The mission Sometimes you just have to face it, says Maggie O'Farrell, beauty is more than skin-deep

have a nose. A big one. It has a bump in the middle which polite people describe as "aquiline" or "Roman" and rude people as "ski jump". But it has, with the passing of adolescence and the growth of much hair, long since ceased to be an issue. So when I am asked to go on a foray into the world of cosmetic surgery, I agree, partly because I am full of scorn for the self-interested, self-mutilating industry (I, for one, intend to reach the end of my life as 100 per cent biodegradable), and partly because I'm curious as to what cure they will offer for my particular protrusion.

"So," the doctor says manfully, as if he's about to impart news of a fatal disease, "your nose." I smile and nod. He turns my face this way and that, running his fingertip over the bump. "Yes," he murmurs, "yes, I see." "What do you see?" I ask, but he doesn't answer, just bends the cartilage at the end to the left and then to the right. "Hmm," he says, and tuts in the manner of a decorator examining some dodgy plasterwork.

With one buttock balancing on the edge of his leather-topped desk, he pronounces, "The problem with your nose is multiple." I stop smiling. "Multiple?" I squeak. I haven't felt like this since someone called me Beaky at primary school. "Yes," he replies, "there's the bump, of course, but then there's the uneven swelling on the left- hand side." He holds a mirror up to my horrified-looking face and I peer into it. Uneven swelling? And I'd never noticed? "Not to mention the groove at the base of your nose," he continues calmly, as if discussing the weather, "And the way it pulls up your top lip."

Within seconds we are sitting together at a computer screen with two identical images of my profile. I look particularly nasty in both - my skin saggy and strangely grey, my hair resembling the wood-shavings gerbils nest in. He waves a kind of on-screen wand at the right-hand image and the bump in my nose is gone. "We'd shave the bone off here ... I stop listening because I am momentarily distracted by a poster advertising breast implants. Emblazoned across the middle of the picture of a woman with daisies balanced on her nipples is the odd claim: "These implants are so safe you could eat them!"

When my attention returns to the doctor, he is still droning, "... entering via four incisions made through the nostrils, chipping away at the bone and then the cartilage with an instrument a bit like a chisel and then ... " On the screen is me. Or someone that looks a bit like me, except with a beautifully even, modelled nose and a pert, pouty upper lip. Next to it is a kind of rejected prototype, an uglier twin. "I could, if you wanted, slip a little collagen into your lips," he is saying, "Might help. Only if you wanted to go the whole hog." I do not, at this point, appreciate the suilline reference.

And the cost? The doctor, it seems, is unable to discuss such matters, and I have to see an "administrator" - a man in a pin-striped suit with barely discernable eyes. He comes into the room, glances at my computer image, says "nice", then mutters about "rhinoplasty" before coming up with the grand total of pounds 2,950. I stare at him, glance back at my new computerised profile and have a wild moment where I rehearse telling my editor I'm filing an expenses claim for three grand. Then I grin at him with my foreshortened top lip and my unevenly swollen nose. "I'll think about it," I say

Sport
premier leagueLive: All the latest news and scores from today's matches
News
politics
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Maths Teacher

    £110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

    Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

    £40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    ***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

    £30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    ***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

    £35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

    Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

    Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

    Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

    The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

    Paul Scholes column

    I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

    While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
    Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

    Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker