

In Reality

Monday, 5:52 PM:  I’m late. I can tell the front desk ladies are non-too-pleased with me. I feign ignorance and smile politely.

5:55:  I am led to a chair and instructed to remove my shoes and socks. My feet are sweaty. Mid winter, socks, boots; don’t pretend like you haven’t been there people.

5:56:  I really should have gotten a pedicure. This is just abominable.

5:57:  I should have removed the errant hairs from my big toe.

6:02:  I walk to the front of the office to retrieve a magazine. Barefoot. See: Wart. Walking around barefoot is probably why I am in this predicament in the first place. The front desk ladies glance at my feet and look at my oddly. Apparently walking around barefoot is not acceptable behavior at the podiatrists.

6:04:  I’ve barely gotten to flip through the pages when the doctor decides to join me. But I do manage to notice the shirtless picture of Tim McGraw, on page 74 in this week’s issue of People. Tim McGraw has weird nipples.

6:05:   I tell the good doctor that I am soon leaving for China, and would like to be departing sans wart. He inspects my right foot, then my left. I don’t think he has a foot fetish. Either that or he hides it very well. Which once more begs the question: why podiatry?

6:06:  BONUS! Turns out that odd little thing I couldn’t identify on my left foot is ANOTHER wart.

6:07:  He calls in the nurse practitioner, and at this point I lose track of time. It is explained to me that we are going to numb, scrape and cauterize my feet. In other words, we are going to stick long needles into them, use a scalpel on them, and burn them. We are going to annihilate these little suckers.

Two needles were procured, at which point I grabbed the arm of the nurse practitioner and implored, “You have children, can I hold your hand?” I’m pretty sure I left childhood behind at least six years ago, but she kindly obliged. Thank God, because it hurts like hell to make sure I don’t feel anything.

My feet sufficiently numbed, the nurse practitioner leaves, and Dr. T whips out a small blow torch.

Time for small talk.

Most normal people would ask… I don’t know what most normal people would ask, because I’m me, and so I asked,

“How are your sons?”

Dr. T never told me that he has sons. I only know this because I read his court documents. It was still fine, he probably didn’t think anything of it, assumed he had told me at another time. But what do I do?

I miss this logical reasoning, and my brain goes straight to:

YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO KNOW HE HAS ANY SONS.

So I follow with the wonderful, “You never told me you have sons, I only know because I typed your name into Google.”

Shut up, Natalie. Just shut up.

This is what I’m thinking. I actually have this thought. But no. Once it starts, I can’t seem to stop, so I continue, “I had to type your name into Google because I hadn’t saved your number. You’d be amazed what you can find out about someone on Google.”

At this point some working part of my brain has caught up to my mouth, and is telling me to abandon my current course of action. Which means I delve into a long list of all the websites you can use to find information on people, and how last week I found myself on Spokeo, which should really be called Spookeo, because it’s so spooky, and how I’m so good at researching people because that’s what I did for two years at my internship during college.

Verbal. Diarrhea.

Then Dr. T says that there are probably documents online that he would rather not be there (i.e. the court document detailing his joint custody) and I try to play this off by saying that I hadn’t seen anything like that and he shouldn’t worry.

He just looked at me, which my brain finally processed as, “Time for a new conversation topic!”

“So are podiatrists real doctors?”

From Me to You, Young Men

I volunteer with a high school youth group, which is one of the highlights of my week. Last night, however, we decided to have a guys / girls breakout session. Which meant that the male volunteers were going to talk to the girls, and the female volunteers were going to talk to the guys. Some talking points might have been nice, but instead our youth leader threw us to the wolves, assuming that twenty or so high school boys would have loads to talk about with five women in their twenties. So while the girls session with the male volunteers practically ended in tears, in our session you could hear the crickets. What do high school boys want to know about girls? If I knew, I would have utilized that information a long time ago.

I started by telling them that men and women are different (go me), and ended the session by suggesting they take showers. I was getting desperate. Here’s how it happened:

The first question I was asked was if I could slow down my speech. The second time someone raised his hand, it was to suggest the group put duct tape over my mouth. Said individual suffers from Aspergers, so I decided to not take the comment offensively.

