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

News
people Biographer says cinema’s enduring sex symbol led a secret troubled life
News
newsGlobal index has ranked the quality of life for OAPs - but the UK didn't even make it into the top 10
News
people

Kirstie Allsopp has waded into the female fertility debate again

News
In 2006, Pluto was reclassified as a 'dwarf planet'
scienceBut will it be reinstated?
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
News
people
News
Researchers say a diet of fatty foods could impede smell abilities
scienceMeasuring the sense may predict a person's lifespan
Sport
footballArsenal 4 Galatasaray 1: Wenger celebrates 18th anniversary in style
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
Gillian Anderson was paid less than her male co-star David Duchovny for three years while she was in the The X-Files until she protested and was given the same salary
people

Gillian Anderson lays into gender disparity in Hollywood

Life and Style
Laid bare: the Good2Go app ensures people have a chance to make their intentions clear about having sex
techCould Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Burr remains the baker to beat on the Great British Bake Off
tvRichard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
Life and Style
fashionThe Secret Angels all take home huge sums - but who earns the most?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Amazon has added a cautionary warning to Tom and Jerry cartoons on its streaming service
tv
News
The village was originally named Llansanffraid-ym-Mechain after the Celtic female Saint Brigit, but the name was changed 150 years ago to Llansantffraid – a decision which suggests the incorrect gender of the saint
newsA Welsh town has changed its name - and a prize if you can notice how
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

    KS1 and KS2 Primary NQT Job in Lancaster Area

    £85 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Randstad Education is urgently...

    DT Teacher - Resistant Materials

    £33000 - £34000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: Technology Teacher (Resis...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission, 1st yr OTE £30-£40k : SThree:...

    Middleware Support Analyst

    £45000 - £50000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

    Day In a Page

    Italian couples fake UK divorce scam on an ‘industrial scale’

    Welcome to Maidenhead, the divorce capital of... Italy

    A look at the the legal tourists who exploited our liberal dissolution rules
    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    Tom and Jerry cartoons now carry a 'racial prejudice' warning on Amazon

    The vintage series has often been criticised for racial stereotyping
    An app for the amorous: Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?

    An app for the amorous

    Could Good2Go end disputes about sexual consent - without being a passion-killer?
    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid. Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?

    Llansanffraid is now Llansantffraid

    Welsh town changes its name, but can you spot the difference?
    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    Charlotte Riley: At the peak of her powers

    After a few early missteps with Chekhov, her acting career has taken her to Hollywood. Next up is a role in the BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’
    She's having a laugh: Britain's female comedians have never had it so good

    She's having a laugh

    Britain's female comedians have never had it so good, says stand-up Natalie Haynes
    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LED lights designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows

    Let there be light

    Sistine Chapel to ‘sing’ with new LEDs designed to bring Michelangelo’s masterpiece out of the shadows
    Great British Bake Off, semi-final, review: Richard remains the baker to beat

    Tensions rise in Bake Off's pastry week

    Richard remains the baker to beat as Chetna begins to flake
    Paris Fashion Week, spring/summer 2015: Time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris

    A look to the future

    It's time travel fashion at Louis Vuitton in Paris
    The 10 best bedspreads

    The 10 best bedspreads

    Before you up the tog count on your duvet, add an extra layer and a room-changing piece to your bed this autumn
    Arsenal vs Galatasaray: Five things we learnt from the Emirates

    Arsenal vs Galatasaray

    Five things we learnt from the Gunners' Champions League victory at the Emirates
    Stuart Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    Lancaster’s long-term deal makes sense – a rarity for a decision taken by the RFU

    This deal gives England a head-start to prepare for 2019 World Cup, says Chris Hewett
    Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

    The children orphaned by Ebola...

    ... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
    Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    Are censors pandering to homophobia?

    US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
    The magic of roundabouts

    Lords of the rings

    Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?