Monday, November 24, 2008

People Have Their Noses Bobbed For Love

In case you hadn't noticed, a lot of things bug me. I think I'm going to sound like a broken record on this theme, but I want to talk a bit about being right with yourself. Several months ago, a very dear (guy) friend of mine asked me what was wrong with him that needed fixing in order to be more successful in dating.

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Let's back up a second. Before I had my nose done, my roommate told one of her colleagues that I was having it done. "Why?" he asked. "She doesn't have any trouble getting guys."

Sigh...If that was all there was to it, EVERYone would have their nose done. Before anyone goes running off getting plastic surgery to improve their love life, let me tell you that I'm not setting the world on fire, unless you mean in a Norse mythology sort of way. I'm loathe, as I've told you, to discuss my dating life via blog, but there's a reason I hang out with my exes so often. I'm not asked out all that often and when I am, 98% of the time, he turns out to be a misfit toy or a svengali.

Folks, if you feel bad about rejection in the normal course of human relationships, the last thing you want is to have thousands of dollars of cosmetic surgery, work your butt off to lose a few pounds, and then get dumped or played. If you think that, all of a sudden, George Clooney is going to ask you out, you're going to be disappointed. The guy you've had a debilitating crush on? Well, there's a very good chance he still won't fall in love with you. I have dark nights of the soul where I'm convinced that I'm hideously unattractive and that I'm going to end up alone, with the clocks stopped at twenty of nine and one shoe on.

So, what I'm telling you is, if you're going to have plastic surgery, don't be surprised if you wake up and find out that you're still the same person you were before the surgery and that other people treat you exactly the same as they did before. If, all of a sudden, you have the world on a string after you're healed, that's a nice bonus, but it's not likely.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ask a Rhinoplasty Patient, Part IV

Ok, don't get too excited here, what with ANOTHER blog post, and so soon. I felt rather chipper and literary, so thought I'd write for you all. These things can't be forced, you know. I must feel inspired...Oh, let's face it: I'm a pretty lazy person with a short attention span, and I'm running out of things to write about within the realm of rhinoplasty. Many people have asked me to write on other topics and, well, maybe I will. I've been throwing around the idea of either a curmudgeonly advice column or a Jen's Misadventures in Dating sort of blog, but well, even though I go out on some pretty unfathomable dates with some socially inept cretins, they're still socially inept cretins with feelings and, in my more sympathetic moments, I'd feel bad if they read about themselves in my blog.

Moving on to today's question:

Dear Rhinoplasty Patient,
Are your scars healed now?


Ok, before I answer this, Chris has known me for a long time. How long, exactly? (Apologies to Chris, but these are the hazards of asking The Rhinoplasty Patient).

Here we are at my senior prom. You're probably thinking, jeez, Jen, there's a lounge singer in DuPont who wants his dress back. My only defense is, it was 1996. I'd rather not discuss my hair or makeup or posture, which are awful for any time period.

Anyhow, why do I bring this up? I don't see Chris much these days, and I think he was worried that I was going to come out a gorgon, but was very kind with his encouragement nonetheless. I think folks who have known you a long time become very concerned that you'll look different from how they remember you. Chris actually asked this question way back in May, and has seen my photos since then through the magic of Facebook, and he approves.

Dear Chris,

After the first couple of weeks, and really only then because of the swelling and black eyes, a nose job patient will look completely normal even though they're still pretty banged-up on the inside.

When you have a nose job, you either have an "open" or a "closed" procedure. An open procedure is when the surgeon cuts the skin right under your nostrils and peels it back and works on your nose and then stitches you back up in the same spot. This is, understandably, more traumatic. I think open procedures are a bit more rare these days, but even when you have an open, you're given salves and whatnot so that you're not going to have a scar when all is said and done.

