There comes a time in every young Jewish woman’s life when she must face a very serious dilemma: Nose job or used car? It’s a tough choice and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy. One means the freedom of travel, the other means the freedom to not look so Jewish. I know I’m being reductive but growing up in Los Angeles, I had friends with more plastic surgery than a waitress at Hooters. Every summer I would come back to school and at least five girls would be sporting distracting new haircuts.
“Sarah, you look different? What changed?”
“Oh, I got a funky haircut.”
“No, it’s something else. Did anything else change?”
“Not that I can think of. Oh, I mean...I did have my deviated septum fixed but that was pretty minor.”
The old deviated septum trick. Personally, I never had my nose fixed (if you saw my profile you would probably say, “It’s not too late!”). But I definitely thought about it. Most of my family has gone to the chopping block. It is practically in my blood, or at least my sinus tissue, to get one. I happen to be the proud owner of a bumpy, Romanesque, hook nose, also known as a “schnoz,” on the streets. If you want to imagine it, picture business from the front and a party from the side.
Now, I’m almost thirty and I really like it; it is the “statement piece” in the apartment of my face. But I wasn’t always so comfortable with my Jew clue.
In high school, when all my friends were getting their faces circumcised I started to wonder if I should join the club. I began spending hours in front of the mirror debating if I would be prettier/happier/more popular with a less conspicuous sneeze-machine. Ultimately, I decided that I liked my unusual look and it matched my offbeat personality. Plus, at six feet tall and 125 pounds, there was no hope of ever blending in.
I’m not invested in what someone else does to alter their appearance. Get rhinoplasty if will make you happy, it’s no skin off my nose (I had to!). I just think it’s important for young girls to realize that in high school everyone feels like a hideous shrew. It’s like your homework. For the next four years I’m gonna need you to feel horrible about yourself. Anything that makes you different as a teen; having freckles, red hair, flipper arms, a glass eye, a couple extra legs, whatever, will get you teased. The only people that enjoy high school are the lobotomized athletes who grow up to be boring shmos that wear suits from the mall.
Honestly, if you think back to your early experiences the “gorgeous” girls at school were just bland, their distinguishing characteristic was that they had no distinguishing characteristics. I guess I’m saying that if you have something funky going on just know that later in your life it’s gonna be hot and cool.
Growing up, I got teased relentlessly for being skinny and it sucked. No matter how much I ate there was no increase in weight. I was a reluctant string bean, an Olive Oyl, a skinny bones jones, as they called me. I made me feel terrible. Little did I know that fast forward ten years I would be living in New York City and my bod would be considered hot as shit, mostly by gay guys, but still! Getting picked on forced me to use my sense of humor and sarcasm to defend myself. I developed a thick skin and a big mouth. Both qualities that have become invaluable to me as a writer and a comic. And after puberty, when I got pretty, I was like, “Booyah jerks, now I’m cute AND funny! Thanks for being a bunch of bullies so I could develop this bangin’ personality.” What does this have to do with nose jobs? I don’t really know. I guess I’m saying do whatever you want with your face and your life, just whatever you do DO NOT go to high school. It blows.
Rose Surnow is a comedian and writer who lives in Brooklyn.
Follow her on Twitter @rosesurnow