I have a big, ugly nose.
It is the kind of nose that got in the way of first kisses, in some cases as a physical obstacle and in others in terms of them happening at all.
It’s a big old honker of a thing, the inspiration for boys to call me Nosey, a living monument to once saved teenage waitressing tips for that one-day nose job. Surgery. Rhinoplasty for this… elephantiasis.
It’s the kind of nose that used to stop me from panning a room using my neck, lest anyone should catch a glimpse of my profile. I learnt to pan with my eyes. Sometimes I catch myself still panning with only my eyes, the eyes that used to skim pictures on cinema screens and television sets for a glimpse of someone who might look something like me. I remember seeing a few men with big noses, but am still struggling to think of a similarly endowed screen-boxed woman. Except the one in that Seinfeld episode that is actually about Ugly Noses and Their Jobs. And Barbara Streisand, who before I knew anything of her talent, knew of her nose and how Big and Ugly it was.
Me and my big honker of a nose. The one that has made me Interesting and not Beautiful. The one that made me You Would Be Pretty If…
You might know the kind. I think they sell plastic versions of my nose at costume stores in aisle Witch.
It’s the kind of nose that makes you internalize a sense of your own ugliness, if you are prone to that sort of thing. The kind of nose that may have weaselled itself (because that’s what big noses do) into thoughts of my own inferiority. The kind of nose that makes me think, “Why are you wasting time on this? There is a cosmos of wonder out there and you’re still thinking about the nose on your face. That Big Old Ugly Nose.”
I think we were in Grade 7ish. He called the landline. He just said, “Nosey!” and then hung up. I remember crying and being so embarrassed I didn’t even tell my mom. I told my mom everything. Except about that and the wanting a nose job thing. I didn’t want to tell her I ever wanted a nose job because I was scared she would ever think that she didn’t do a good job in making me, and I would never want her to feel that way.
He called the landline and I answered and he said, “Nosey!” And then he hung up.
The Good Witch Being Nosey
I have a Good Friend in Vancouver, he’s almost five, and we hang out together and go and see things like the MacMillan Space Centre and the Starbucks near his school. At the Starbucks, we watch the baristas foaming milk and working on that coffee pressing machine that makes the ground coffee come out looking like a cake. I sometimes have tea and sometimes have coffee, and he always has a Kiddies’ Hot Chocolate which we call Warm Chocolate because it’s made cooler for kids. Today, after Starbucks, we both cheated at Checkers and then got bored of the game and played something else. I think in the new game we were both on the same team even though there was nobody else there to be on the other team, and the colour of the team we were both on was red and we were called the Ultra-somethings (I forget the name now because I’m an adult and we’re sometimes bad with that kind of thing) and we made these suits out of the sticks and things that we were meant to build a fort with. Then we got bored of that and read a book about a bird called Chirp.
This friend of mine, the one that’s almost five, he told his mom once that I am like the Good Witch in the Wizard of Oz. It was the first time I thought of myself as a witch when it was not nose related. It is a confusing analogy that this friend of mine whose almost five has made, because the Good Witches from the Wizards of Oz that he has seen are all Hollywood creations. And no Hollywood Good Witch would ever have a Big Old Ugly Nose. Only the Bad Witches would have that.
I don’t know why I am the Good Witch, but I know that I want to be. And I want to be the Good Witch with my Big Old Ugly Nose in our Red Team where we’re all on the same side. Because maybe you can be Good and Ugly all at the same time. And maybe you can play games that are not about being on different teams.
I want to be a Good Witch and do things that witches do, like make magic and smash the patriarchy.
I want to be a Good Witch with a Big Old Ugly Nose that looks even bigger when I cackle.
© Deborah Vieyra