There are no examples of people who look like me being hot. Because I am this weird combination of parts that surprised even God. God was like, “Wait, really? That can happen?” when I was born. I still don’t understand it. I look at my parents and grandparents and can kind of figure out how it’s possible, but I can also see how it could’ve easily gone a lot smoother.
Growing up, I knew this couple who were gangly and oddly-arranged. They had bad posture. They looked somehow drab. And they had three kids who looked like child models, and later, like actual models (although that line is a little blurry sometimes, so maybe I shouldn’t make the clarification). It was like all of the parents’ fantastic genes had been singled out and put to work. It was fabulous.
It didn’t happen that way with me. Maybe my parents were too good-looking to begin with. Which is really OK. I mean, I’m over it. For the most part.
(even her bird has a prominent nose. source)
When I was 12, singing in a lame local choir where we had to wear long black skirts to perform, I wrote a thank you note to the instructor on the last day. Somehow, she got confused about who had given it to her, and she hugged this other girl instead. The other girl also had a bump on her nose. But she had lots of pimples and hair that stuck out to the sides and a habit of fiddling constantly with her beaded necklace. I thought that she wasn’t pretty, and I was shocked that someone could mistake her for me.
A few years ago, before I met Bear and cut off all my hair, I briefly dated a charming blond guy who I couldn’t manage to fall for, no matter how much it seemed like it might be a good idea, and after I broke it off with him, he showed up at a grad school event with another girl who everyone (we knew a lot of the same people) mistook for me.
Later, I met her, and she was gorgeous, with a bump on her nose, and a lot of curly/wavy hair, and considerably larger breasts than I have, and eyes that looked like they might really be sparkling. And I was stunned, because I couldn’t imagine that anyone would think I looked like that.
I see pieces of myself everywhere. The buzz cut on an incredibly thin, graceful girl at Ikea (I’m at Ikea a lot these days). The round eyes above the long nose on an Israeli man in the New York Times. The full bottom, small chest, and chubby arms on a confident-looking black girl in an orange, sleeveless dress in Union Square. The shapely, but not particularly long legs with their abrupt ankles on a woman pushing a stroller in the park.
I get offended when, in the amazing show Downton Abbey, like in the BBC dramatization of Pride and Prejudice, the annoying, supposedly unattractive sister is the one with the distinctive nose. Always. Always! Why is she always the obnoxious one, in addition to being the unattractive one? Is there something about women with big noses that irritates people?
There must be, because Disney keeps making the villainesses have curving noses. Or just big ones. Like the witch in Tangled, who looks pretty to me, with her wild, curly dark hair, seductively hooded eyes, and delicately arched nose. She could be Jewish or Armenian. And the other characters keep referring to her as ugly and an “old hag.” And, of course, she’s evil. Have we ever seen a heroine with an bold, bumpy nose? I demand equal rights! Big noses now!!
(Also, like in Snow White, the villainess is the character who is obsessed with beauty. She’s terrified of growing old, which is depicted as pathetic and self-involved. She’s desperate to be beautiful, and since she isn’t already beautiful, according to the script if not her appearance, her desire is pitiful and dangerous. Can we analyze THAT at all? Don’t get me started… source)
Alright. I’m ranting. Am I ranting? I feel like I’m ranting. Probably because I’m complaining about Disney movies. I don’t think that’s allowed. If you want to watch Disney movies, are you still allowed to complain about them?
(not exactly a villainess, but definitely not a kind, likable character! source)
Most of the time, I am reasonable enough to realize that I should do something besides feeling offended as I watch Disney movies. But sometimes, the little girl in me is almost desperate to see herself depicted somewhere, anywhere, as beautiful, or good, or heroic. Sometimes, I am sick of noticing that the features I have fought bloody battles to accept on my face are the ones that define the faces of the women we are supposed to identify immediately as dangerous and irritating and bad.
(even Ursula, who is, of course, fat and evil, has a bumpy nose for good measure. source)
But whatever. I only look like one, confusing, fantastic person. It’s a problem and it’s this tremendous opportunity to get totally cocky. Because I have my own look. I should start a fashion line. I should wear bold, outfits. I should mastermind a villainous plan or a shockingly heroic, helpful one. That would be a twist. I should be a writer. Because we get to talk about this stuff as much as we want. We get to explain how it feels to be us.
And I like being me. I am a weird combination of my parents’ genes that enables me to really, really appreciate the view of the city from the Brooklyn Bridge Park. And work with a vengeance to accomplish stuff. And get offended when I see another annoying, mean character with a nose that’s sort of like mine, because I know that isn’t right. People are beautiful with this nose. And this combination of things. People are beautiful in combinations television and Disney and fashion fail to capture or even imagine.
We’re shocking like that. We’re complicated enough for it. And we might just write the next script:
The Princess Who Saved The World: A story of a beautiful, bold-nosed, big-butted girl who was really good at sword fighting, dragon taming, and a bunch of other things, too (she made a mean grilled cheese!)
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Unroast: Today I love the way I look in my apartment. I think it suits me.