In my opinion, there is nothing that says, “Look at my NOSE!” like a glittering gemstone in a pierced nostril.
I see a lot of adorned noses, but I can’t imagine getting one. Not that they are not attractive on the rare individual with flawless skin and a sculpted proboscis, but the Janet’s World Institute for Facial Statistics reports that, for 71.9 percent of us, the nose is not our best feature.
If anything, I might consider getting some other part pierced to divert attention from my nose. But what? I cannot at this point go with the belly-button ring, unless I decide to reveal the topographical relief map of Asia that appeared on my stomach after the birth of my three children. Similarly, a decorative ring on my chin would only declare, “Two-for-one sale!”
But my point about pierced noses is this: even if one’s nose is perfectly proportioned and alarmingly cute, it is not just a feature-spacer like the cheekbones, forehead or chin.
It is command central for our sense of smell, affecting our sense of taste. It facilitates inhaling and exhaling. It’s the part that alerts us to allergy season in Maryland, running from about August until November and March through June. And it’s a facial “mood ring,” warning us to take refuge indoors by turning a mottled gray in the frosty winds and brilliant red in the unrelenting sunshine.
So I think we must respect the nose, and not pierce it on a whim. We must check out the Boston Children’s Hospital Web page “Body Piercing, a Guide for Teens,” so that we can get the willies (http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/body-piercing.html).
Yes, this is one of those Web sites we should pass around to people interested in body piercing so that they can make an informed decision while having the living daylights scared out of them, with its helpful hints about potential HIV transmission and nerve damage resulting in loss of feeling at the piercing site.
But don’t fool yourself that this is going to dissuade the individual on the road to a body piercing, even if accompanied by your reasonable, strident or pleading argument.
Once, one of my son’s friends announced she was getting a tattoo. I immediately launched into a story about how I had recently been standing in line behind a woman at a black-tie event, and how my first impression of her was not of her fabulous gown but of this distracting grayish-blue blur on her shoulder — a faded phoenix tattoo. I offered to pay my son’s friend the cost of the tattoo NOT to get one. All the while, my son was making the frantic “cut” symbol.
“Mom, she’s made up her mind,” he said. “And you are not her parent.”
Well, this has never really deterred me. Recently, my niece asked my opinion on getting her nose pierced, and I managed to overcome my natural shyness to shout, “Don’t do it!”
I’m sorry to reveal the politically incorrect truth — jewelry in the nose, lips, tongue or eyebrows just invites rude staring by people like me. We cannot help it. We are consumed with wondering what would happen if you bent to pick up some shoes in a dark closet, and your eyebrow ring got caught on a hanger? Or if you’ve had to give up cool spices like Old Bay with a pierced tongue? Further, even though it’s disgusting, we want to know if you’ve ever sneezed out your stud?
And all the while, we are not noticing your lovely eyes, your shiny hair, or your beautiful smile. Like in the “Tide to Go” campaign, the noise coming from your facial piercing is — at least initially — overpowering any other message you might like to convey.
So please forgive us NOSE GEM if we appear distracted EYEBROW STUD when we’re talking to you MULTIPLE LIP RINGS. We’re just NOSTRIL BAR a little CARTILAGE BARBELL old-fashioned.