Warning: this blog post is likely to upset those females who have told me that my nose is just fine the way it is. I'm looking at you, devoted ThisLandIsThailand blog reader Rachel George!
A few weeks ago I mentioned to my one-time Thai tutor Surat that I was interested in getting a nose job while in Thailand. I asked her (since she is a Thai person) if she knew of any good, cheap clinics where I could go. [Note: This isn't offensive. Thai people in America used to ask me where they could find a quality diamond salesman all the time.] I said that I didn't want to go to one of those super-expensive hospitals where the other Farang go--I wanted the discount price. She apologized that, since she was from hundreds of miles South of Chiang Mai, she wasn't aware of any local rhinoplasty shops.
"You should ask [our friend] Netty though," she said. "Because he is friends with a lot of ladyboys."
(And to think that eight months ago this response would have seemed totally, totally incoherent. And yet now--oh, of course, because ladyboys require a lot of cheap plastic surgery to feminize their various masculine facial and physical features. Sure, I'll ask Netty, he who knows the Ladyboys.)
For weeks I had forgotten to ask Netty if he could ask his Ladyboy pals (pals? Is that okay?) to recommend a face butcher. And then today, I ran into Netty at school, and before I could even say Hello, he skipped up to me and touched me on the nose with his pointer finger.
"I heard you want to get a nose job!" he said.
If you were at PiA Orientation (and really, who would miss such an invaluable and hilarious weekend?), then you probably heard that what we do in our Asian communities will resound through the neighborhoods, from laundry lady to laundry lady, until everyone in the town knows of all of our exploits. Why, I remember one night, about a month after I arrived in Chiang Mai, I went to my local 7-11 to pick up some toilet paper. I bought a six-pack, paid the cashier, and started the three-minute walk home. It was hot out, and I had become thirsty, so I decided to turn around and head back to the 7-11 for a Big Gulp.
By the time I returned, I realized just what kind of impact my actions and purchases could have on this community. In just over two minutes, the 7-11 had demolished and rebuilt as a Toilet Paper Specialty Store, with a giant toilet paper statuary built atop the edifice, and special offers on the specific brand of toilet paper I had just purchased. It was a humbling, humbling moment, the kind of educational experience that really reminds a Fellow of the kind of impression he makes on a local peoples.
Anyway, Netty had heard from Surat that I wanted to get a nose job. He had asked around and found a clinic not far from my apartment. It was run by "Hill people." The cost: about 30,000 Baht ($900ish). A Farang friend had gone there and was very happy with the results.
"But why do you want to change your nose?" he asked, again touching the pale, hairy Nerf football that sits in the center of my face. "It looks good!"
I didn't really have a summary response, so I just said that I didn't like my nose. FYI: I don't like the Nazis, either. Well, okay, that's not fair: the Nazis have never caused me a lifetime of crippling social anxiety and laughably low self-confidence.
"Whose nose do you want to have?" he asked.
"I don't know," I said. What was the name of that midget in The Station Agent? "Maybe [our friend] Charles' nose."
"Charles!" he laughed. "Nooooo!! You want Brad Pitt's nose!"
I hope that's how it works. You might remember that, for the first several haircuts I received, I was handed a menu which consisted of pictures of different Famous White People and told to point to the one whose haircut I most wanted. Would it be the same at the rhinoplasty place?
"I'll take the Jake Gyllenhaal, but I want the nostrils of George Clooney. Can you do that?"
I will keep you updated on this thrilling news (noose) as the situation develops.
Mom, I am looking forward to reading your eight-page email about how great an idea this is and how you will gladly pay for the whole thing.
Ex-girlfriends and girl friends, I am looking forward to your horror at the very idea that I would get a nose job in Thailand and how I will be a different person if I get a new nose and how please please don't do it it just won't be the same.
Male friends, I am looking forward to hearing about how gay I am for getting a nose job.
Let the great experiment--BEGIN!