Tori spelling got a nose job at 16
I didn’t know any of this, or who Ms. Girardi was, until I read a headline about the nose job she procured for herself in July, at which point she was added to the list of celebrities I am obsessed with because of their nose jobs (Jennifer Aniston, Tori Spelling, Heidi Montag, Ashlee Simpson, among others).
“I always felt like I had this little face with, like, a Mr. Potato Head nose!” Ms Girardi, 25, told Us Weekly magazine, where she made her debut in before and after pictures that showed a straighter, more upwardly sloped nose. “In school, they called me Pinocchio. After ‘The Bachelor,’ bloggers called me ‘horse face.’ ”
At 35, I’ve put off my own nose job for years, maybe because it took me so long to believe that my nose was such a problem. It was a good shape and size for my face until fifth grade, when I noticed that when people made fun of me, they’d mention my nose. During a brief hour of peacetime, I took aside one of my bullies and asked him why people were mocking my nose. “Because it’s huge,” he said. Then he told everyone that I had asked that.
An immediate visit to a three-way mirror confirmed it: my nose was huge. It had curled into a comma somehow, and was suddenly too high up on my face.
I began spending a lot of time trying to figure out the best way to mitigate the damage. I couldn’t scrunch up my nose or it turned into a hook. Raising my eyebrows lifted my nose a little so it wasn’t pointed downward completely, which was good, but it’s exhausting and it’s weird to always look surprised. Smiling too broadly made the tip almost touch the top of my lip, so that I looked simultaneously happy and disgusted, like Gargamel, the cartoon villain.
At 13, I started dreaming about a nose job, but my parents wouldn’t hear of it. The nose job I didn’t get that year would have been a cheerleader’s nose, dark holes of nostril evident upon first glance, turned up so that you could see straight into my brain.
The nose job I didn’t get in 11th grade would have been straight and long with a tip like a polka dot. On the first day back from summer vacation, six students returned to our all-girls high school with black eyes and tiny bandages across their noses, badges of their parents’ understanding of what it was like to go through life with that nose. My mother said I was beautiful. My sisters said I was beautiful. They have dainty noses.
The nose job I didn’t get in college would have been pointy and serious, like my roommate’s and her mother’s. I told the mother I liked her nose and she said: “Oh, this? This isn’t my real nose.” They’d had them done on the same day, by the same doctor.
When I was 25, I visited an ear, nose and throat specialist who sat on his stool, awed by my deviated septum. “How can you even breathe out of your left nostril?” he asked. Indeed, from underneath, you could see that my septum leans so egregiously to the right that the left nostril hole is almost completely covered by the outer nostril cartilage.
He told me I’d have to fix it eventually, that it would get worse with age. “While I’m in there, I can straighten the whole thing out.” His assistant assured me that insurance would cover it. I would be one of the first people I’d ever heard of to have a nose job because of an actual deviated septum, instead of just using it as a diagnosis code to commit insurance fraud. I made the appointment, then canceled it. I said I’d call back. It’s 10 years later. So why haven’t I?
First, it seems painful.
Second, I’ve noticed over the years that friends who have had nose jobs end up with a nose that seems to be slowly dripping off their faces, led by the columella nasi, the skin-covered extension of the septum, to the point where you could actually see those two little tabs on the inside of the nostrils that are best left internal parts.
BUT really, I’ve avoided rhinoplasty because though it might make me prettier (and I do believe my nose is what stands in the way of my being conventionally pretty), I’m not sure what it will say about me.
Following her operation, Ms. Girardi tweeted: “I want my surgery to be looked at as positive reflection of how I feel. If it makes you feel better about yourself then do it. xoxo.”
And that’s the problem. Nose jobs are often defensively rationalized as acts of empowerment by those who have undergone the procedure. But a recent study shows that one in three nose-job patients might show signs of body dysmorphic disorder, a psychological condition in which a person is preoccupied with a certain part or parts of her appearance to the point of distress (it affects men equally). The number of overdone noses, breast jobs and too-aggressive face-lifts I see as I walk around Los Angeles, where I live, is enough to make me wonder if we actually needed this study to know that this was an issue.
Then again, for every Barbra Streisand or Sarah Jessica Parker who’s thrived with distinctive noses, there are two Nia Vardaloses or Rosemarie DeWitts who should be way more famous than they are. In the new TV season, this pattern is even more evident with the casting of Tara Summers, who plays Sarah Michelle Gellar’s best friend on “Ringer,” and Zoe Lister-Jones, who plays one of Whitney Cummings’s friends on “Whitney.” Both have prominent noses; and both have vibrant red hair to prove that they will remain on the non-threatening sidelines, making sassy and sarcastic jokes.
I’ll need to fix my septum at some point. And while the doctor’s already messing around in there — well, why not just do it? Maybe I could try the second half of my life with a softer, less protrusive profile. But then, will I try to make this late-in-life decision seem less pathetic, less B.D.D.-like, by overtelling people all about my septum, the way my friends with recent nose jobs do?
“The doctor said he couldn’t even imagine how I was breathing out of this thing,” I’d tell people, the same as they’ve told me. “He told me he even had to reset the bone in order for it to be complete.” And they wouldn’t believe me the way I kind of don’t believe people who tell me the impetus for their nose jobs was a deviated septum.
So maybe I should get the operation but not get my nose reshaped. If seems nobler somehow. A boon for feminism, or for noses. Something.