Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My Nose or "You're Going to Put Someone's Eye Out with That Thing"

I have a big nose.

It sits directly in the middle of my face, as most noses do, protruding outward like the beak of a small bird. It has something of a hook towards the top where it meets the rest of my face, and its tip points slightly downward, as if to naturally steer my head to the floor.

It's hard to do some things with a nose so big. For example, putting my head against a wall, or any flat surface really, can be difficult. I have to kind of tilt my head downwards, otherwise, my nose just sticks out and it looks like I'm poking the wall with my nose. Another, probably more important thing, is kissing. When I kiss someone, I almost always have to tilt my head. Coming in straight on usually results in inability to reach the other person's lips, and, on few occasions, an uncomfortable poke in the eye.

I was made aware of the fact that I had a big nose as a child. Children, if nothing else, are experts when it comes to pointing out, and often, mocking the obvious. Not to say that I was overly picked on or singled out because of it, but certainly I can remember a few instances of other kids in my classes not being able to get over the fact that I had a large nose. To be honest, the first time it ever really affected me was when I was around 12 or so. I was walking in the mall, I think with my brother, though I don't remember, and a group of tough looking black guys walked by and all started laughing at me. If I remember correctly, there were about four or five of them, and they looked to be in their mid twenties.

"Ugh, look at that youngin's nose!"
"Damn, he got a big nose!"

They all took their turn delivering a clever insult to a 12 year old, laughed, and continued walking. This was about the time I started to become really self conscious about my looks. It's interesting, because at no point did I ever think for a second that something should be done to get rid of my nose. I didn't want any sort of surgery, or ever wish I could magic it away somehow, I was fine that I had it, and I knew it was a part of me and I didn't want to change it. I had come into the world with it for a reason, and I intended to live as such. That being said, ever since then, it has been something that I think other people are noticing probably much more than they actually are. And in the end, maybe it just goes back to the fact that I look very Jewish. People often can tell that I'm Jewish before I've known them for more than ten minutes. I don't like this. It's none of their business. But it's who I am, and I more or less wear it on my face.

A few months ago, I got on the bus and heard a little girl, probably three, say, "Wow, look at that boy's nose!" I turned and saw that she was sitting with her parents, who were also laughing. "That's hilarious." I said, taking my seat. I wanted so badly to get up and go over to the parents and say, "Is something fucking wrong with you? Is that the way you're going to teach your child to talk to people she's never even met? You should make your kid apologize." I wanted to do that. But I think they were both foreign, Czech maybe, and I didn't think it was worth it. People will read that and probably think I'm some kind of bigot, but the fact is, there are cultural differences on both sides that made the situation seem like it wasn't worth per suing, whatever foreign nationality they were in reality. But it was pretty disgusting.

That's really the last incident I've had with someone calling it out audibly. I've spent many summers of my life, as some of you know, in Waynesboro, PA, at Capital Camps, a Jewish summer camp. Now, while the camp may be Jewish, the town sure isn't, and I can recall many a time I didn't want to go out after hours because of my looks. I thought, "These people will pick up instantly that I'm Jewish, and something bad will happen." But it hasn't yet, and it's a fear I'm starting to think is probably irrational.

So I have this nose. What does it mean to me? I guess to me, my nose, my pointy, hook nose, has always been like having the Israeli fucking flag sticking out of my face. But I guess, in some ways, that's not such a bad thing.

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