I used to be insecure about my nose. It is on the large side and flat on the tip, perhaps the product of odd ethnic-mixing. Being from Wisconsin, everybody I grew up around had tiny pale noses, straight blonde hair and a father figure. I did not fit in.
The small-nosed of you will of course have no idea what I’m speaking of, having society-approved proportions. You will not know what it was like to be shamed after having your silhouette put up on the walls during the 3rd grade or to feel acutely uncomfortable during the Cyrano de Bergerac weeks of high school English class.
In elementary school, two girls -- who had just the year before been my best friends, for shame brats -- even made up a song about my nose which they’d perform during recess. On the swing set they’d pump their little legs back and forth to the rhythm, swinging higher and higher as they sing-songed:
My name is Jessica, Jessica, Jessica!
I have a big nose, big nose, big nose, yes I do.
Even though I recognized the lack of creativity in their bullying was an indication of the dreary, monotonous lives they were destined to lead, the sentiment still stung.
For a while in high school, I fixated. I wanted plastic surgery, I announced to my family at one point after binging on back issues of Seventeen Magazine. I gave up soon after when it was pointed out that rhinoplasty costs thousands of dollars and that this was not something that my family would want to invest in.
Despite the media's strides in accepting different body shapes, it is still the case that there is nowhere I can look and see my nose. Apparently there is no context under which my nose shape and size are regarded positively.
Instead, it is the punch line to many jokes, the inhibitor of beauty. Remember Jennifer Aniston sporting a prosthetic nose on "Friends"? I bet not as well as I do. Magazine stories are still always illustrated with photos of girls with small, streamlined noses. It is textbook nose shaming.
Occasionally, there will be a big to-do about some famous person’s nose and how large it is and how great they are finally using Different-Looking People in movies. But further inspection (scrutinizing the “Stars They’re Just Like Us” portion of US Weekly) will reveal said nose to be unique only in that it protrudes far enough to cast a shadow. It will still be smaller than a piece of Trident.
There are of course male actors who can sport a large schnoz in peace without it being a symbol of their undesirability or the “before” to another actor’s “after.” There is Owen Wilson’s crooked nose, which makes him 40 percent funnier. There are the Italians -- Deniro, Pacino and Pesci -- whose noses lend them the air of dignified menace that we so love and admire. Then there’s Jason Schwartzman whose nose is so oversized that it’s adorable, like a child dressed in his father’s tuxedo.
Still, it’s a cold, hard world for us “nasally gifted” ladies. Because -- and, again, this is according to US Weekly -- even these famous men with large noses like small-nosed women.
If I really wanted to I could save up my money and buy a new nose, which would supposedly make my life a lot better. But I guess somewhere along the line I’ve stopped caring. I still have no public figure I can really relate to nose-wise. There is no acceptance movement for the large of nose as far as I’m aware. But I'm not going to be the one to start one.
I said I used to be self-conscious because it is true. Unless I’m standing inside a three-way mirror, I hardly ever even consider my nose these days. And when I do see it, I kind of like it. Mostly, I have other things to do with my life. Like smell the roses. (HA!) In my opinion your own nose is a dumb thing to think about all of the time.
I’ve learned it is better for me to focus on things past its tip.