Howardism Musings from my Awakening Dementia
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What's Wrong with Dat Schnozz?

Years ago, when my wife and I were talking about having children, I mentioned that if our children got my wife's beautiful, perfect eyes, and my cute nose, they could take over the world. Of course, my wife blew right past the compliment, and went right for my jugular.

"You really think my nose is that bad!?" After many years of marriage, I've learned the fine art of Husband Backpedal, but not back then… so I told her the truth. While I really love her nose (I personally find big noses attractive), she didn't (and still doesn't) believe me, and was convinced that I was just in the relationship for the more interesting parts below the nose.

But the week before this conversation, my wife spent an entire evening telling me of the trouble, woes and general consternation that her schnozz has given her, and I just meant that I didn't want my daughter to go through those trials, self-loathing, and poor body image.

My wife is full-blooded Italian and her nose is full-bodied. But in our American culture, no woman with a big nose believes that a man would actually be attracted to her nose. I suppose most of these women, like Babs Streisand turn to lesbianism in order to accept their ancestry and our pop culture. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

While I say that I'm not sure my wife still believes me when I say I like her nose, but since her "hot naughty bits" have passed into "more motherly bits", she may have no recourse but to accept it. I believe that she has accepted her nose as being a part of her ancestry… and she's proud of that part, but I don't think she really likes her nose tho.

Hold That Nose. A few years ago, I handed my wife an article from the Utne Reader entitled, "Hold That Nose" (you can read a copy here), where the author, Lisa Miya-Jervis, attended an event with her mother, asked:

"Why are there no Jewish women here?" I whispered to my mother. She laughed, but I think she was genuinely shocked. "What do you mean?" she asked. "All of these women are Jewish." And then it hit me: It was wall-to-wall rhinoplasties. And worse, there was no reason to be surprised. These were women my mother's age or older who came of age in the late '50s or before, when anti-Semitism in this country was much more overt than it is today. Surface assimilation was practically the norm back then, and those honkers were way too, ahem, big a liability on the dating and social scenes.

But this author decided not to have her nose done (even though her mother always said, "I'll still pay.") Though nose jobs have declined since the 50's, they are still quite popular and are the fourth most common procedure with over 200,000 procedures performed in America every year.

Even with all of the "Celebrate Diversity" bumper stickers I see, are people in America actually coming to terms with their ethnic diversity?

MTV, Al Jazeera-Style. The other day, while taking the rugrats out to lunch, we decided to try out the new digs of the "Kabob House". One wall had a large-screen TV belting out the Arabic version of MTV. However, I didn't notice the "Arabic" part since each of the singers were these scantily-clothed blond-bombshells, so let's just say I was distracted from listening to the actual language they were singing, for nothing captivates someone as the threat of nudity… you know, nipples are universal in any language.

But wait, this wasn't a good case of over-dubbing… these women are Middle Eastern… or at least, were. While they were blond, it was obviously by grace of modern chemicals. They weren't trying to pass as blond-- it appeared to be just a fashion statement to have the top of their hair yellow.

But these women didn't stop there. Each and every female singer for the hour we stayed had had rhinoplasty. To add injury to insult, each was also completely devoid of curves (almost as much as they were devoid of clothes).The singers were as much of a fusion of cultures as was their music.

As we were leaving, my wife said that she would much rather see real women with real curves with real noses. "Besides," she said, "I'd rather see some good belly dancing that this pop music." I agree.

But in Japan, women are getting their noses enlarged. They complain that they don't like the way their sunglasses slip off there nose. Now that is the best reason I've heard of for surgery.

When cultures collide, the fusion becomes quite interesting. Just take the musical tradition from New Orleans… that was made, in part, from different cultures rubbing trumpets next to each other. But I'm not sure I want each of the cultures to loose their traditions, either.

Sure, if the next generation doesn't keep the traditions, then the traditions will stagnate and die. I suppose that many cultural traditions are doomed for the museums (how many thousands of cultures are already extinct?).

I guess it is inevitable that as we fuse our music, our cultures, our beliefs, we will also fuse the way we look… the most outward expression of our heritage.

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