When I was nine years old, an artist friend of my parents told me I had a classic Roman nose and profile. I wasn’t sure I knew what that meant, but almost fifty years later I remember it.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my nose the last ten days, as I am recovering from surgery to repair a deviated septum. My nose and its non-stoppable mucous production have been at the center of my existence as the need for rest and a fuzzy mind have precluded much else from consideration. (Surgery went well, and there’s been no pain, just discomfort and tiredness.)
By the time I got to high school, I was well aware I didn’t have the kind of beauty celebrated in the media, and it was painful for me. I made my best attempts to “fix the problem” with hair style and makeup, but was never very skilled so that didn’t work.
Salvation (at least to some degree) came from an unlikely source: my mother’s subscription to Vogue magazine. In the mid sixties, during my high school years, Barbra Streisand and Cher became popular, and Vogue often featured them in multi-page spreads, with full-page facial portraits, including in profile. These were immediately cut out and taped to my bedroom wall, reminding me that there is more than one archetype of beauty. In fact, it was clear that Barbra would have had a nose job, except that it could change her voice—too big a risk! Still, Vogue clearly considered her beautiful. So that when people told me I looked like Barbra, I could smile and say “thank you.” My senior photo shows my homage to her in hairstyle and (softened) makeup.