I had the closed procedure. During a closed rhinoplasty, the surgeon goes into your nostrils and cuts away at the bone, sight unseen, but because plastic surgeons are typically the best surgeons, period, this is okay. He can tell what your nose is going to look like because your skin will drape over the bone and he can pretty much see the end result before you swell up like a Macy's Day Parade balloon. All of the stitches are inside of your nose, sewn with dissolvable stitches (which are really very interesting and maybe a topic for another day). Once the swelling goes down and the black eyes go away, no one can tell you had surgery by looking at you.

Anyhow, to close, I went around telling everyone that I was going to do a six-month anniversary blog post. Clearly, that didn't happen. I DID actually take some six-month anniversary photos, posted here. I would take some eight-month anniversary ones, but, well, I don't look any different, and it's after 9 p.m. while I'm writing this, and my makeup doesn't look so fresh.

So first, here's me in one of my photo studios a/k/a the bedroom, complete with unmade bed, trying to figure out the lighting.

Then I took this one, which I rather like and I call my Great Expectations shot because it's Green top, green eyes, green earrings and sort of a sepia mist over the whole thing. The Great Expectations reference because the director of the 1998 movie version is this guy who has a thing with green. Go ahead and rent it, or just take my word for it.

Here are the more familiar front and side shots, once I stopped messing around being arty with the lighting. It has a scoop to it!

Monday, November 17, 2008

I Get That a Lot

"This doesn't look like you."

"I get that a lot."

So it's been eight whole months since my nose job and about eight years since my last blog post, it seems. And my car hit 39,000 miles, so it's birthdays all around.

As I wrote in my last blog post, back when Shelbyville was called Morganville, and it was the style to tie an onion on your belt, and nickles had bumblebees on them, I have a lot of problems with my driver's license. I've been asked for other forms of ID at bars, my friend Roger told me I looked like a 40-year old divorcee, and, well, I get a lot of hairy eyeballs and snickers. My driver's license is up at the end of the year, so I went ahead and got a new one on my lunch break. In case you're in awe of this feat, I'll tell you that the Virginia DMV is extremely efficient and I was out the door in less than a half-hour, and I only wanted to stab one person in the eyeball, and she was a customer.

"I need to renew my license, but I absolutely have to get this picture retaken, " I told the guy at desk #4 when my number was called (in less than three minutes). He looked at it and gave me the "Hmmmm...." you get when someone is trying to be diplomatic and not ask you if you stole your driver's license from someone in a rehab clinic or possibly a fat farm.

The photo-taking guy (a different guy) called my name, looked at my license, looked at me, and said, "this doesn't look like you." My new one popped up on the screen, "Ahhh, very nice photo," which I'm sure he tells all the girls. He was very kind in dealing with my vanity, taking two photos because my hair was messed up in the first one.

So I anticipate no further interrogations on the driver's license front; though this one will be valid until I'm 38, at which point, I could look like a hausfrau, for all I know.

That business aside, I'll bet you're wondering how my nose is doing! Or else you're bored at work and are amused by my babble. The nose is great aside from a few things. For one, it runs a lot. Especially in cold weather, like everyone's does, but I use a lot of tissues. Do you ever feel your nose running, and it's not such an opportune time to get out a tissue? And you hope the person you're talking to can't see that your nose is running? That's a daily occurrence for me. So I'm hoping that stops sometime soon.

My nose is still a little stiff, though you can move it around a bit now--I can still freak people out a little by telling them, "Touch my nose!" and people ALWAYS take me up on that offer, as opposed to the "Pull my finger" offer or the "This tastes awful--try it!" offer that one commonly receives. First you get the look--did she really just ask me to touch her nose? She'll LET me touch her nose? Should I? OK, I'm pretty curious. Next, the hesitant jab towards my face. Then, the look of wonderment that, indeed, my nose IS stiff as a board.

Finally, sunglasses continue to hurt. It's not awful, just uncomfortable. The bridge of my nose just feels bony and fragile and I haven't gotten used to that yet, and I'm not sure I will.