I tried explaining that boys’ brains are like waffles, where everything is compartmentalized and information drips down, while girls’ brains are like spaghetti, and everything gets tangled up. This is not my own theory. I might have insulted them by the repeated reminder that they are “simple.” I defended this theory by likening them to orangutans who sit on the couch, eat, fart, and grunt. The justification for this comes from having watched my brother sit on the couch, eat, fart, and grunt.

We were asked to describe our ideal first date. We suggested that if they like a girl they do more than just text, “hey.” We volunteered that women are crazy and emotional and oftentimes we don’t even know what we want. We may have done more harm than good. We told them that if a girl says she is fine, it’s a lie. The real highlight of the evening came when we said women need their girlfriends, which I decided to sum up ever so nicely by stating, “Chick before dicks.” I work with teenagers in a church setting, ladies and gentlemen!

In a last-ditch effort to depart something meaningful, I told them that what they say does affect girls, and to realize that women are more than just their bodies. I then had the brilliant idea to ask them to raise their hand if they shower everyday. Some do, some don’t. One adorable freshman informed me that he had showered “yesterday.”

So then we ended the session with the best advice they received all evening: using Axe body spray does not count as taking a shower.

Go forth and multiply, young men.

Perfect Everywhere Else

It started with an ingrown hair. I’ve already discussed waxing, so hair issues should come as no surprise. This particular hair was in a rather conspicuously placed location. It should be noted at this point in time that I swim year round. Bathing suit, botched hair removal….if you’re not following by this point, give up now. For the rest of you, ingrown hairs, if left untreated, can become quite unsightly. When I realized I was out of my league, I showed it to my mother. When her only suggestion was to go to the dermatologist, I knew things were getting serious.

I have had a relationship with my dermatologist for many years. When I was a child my father had melanoma, which makes me more likely to have skin cancer. Once a year I go in for a skin test. I strip down to my underwear, the very nice female dermatologist does a quick glance, determines that I’ll live another year, and we part ways. For the majority of my life, this has defined my relationship with the dermatologist. Until the ingrown hair. On the big day I showed up at the office in my daisy dukes, ready to go. I was led to a room, told to wait, and left alone.

Then in walked in Nurse Practitioner Tom.

Big. Bearded. Old. Exactly the type of man you do not want removing a delicately placed ingrown hair.

This was not what I envisioned. Where was my lovely female dermatologist? Apparently busy with more pressing dermatological matters. Ingrown hairs, it seems, do not rank too high on the priority list. Which is how I ended up with Tom, and not the real doctor.

And then, after this internal freak out, I got over it. Clearly this was a routine procedure, and nothing he hadn’t seen before. Or maybe it was new territory. Regardless, I was here, he was holding a needle, and in two minutes I could walk out the door, hair free. Which is pretty much exactly what happened.

Until I got the wart. Now I know that warts, like head lice, do not discriminate. And even though I have been humbled by my experience, I would still like to say that I am not really the wart “type.” Not that anyone necessarily is. But I definitely am not. So it was really a bit of a catastrophe to discover that I had one. I’m still sort of in denial that this would happen to me. But it did. At first, I didn’t know what it was, but decided it would go away. Then when it didn’t go away (Sometimes, if you ignore things, they magically disappear. I’ve been practicing this tactic for years, and even though it has never worked, I’m still convinced that one day it will.) I contacted my mother. She suggested I go see the dermatologist.

So there I was again, back at the office, pants on, socks off. And in walked Tom. Apparently our previous encounter had not been as unforgettable as I had hoped, because he most certainly remembered me. I explained that the problem was my foot this time, not my…leg. And so began my relationship with Tom.

Warts, it turns out, are stubborn little buggers. They require freezing once every three weeks. They can last for years. They are expensive. I have spent, without exaggeration, probably close to $300  on this wart. Perhaps more. It would definitely be more if it weren’t for Tom. Because while things had not started out under the most desirable circumstances, I started to see Tom more regularly than my close friends. My little wart freezings became downright social. Tom lives on Staten Island, and has a boat that he likes to sail. He wears crocs, loves his pets, and remembers my outfits. Not at all creepy.

