No Nose Job For This Asian-American!

I have a typical Asian nose. Hardly a bridge to speak of. As an eyeglass wearer since the age of 10, I despised shopping for new frames each year. Add my high rounded cheeks, I was never able to wear any fun colorful plastic frames. Without nose pads, the frames slide down my nose and rest on my cheeks. Somehow I just ended up with boring old lady wire frames.

My last two years in high school, after begging my mother for months, I convinced her to get my contacts. Thank goodness! About midway through my high school career my mom offered to give me a nose job after graduation. A nose job, as in plastic surgery.

I know it might sound like a strange gift to offer your teenager. Or maybe not. Physical beauty has always been important to my mother. I never felt that this was shallow, but was more a cultural expectation. I imagine that growing up in Vietnam where there are still arranged marriages, a woman’s beauty was a bargaining chip. The more beautiful, the better the marriage proposition. I understood where my mother was coming from.

Every time she brought it up, I told her I was happy with my nose. As much as I hated shopping for eyeglasses, I never wanted to permanently alter my nose.

“No man will marry you with that nose,” she’d retort to my response.

“Well, I’ll marry a man who loves me for who I am!” Bold, confident words for a high school student who believed she was fat (thanks to other conversations with my mother). Thankfully I did fall in love and marry a man who loves me for who I am.

Looking back, I’m very thankful I didn’t cave and take her up on her offer for a more “western” nose. My kids have inherited my bridge-less nose. It’s totally cute and so far it looks like both of them have good eyesight!

I’m back to wearing eyeglasses ever since I had Sophia. Taking care of contacts (and visiting the eye doctor regularly) seemed too much work as a new mother. Back to glasses I went. Thankfully, the eyeglass frame options have expanded since I was in high school. I can get even pick up fuschia or purple hip rectangular frames. Now my eyeglasses have become fun accessories for my cute Asian nose.

This post was inspired by In Stitches, this month’s selection at From Left to Write. Anthony Youn’s memoir In Stitches gives readers a look into the training of a medical doctor who discovers his passion is plastic surgery. As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review. You can read other members posts inspired by In Stitches by Anthony Youn, M.D. on book club day, August 9 at From Left to Write.