"So are you happy?" I get that a lot, too. Yes! I'm thrilled and I'm only sorry I didn't have it done sooner.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Achtung! Papers, Bitte!

So here's another post-rhino hazard you might run into.

The last couple of weekends, I've been "down the shore" as we say back home. My friend "Asia" (who is neither asian nor a porn star...that's a funny story for another day) invited me and a bunch of girlfriends down and we ended up at a joint called Seacrets both weekends and another place called Fager's Island on the 4th of July.

Now, being as how I'm from Pennsylvania in a distant suburb of Philadelphia more or less, let's just say that I'm all too familiar with a certain demographic that also migrates down the shore each summer. Sadly, they don't just confine themselves to Seaside Heights. They're liable to show up anywhere along the mid-Atlantic coast en masse in all their tramp-stamped, sculptured facial hair glory since we lack effective border patrol in this country.

Asia has these locals-only passes to get into the clubs without waiting or paying. We passed the Jagerbomb contingent and went to the VIP door and presented passes and ID.

Now, the Rhinoblogger's driver's license is set to expire at the end of the year and it was a seven-year license. This means the photo was taken when I'd just turned 23. I'd just moved to Alexandria after hoboing around Silver Spring, AdMo, Tenleytown, and Fairfax for a few years and decided to make myself official and traded in my PA license.

At the time, I was in this gawdawful relationship--the sort that inspires self-loathing, crippling depression, and a compulsion to listen to too much Morrissey.

I gained a lot of weight because my boyfriend played video games all day (he was unemployed and just cashed checks from daddy), didn't go out, and discouraged me from having friends or an outside life, so why not stuff your face if all you're allowed to do is sit at home and watch television, right? Dark days for your correspondent. As a result, in my driver's license picture, I'm fat. A certified grocery abuser. However, forty pounds down, I'm not all THAT different-looking, plus it was taken at a good angle. The cheeks aren't as chubby, but the smile's the same, and the eyes are the same...of course, the nose is a little different.

Oh, and my hair make me look like I'm auditioning for a blaxploitation film for some reason, so everyone laughs at it when they see it, but still and all, no one's ever thought I was trying to pass off a fake ID in the last six and a half years. Add to this the fact that I'm 29, hurtling towards 30. I have wrinkles and I think I spotted a gray hair the other day. I shouldn't even be carded, but I was asked for a second form of ID! Maybe at 29, I still look better than some of these turbs do at 19, which makes me feel better about the small fortune I've spent on moisturizers, the hours I've spent in torturous yoga positions, and desserts denied. The only other variable is my nose.

The moral of the story is, if you get a nose job, you might want to consider "losing" your driver's license or checking in to see if you can have it retaken or risk feeling like a 16 year old trying to buy a bottle of Boone's with her older sister's license.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Black Eyes and Dead Guys

Back in college, I worked as a temp on the summer breaks. I had some pretty interesting assignments, one of which placed me at a cemetery for most of the summer before my junior year. I learned about the business side of death and burials, and acquired a dark sense of humor about it all. PLEASE STOP READING IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED. Thank you, Mgmt.

My boss was an overweight woman in her 30s who wore long fake fingernails usually painted a garish neon orange. Her hair was caught in scrunchies or hair clips--the kind with a satin bouffant attached. She looked older than her age and her off-the-phone voice was a quick-witted nasal cackle. She smoked cigarettes and drank coffee as though she were an air traffic controller in a past life. She was very kind if you were on her good side; you were at the mercy of her temper if you were not. You would probably dismiss her as poor white trash, and well, you might be half right.

My parents, who know everyone for six counties, knew, or knew of, her family; they were also prominent local business owners. She managed to take up with some guy from the projects, who held her family hostage and kidnapped her (astute readers from "back home" will probably be able to figure out who I'm talking about). This really has nothing to do with anything other than to give you some background color and for me to do some pointless reminiscing about my youth.

