You hear some brilliant conversations on the train sometimes (and also some really, really dull ones, but that’s a whole other post). My particular favourite will always be the couple having a late-night ‘discussion’ about the boyfriend’s tattoo, which was in a somewhat intimate area, and the fact that he’d been showing it to all his girlfriend’s workmates. Understandably, she was not best pleased.
But then sometimes you hear stuff that you’d rather not. Quick disclaimer: on the very slim chance that the people who were having the following conversation are reading this post, let me say up front that I’m not having a go at you, and of course I realise that your words weren’t aimed at me. I wasn’t even supposed to be listening, obviously, but it was a very quiet train and, to be fair, you were talking quite loudly.
I wasn’t originally eavesdropping; I was quite happily reading my book, but my attention was caught when the girl sitting behind me started telling her boyfriend that one of her friends needs a nose job, because at the moment, ‘her nose ruins her face’.
Let’s not dwell on whether or not this is an appropriate thing to say about your friend, because I don’t know these people, and really it’s none of my business. For all I know she’d had the same conversation with her friend and everyone was in complete agreement. But anyone who knows me in real life will understand why overhearing this bothered me, and why I found myself instinctively turning my head away from them and suddenly becoming very interested in the passing scenery.
Like most people, there are things about my appearance that I’m not entirely happy about. My boobs are too small, my bum’s too big, my hair’s too frizzy and my skin’s too pale. But there’s one thing I’ve always been particularly sensitive about, and that’s my nose.
Apparently I inherited my nose from my grandad (and yet it somehow skipped my dad and my sisters, which hardly seems fair). And I hate it; it’s too big, it’s got a massive bump in it, and yes – I have often felt – and said – that it ‘ruins my face’. I learnt a long time ago to always face cameras head on, and to immediately destroy any photos that were accidentally taken from the side (hence why I don’t have a picture to include with this post that shows it in all its magnificence. Or at least not one I’m willing to share in public). And my nose is always the first thing to get smothered in sun cream when I’m on holiday, because the last thing I want is for it to burn and attract even more unwanted attention.
Now just to be clear, nobody’s ever said anything mean about my nose (although I did once test a guy I was dating by mentioning it, to which he responded, ‘Did you break it?’… we didn’t last long after that). As in so many areas of my life, I’m my own harshest critic, and I’m the one who’s decided there’s a problem. My friends and family have told me plenty of times that it’s not that bad – and of course I don’t believe them, but that’s not their fault.
I’ve even said more than once that if I were going to get plastic surgery of any kind, my nose would be the thing I’d get fixed. But I know the chances of me actually going through with it are almost non-existent. Not because I think I’ll grow to love my nose – 33 years is too long to break the habit of a lifetime – but because, at the end of the day, it’s my nose, and my face, and to be honest, I worry a bit that if I did get it fixed, I wouldn’t look, or feel, like me any more.
Also, I can’t afford it. But mostly the face thing.
I’ll say it again: I don’t know anything about the girl who was being discussed on the train. For all I know, she really wants a nose job, and if she gets it and it makes her happy then that’s great, I’m pleased for her. But I do wonder if her friend had considered that maybe her ugly, bumpy nose (yep, I know it looks like that, because I heard it described in great detail) doesn’t ruin her face at all, but is what makes it unique.
I don’t really know what my point is with this post – I’m not trying to tell anyone that they should or shouldn’t get plastic surgery, and I’m definitely not judging anyone who’s had a nose job. I’m not even trying to make some grand point about accepting yourself just the way you are (although obviously I believe that’s important). And I’m not looking for reassurance for myself, either – as we’ve established, if anyone says anything nice about my nose, I don’t believe it anyway.
Maybe I just want someone reading this who’s got the same sort of insecurities to know that they’re not the only one.
Or maybe all I’m really saying is, be careful what you talk about on a quiet train, because you never know who’s listening, and what kind of nerve you might be hitting. Although by all means feel free to keep discussing overenthusiastic tattoo displays, because that’s good fun for everyone.