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As far as I’m concerned, a woman can do what she wants with her body and that includes cosmetic surgery. As long as your doctor didn’t graduate from the school of Wikipedia, go crazy.
Want an abortion? Go for it. You’re not a real woman until you’ve had two.1
However, I think that some of us (me) have become overly confident in our opinions -- opinions cut by real life and online debate -- when they are rarely tested against reality. I decided how I felt about cosmetic procedures long before anyone close to me had decided to fiddle about with their face.
So, when Buffy, my friend from home (always use an epic pseudonym if you’re going to use your friends for articles), told me that she is going to have the kink knocked out of her nose, I felt like a hypocrite. Despite all my championing of choices, I wanted to talk her out of it.
You probably know this girl. Buffy is a high achieving, beautiful young woman who cannot pass a mirror without a lamentation. Although unhappiness with one’s appearance is a valid reason for surgery2, I wondered if Buffy would like her nose more if she stopped sniffing things up it. Or if she wasn’t freshly heart sore from a breakup.
This misplaced concern came from my own experiences. At 15, I was certain that my profile entered the room like a ship coming into harbour and it needed to be fixed. The men I date often have smaller noses and, when we kiss, I will frequently clonk them in the face with my generously sized beak. Despite this, I never got past the "Ask Jeeves" stage of research into surgery.
Today, I have nowhere near enough cash to get my face dented in, but I’ve also started to enjoy my look. My nose has never stopped decent, triangular shaped men from finding me charming and besides; when boys have dumped me it has never been for my nose. It has always, always been for who I am on the inside. That’s probably true for you, too. Don’t you feel better now?
Remembering this made me realize that I didn’t get happier because I decided against a nose job. Once I walked away from that opportunity, I still had to deal with my demons.
Likewise, talking my friend down from a nose job wasn’t going to deal with the real issues that worried me: It’s none of my business what she does to her schnoz. It’s not ideal, but it has taken the prospect of surgery for me to realize that I’ve been slacking as a friend.
Buffy’s choice of drug attracts a crowd of bored rich kids. I used to covet their lifestyles, before the pity set in. Get closer to their posh, messy hair and you can smell the ponies and parental neglect. To say they treat my friend with disrespect is putting it mildly.
Yet, here I am deriding the assembly of characters who enable her drug habit when I can’t think of a time when I have told her, nose job or not, she’s fantastic.
It’s a statement that shouldn’t be motivated by a wish to wheedle her out of what will turn out to be a conservative procedure that makes her happier about her looks.
So "Buffy," this letter’s to you.
If you don’t like your nose and you want to change it, then do it. God bless you and all who sail in you.
It’s struck me that it’s not the surgery that bothers me. It’s the fact that I’ve never told you that you mean the world to me and I know few people as sharp as you.
I worry that friends, like me, who are decent (and, let’s face it, attractive to boot) are outnumbered in your life by the people who drag you down.
You already know that a new nose won’t bring better people into your life but I don’t if you know what will. It will come from walking with your head, and its new nose, held high.
Too many times you’ve suffered fools gladly instead of saying “jog on, sunshine.” I think it’s because you worry that those people will leave and take the approval you were seeking with them as they go. If you respect yourself you won’t need other people to do it for you.
Nothing particularly good or bad will happen because you have a nose job and nothing particularly good or bad will happen if you don’t have one. But, before you lose that bump on your nose, please shake off the weight of several fools and blow the coke out of it.
Aside from anything, you already know that you’re beautiful, because when have you seen me hanging out with unattractive people? Exactly. I wouldn’t be friends with you if you weren’t pretty. See?
No, seriously, I love you. Please join me on that, before we toast your new nose.
Have you ever felt conflicted about a friend’s surgery? If you have had surgery, what kind of support do you appreciate from friends?
1 I know that’s glib but, honestly, if you are pro-choice and a friend who opposes abortion asks for your opinion on the issue, use that line and they won’t enquire any further. That way you get to keep a friend who may prove to be useful. Someone to do your taxes, perhaps.
2 So far, I’ve yet to meet anyone who has surgery for the shits and giggles. So an appearance seems like a good enough reason.