So, anyway, my job entailed researching cemetery records...It seems that friends and loved ones would turn up to plant somebody, but there would already be someone taking a dirt nap in that spot, so my job was to go through every contract the cemetery had on record back to the 1920s and determine whether the client was now living in a pine condo in the marble city, if he'd bought any adjacent units for their spouse and progeny, and check whether those folks were resident. And I learned that, in the 20s, death was not the great equalizer. Old cemetery contracts do, in fact, prohibit you from transferring plots to colored folk or members of the Tribe. This is, of course, an unenforceable term of the contract today. I often wondered if there were high-velocity gyrations in the tombs because there were negroes! and Jews! decomposing nearby.

There was this sort of geeky guy who worked in sales at the cemetery. Of course he sold plots--hell, the graveyard practically gave those away--but the real money was in selling caskets and vaults. For instance, they might advertise a buy one-get one free special on plots and perpetual care contracts (yes, I'm being completely serious), but the real goal was to get you in there to pick out the accoutrements of death. One day, I asked about why you had to have a vault. The answer is because bodies drip fluids and you can't have embalming fluid and everything else leeching into the water table. Your skin is actually the first thing to decompose, so your body fluids drain to your underside, out onto that pillow you lay on, down into a drip pan right under that (it's pretty gross...I wouldn't go checking this out at your next wake), and so on.

Now, five paragraphs later, you're probably wondering why I'm telling you all this.

You'll remember that, after my surgery, my eyes were all bruised and puffy. When I came back to the office, a lady I work with told me about how she had jaw surgery and her eyes were bruised as well, and we wondered why it was always the eyes that had bruises.

If you know the answer from what I've told you, congratulations, you're much smarter than I am.

I finally got around to asking Doc about this last week when I was in his office and then I immediately felt stupid. The skin around your eyes is very thin. The blood from an operation has to drain somewhere, so it's going to go where there's the least resistance, so gravity pulls it down from someplace high and slanted, like your nose, and then pools around the relatively empty space around your eyes. The same thing happens when you snuff it--your body fluids, no longer actively pumping around, pool on your underside (which is why dead people are pale).

One last thing about the cemetery before I go: the cemetery would market itself by sending brochures and offers like the buy-one-get-one-free plots to every house on a block where someone had just died with a note saying that if you'd received this notice during a time of grieving, they were deeply sorry for your loss. As a matter of professional courtesy, if you've read this blog post during a time of grieving, I'm very sorry for your loss.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Go Get Yourself Some Cheap Sunglasses

So here's a problem I've never had before.

I wear BIG Jackie/Anna Wintour/Edith Head-type sunglasses. I have since high school. The thing is, I can't find the damned things since the surgery. (BTW, in a little bit of blog continuity, Edith Head designed the costumes for Tippi Hedren in The Birds).

The other day, I was up in town and had some time to kill around lunch, so I ducked into the Filene's Basement to get replacements...I had an idea of what sort of sunglasses I wanted--something different! A complete 180 from what I had before! Although, I secretly want a pair of gigantic Roberto Cavalli's, of the sort favored by WAGs (ask your favorite British person what that means). I guess you could say they're extremely vulgar; I like them a lot.

A $400 pair of sunglasses not in my future, I picked up a frameless style for $9.99, which also had the benefit of being very light on the still-sensitive nose.

Whenever I shopped for sunglasses pre-nose job, I always pondered, "Does my nose look big in these glasses?" much like other people would wonder if their bums looked big in a pair of pants. Hence why I bought enormous sunglasses--to make everything else look smaller. And sunglasses would just sort of rest on my bumpy nose and I never gave it much thought. Freed from the first problem, I never considered the second.