Tom also realizes that wart medicine is expensive. After he prescribed a topical medication that cost $150, we had a little discussion where I told him I wasn’t so happy about that price. When I ran out, he snuck me one from the supply closet, and called it, “The broke college student discount.” All of this would be lovely if when I complained about my wart, Tom didn’t feel the need to tell me, “But everywhere else you’re perfect.”

Thank you, Tom.

The Delicate Art of Making Yourself Available

We had study hall together. I had never seen him before, but in a high school as big as mine that was not that uncommon. He was a senior, and I fell for him right away. Study hall was second block. First block his classroom happened to be across from mine. I became very efficient at packing my things up so that I could wait for the bell and dash into the hallway, hoping to be the first person he would see. Many a cute outfit was planned, and much time was spent in the bathroom fixing my hair; wasting precious moments in class that I would make up later in afternoon tutorial. If I was lucky, he would spot me. More often than not I would walk to study hall alone, where I would sit down and try very hard to appear nonchalant.

I never once studied. Instead I would sit and wait anxiously for him to ask me to the senior prom. He would flirt around the issue, saying maybe he should ask this or that girl, and I would of course agree or disagree, never daring to say, “Just ask me.” Other days we would sit and listen to country music, and I would daydream about riding in his truck. Yes, it’s true. We can move on now. Study hall would end, and I would try to engage him in conversation, so that we would be talking and he had to walk me to class. I was very strategic.

Now his cousin, Jen, sat with us during study hall. They were very close, and at that point in my life I happened to sell makeup. Which is how I ended up with a box full of skin care products and a 40 color variety palette of eye shadow. At some point during the semester, Jen was invited to a formal. I had a crush on her cousin, a bunch of makeup, and time on my hands. So I did what any girl in my situation would do, and volunteered to do Jen’s hair and makeup. The fact that she lived forty-five minutes from me did not factor into the equation; the whole afternoon was hinged on the possibility that at some point he could show up. He did show up for five minutes, and it was nothing short of confirmation that he was crazy about me. In my head. In reality, Jen’s hair did look very good that night.

Then study hall ended, and with it my main opportunity to see him. But that did not stop me from finding plenty of opportunities to bump into him in the hallway (spontaneously, of course). I did everything but wear a sign that said, “Ask me to prom.” Weeks went by, and despite all of my planning still nothing happened, until one day a cute boy in my cooking class asked me to the senior prom. I figured by that point it was no longer worth my time to sit around and wait for the other guy. He had had his shot, and clearly missed it.

Well word gets around, and later that day he came up to me in the hallway and said, “I heard you were asked to prom.” Figuring I had nothing to lose at this point, I mustered up the courage to say, “Why didn’t you ask me?” To which he replied, “You weren’t really making yourself available.”

Stupid boy.

I’ll Occupy That

The Occupy Wall Street people had a great concept – they just went about it all wrong. With a slight twist on their execution, I should have a job offer within the next few months. The Occupy people did not like Wall Street, so it seems a little paradoxical to me that Wall Street is where they decided to spend all of their time. I plan to occupy a place I want to be. Such as Hawaii. I think I could really get a great movement going. All interested parties can join me at occupyhawaii.net, where we will be raising money for our flights to the Aloha State. Once there, I tend to occupy the resorts and beaches.

In the meantine, I have come up with a few alternatives, such as Occupy Time, or Occupy CNN,  both places where I could invision working. My plan is very simple, really. Decked out in business attire, I shall roam the halls of these corporations. I’ll start off small, offering to make coffee runs. Those high powered execs need their mojo, and I will be more than happy to be the one who gets the joe. As previous internship experience has taught me, coffee runs will inevitably lead to futher opportunities, such as the chance to work the fax machine, something I have right under “studying Arabic,” on my resume. It’s a well kept secret that stubborn fax machines respond favorably when spoken to in Arabic.

