Just being nosy

Story #1

Debbie, a high school classmate, had a prominent nose.  She was a slight girl, which made her nose even more pronounced.  She was very smart, as I remember, but I think she was extremely self-conscious. She’d walk around with her loose-leaf books and notes held up close to her face, as if she wanted to hide her nose. She was quiet. People made fun of her. We weren’t close friends, but I liked her.

When we returned from Christmas vacation during our sophomore year, Debbie was a new person, literally and figuratively. She had a nose job and she looked beautiful, really beautiful.  She no longer held her books up high. She also became a snob.  I guess you could say she “held her nose in the air.”  She probably resented all the kids who had derided her. I liked her better with her old nose.

I think Debbie went to one of the Seven Sister schools.  I lost track of her after we graduated.

Story #2

My mother, May, had a prominent nose. She was fond of telling us that when she was about twenty, her mother (grandma Rose) gave her a choice: Have a nose job or a get a fur coat. Mom didn’t hesitate. She chose the fur coat.

Mamma May was not the least bit self-conscious about her looks. She was outgoing and secure. Even when she was 86, she would brag about getting kisses from the security guards at the Y, where she attended a Sixty Plus program. I don’t believe a nose job would have changed her one iota. She met a handsome man, my dad, who loved every bit of her and she led a happy, content life.

Moral of the Stories

I am not against nose jobs, or any other types of cosmetic work. To each her own, I say.  My big question is, does changing our looks on the outside change how we feel about ourselves on the inside?  I don’t think so. When I was 41, I lost 50 pounds and couldn’t stop buying new size 8 clothes. I pranced around like a peacock, but guess what, thinner Geri didn’t mean happier Geri. I’m heavier now, but worlds happier.  I wouldn’t mind losing 20 pounds, but I’ll take being “lighter” on the inside any day.

If Debbie wound up half as happy as May, she’s a lucky girl, with or without a beautiful, small nose.

2 Responses to “Just being nosy”

  1. Geri says:

    Toby,

    This is an incredible story. I love it.

    Geri

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  2. Toby Wollin says:

    Sometimes physical attributes can be magnified to the point of being unreal. I worked with a woman who always wore a scarf around her neck. She’d invested a lot in a wardrobe of scarves, but they were all long and wound around and around her neck no matter what else she wore. She joined us during the winter, so I didn’t think anything of it. But when we got to the warmer months, she was still wearing the scarves. And when we got to July and August, when we were all sweltering because the AC was pretty shaky, she was still wearing the damn scarves, so I asked her why? She didn’t want to tell me, so I kidded it out of her. She was very very religious and had attended Roman Catholic schools her whole life; one of the nuns when she was in the sixth grade told her she had a neck like a chicken. She was so self-conscious of her neck that she always wore high necked things or scarves around her neck ever since. I asked her, “Have you ever seen a chicken’s neck? I mean, a live one? How did that nun know?” And since we were in marketing, and she believed whole heartedly in asking customers what they really thought, I dragged her down to the break room , had her take off the scarf (that was a real risk – I had no idea what her neck looked like, but I figured it probably looked pretty good and young since it had not seen the light of day in 40 years), and asked everyone what they thought of her neck. She never wore a scarf ever again. Careless comments are very powerful tools – and many times they are used as ‘pecking order’ weapons between females. It takes a pretty strong person to shake off that sort of thing.

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