So there I am, at a parking garage at 17th and K, waiting for the valet to bring my car up, leaning against a pillar, reading Pride and Prejudice (if you're not from here, or from a city, and think valet parking must be sort of cool or glamorous...It's not. It takes forever, and then you've got to give the guy a dollar after paying $15 for the privilege of leaving your car in his hands for an hour), trying to look nonchalant--except I'm fiddling with the glasses every 10 seconds. Mr. Collins is SUCH a tool...I wish someone without any manners would tell him to shut up already about Rosings....Oh, there go the sunglasses again, sliding down my nose. Handsome man walks by...sunglasses fly right off my face. He stares at me. Bend the nose-rest things....maybe the sunglasses are crooked now, but there's no mirror handy and I'm right there in front of God and man, fiddling with my wardrobe. Quelle horreur! This is not the soigné ideal I had in mind.

A day later of fiddling, the damned things still won't stay on my face.

Anyhow....these are the daily struggles I go through. Next time, I'm going to write about something that you might actually care about.

Monday, June 9, 2008

A Visit With Doc

One of Doc's nurses stuck me in a surgery room (I think….It had one of those giant lights that fade to dark as someone slowly loses consciousness on a gurney on television) while I waited the half-hour until he could see me for my 3-month appointment. More accurately, it has been 12 weeks since my surgery.

I’m usually in a consultation room where I typically find a copy of New Beauty magazine. Haven’t seen that one at the grocery store checkout? It’s fascinating. The first time I picked it up, I figured it was an ersatz Glamour or Elle—Heidi Klum on the cover, beauty secrets, blah, blah, blah, but this was…something else entirely: a whole magazine dedicated to cosmetic surgery procedures and cosmeceuticals. Botox is written about like other magazines might write about Frederick Fekkai’s latest hair product or summer’s sizzling shades for nails. It’s mesmerizing and horrifying at the same time.

Anyhow, in the surgery room, I had to make do with the June issue of Vogue, which has a stunning spread on fashions inspired by Alfred Hitchcock movies—gloves, people! The model was wearing gloves! I think it’s the only fashion spread I’ve found where I’d wear the outfits. All of them. Joy! My style icon is Tippi Hedren in The Birds. Why wouldn’t she be? I often feel like I’m being pecked to death by crazed birds, and she manages to look elegant throughout.

Doc finally came in, squeezed my nose, and told me to come back in after three months. OK, that’s a gross oversimplification, but my nose is on-schedule. It’s still swollen in the bridge and tip, no surprise there, and the tip will definitely look different when it's all over. I think these visits are scheduled more to placate antsy patients than for any medical reason. If there were anything REALLY wrong, I’d think most people would call. Oh, and I was chided to remember to use sunscreen.

As an aside, do the anti-sun people bug you (No, Jen, we wear sunscreen, eat 5-9 servings of vegetables, and recycle, always)? Well, they bug me, and seems I'm not the only one who thinks they need to lay off. It's one thing if you're out in the baking sun for hours and hours, but I'm thinking of those people who, if you don't have SPF 400 with UVA and UVB blockers in your makeup and moisturizer, slathered on under your clothes while you sit in an office all day, think you're setting yourself up for very localized nuclear annihilation. You know those poor people who were locked up in the basement in Austria for 24 years? They looked older than their ages. And yet, no sun.

As I left Doc's office after my completely routine check up, there was a girl in the waiting room, probably in her late teens, with a splint on her nose. I wanted to go up to her and say, hey, that was me, too, and it’s going to be okay, I promise! You’re through the worst of it! But decided that would be kind of weird and possibly creepy. Who’s this crazy old lady? (Because, face it, when you’re 19, 29 is as old as Methuselah, no matter how much you say 30 is the new 20—and why would you want it to be?) Anyway, I embarrass myself enough with my word vomit even without premeditation, so I decided to keep my rhino-patient empathy to myself.

Oh, I asked Doc about some things about healing that are somewhat interesting--why your eyes get bruised and why your nose is oily after a nose job. Those blogs are on deck.