I’ll be on call 24/7, since I’m occupying the place. I’ll introduce myself to anyone who walks by, and soon we’ll all know each other by name. I will have to assign myself a boss, but make sure he works on a separate floor, that way I can say, “Oh, I work for Bob in Human Resources. We recently received complaints that our personnel feel sluggish in the afternoon. I’m here to do the  Starbucks run.” Instead of complaining about corporate culture, I’ll help increase productivity. The Occupy Wall Street people have the wrong target audience. Most are farmers or yoga instructors. Forget Wall Street. Occupy Iowa and Occupy India are where it’s at for that lot.

the college transformation

Freshman Year  

You are not sure how you ever woke up and made it to high school by 7:30 am. You now wake up at ten, but do not really become a functioning human being until after 2 pm. You still care about gossip among your high school friends, and there are lingering effects of prom drama. Skipping class and doing nothing is amazing. You find yourself having deep philosophical conversations about the meaning of life in the dining hall. No one judges you for wearing sweatpants. All day.

Sophomore Year

You realize you are an individual. You will never work for the man, even though you are not quite sure who the man is. Bandana’s become a fashion statement. After college you are going to move to Thailand and work with village orphans. There are more important things in life besides money. You conveniently forget that mom and dad are footing the bill for your meal plan.

Junior Year

You are not sure how you were ever friends with half of those people from high school. Besides, you’ve changed. You could not pinpoint these changes if asked to, but you know they are there. You still have one year left to ignore the looming Real World. Running home drunk from the bar is acceptable/encouraged behavior.

Senior Year

You take all those GenEd’s you blew off your freshman year, which is how you wind up in a class full of freshman. Except you were never that annoying. Your wardrobe suddenly spawns a suit, and unlike your other clothes, it does not look alright after lying crumpled on the floor. The question, “What do you want to do?” suddenly becomes terrifying, as well as a reason to avoid all family gatherings. Or really, any social gathering with people beyond the age of 22. You still dream of running away to the mountains to build campfires and sing Kumbaya, but have unfortunately come to the stark realization that you do not look all that great in a bandana. You go from saying, “I do not want to work in a cubicle,” to asking, “Do you offer benefits?” You wish you had hung out with more kids who majored in business, and you now point and laugh at kids with weird hair/piercings/tattoos, while snickering, “Good luck getting a follow up interview.” It no longer seems cool that some of your peers practice Buddhism. Buddha isn’t hiring. The cute stoner who lives across the street is not exhibiting any signs of earning potential, and no longer looks like boyfriend material. Your body suddenly craves nutrition instead of a steady diet of pasta, ice cream, and beer. You stop thinking of your parents once every other month, and start to wonder, “Will they take me back?”

The Year After Graduation

Waking up early sucks. Waking up early after going to bed late also sucks. Realizing you can no longer stay up late because you have to wake up early really sucks. Your friends start talking about their relationships being “serious.” That couple that dated all through college gets engaged. You all knew it was going to happen, but it is still weird. Your thoughts alternate between, “Well what do I do now that I did not find my soul mate during the prime years of opportunity,” to, “I do not want to settle down until I have had an amazing life accomplishment, like discovering a new species in Fiji. Or at the very least going to Fiji.” Maybe you can marry someone from Fiji. You wish your friends would stop talking about babies. You wish you would stop thinking about your friends having babies. You wish you were not at the stage of life where people can have babies. You like not worrying about spending money on a latte, but you hate giving into consumerism. You start reading non fiction. It seems like a good idea to get an Economist subscription. You catch yourself watching the evening news so that you know what everyone is talking about at the office the next morning. You never check Facebook.

when harry met sally

My very best friend from the seventh grade has imposed one rule upon me:  when I meet someone for the first time (particularly a male) I am forbidden from inviting them over my house for dinner. I am also strongly discouraged from inviting them over for dinner, ever, period.  Unfortunately, I enjoy inviting people over for dinner. This tactic is how I have come to have so many friends. It is also how many of these so called friends have come to think that we have Potential. Which is why I am going to add my own rule:  annual viewings of the 1980’s film, When Harry Met Sally.

