“Immortal Appendages” by Clelia Furlan

I was looking at my face in the mirror this morning and discovered something I immediately disliked. My nose has got two creases at the sides, where it abruptly transitions into cheek(s); this spot, due to how close the nose-skin and cheek-skin are, is quite red and tends to develop pimples. It’s mildly disgusting, and it adds to a fairly sizeable list of grievances I have accumulated against my nose over the years (which all, in one way or another, revolve around it being too big and lumpy).

But while I was compulsively (and uselessly, because thirty seconds of smoothness are not going to compensate for twenty years of creases) pulling the two pieces of skin apart with my hands, I remembered something my friend Isabella C (not to be confused with Isabella D, who hates her nose) said a while ago. It was something like “big family noses don’t get enough love”. She’s right, of course: our obsession with tiny, straight noses (especially in women) is a paradigmatic instance of useless conformity and blinds us to what makes us special and to our history. I thought about my parents, neither of whom sports a particularly dainty nose but both of whom have always been (slightly ironically, but with a hint of fundamental sincerity) proud of their “important” appendages (their adjective). And I thought about my ancestors, whose protuberances I inherited, and who were probably often too busy and/or not bombarded by such pervasive beauty standards to care about the creases in their noses. I thought about how sometimes you can find your nose in the portrait of a great-great-etc grandfather from 150 years ago; and in the end I thought, really, why should I care so much about aesthetics? When on the other plate is eternity.


Originally from Gorizia in North-eastern Italy, Clelia Furlan moved to the U.K. to study Philosophy at Cambridge and later at Warwick. She now works in the culture and heritage sector, is training as a live arts producer, and writes bits and bobs in her spare time. She’s currently based in Coventry. WEBSITE: http://www.cavgr.com | SOCIAL MEDIA: @cavgr_ on Twitter and Instagram

Photo by Joseph Greve.

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