The premise of When Harry Met Sally is that men and women can’t be friends. I have been trying to prove that theory wrong since the age of seventeen.

Which brings me to the resason for my annual viewing. The reason would be called Stevephildantom, and some Frenchman who’s name I believe was Virgil. The biggest reason for this, however, would be Tom. Tom and I just broke up. The only problem is that I never actually dated him. I think it would be more accurate to say he broke up with me. Or rather, he broke up with the fantasy, and I had to be the real flesh and blood recipient of the denunciation of his day dreams. I’m trying to be sensitive to his feelings, but when he wrote, “We should severly reduce our amount of communication,” what I really want to say in reply is, “I think about ninety percent of that communication is going on inside your head.” Except I won’t have the opportunity, because he just blocked me on Skype.

It all started with a letter.  Or rather, my idea to write letters, which is something else I am putting on the list of banned activities. Then came The Letter. I would like to call it a love letter, except it was not. It was more a, “I hope that this can be taken as a love letter if indeed you do feel the same way about me,” sort of thing. Yet it was so matter of fact, citing our obvious “geographical differences” so many times that I became confused as to whether or not I was reading an academic dissertation.

This letter left me in the awkward position where I had to respond. Which was how I found myself typing into Google, “How to respond to a love letter when you are not interested.” Google apparently does not have much experience with this search query, because Google seriously let me down. The first site to which I was directed, Help.com, was no help at all. The other top site was leading with, “Girls, how do you respond to love letters?” I’m looking for answers here, Google, not more questions. And after those two measly offerings was, “How to write an unforgettable romantic love letter.” At this point I became willing to accept that the problem was me, not Google, and so adjusted the terms of my search to, “How to tell a guy you are not interested.” Lemondrop.com suggested using a fire escape to remove onesself from unpleasant situations with the opposite sex. After being led to an infomerical for a man who was going to tell me the secrets of the male mind (for a nominal fee) I realized that I would be flying solo.

In the meantime, I’ll try to remember that (SPOILER ALERT) eventually Harry ends up with Sally.

Joel Stein: You’re great. So is this email.

Dear Joel Stein (and Assistant),

You need a new picture in Time. I was surprised to discover when I checked you out online that you are more attractive than your Time headshot. It does not do you justice. Do not misinterpret that as a come on; you’re far too old for me. However, I thought you should know. A new photo could boost your approval rating among females higher than Romney’s. Even though you are off the market, being married to your lovely wife Cassandra (whom you may want to re-dub Saint Cassandra) and father to that wonderful little boy you were tricked into, a high approval rating among other women never hurts.

It almost creeps me out how much I know about you – but that is because yours is the first piece I read of Time every week. Usually I find you hilarious, and your political statements, while not politically correct, mirror my own sentiments. My parents raised me to be conservative, then paid for my education. Now I read the likes of you and consider myself liberated. I’m not sure yet whether or not I should say thank you. Your column inspires me, and even when I disagree, I find myself laughing with you.

I am curious to know how you got to where you are today, and I do not mean the story about growing up in New Jersey to achieve world renowned fame in L.A.; even though I too am from New Jersey. Us native New Jerseyans are like a disease that festers and goes out to infect the rest of the country. No matter where you go, you will always meet someone from New Jersey. I’ve traveled extensively, and have yet to be proven wrong by this theory.

At this point I should mention, even if I do not reach you, a reply from your assistant would be appreciated. Assistant:  how did you achieve the highly admirable job of being Joel Stein’s assistant? If I cannot make it as the next Joel Stein, to be his assistant would become my new aspiration.

I love your humility. I too am humble. So humble, in fact, that I figure there is no way you can ignore the greatness of this email.  Please do not make me resort to reading your book just to have a discussion with you on Skype. That would necessitate that I pay half a dozen of my friends to fake a book club. And there are no guarantees that I can actually get them to read your book, even if I pay them. With that said, I am interested to learn how you got to where you are today, the steps you took along the way. I am sure the answer will be insightful, engaging, and only partially fictional.

Regards,

Natalie

my nose, among other world problems.

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.