Beauty and the beak

Philippine women turn to nasal inserts for longer, "whiter" noses.

Published January 27, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

Jan. 27, 2000

In America, girls and women with enormous noses often get their beaks
trimmed to a desirable dimension at a plastic surgeon's office, where
rhinoplasty condenses a ponderous proboscis into a dainty snout, like
Jody Foster's. Small is beautiful in Caucasian countries; nobody spends
their cash here on enlarging their nasal peninsula.

Olfactory organ angst is the reverse in the Philippines, where
indigenous sniffers are generally flat, short and wide. Filipinas
crave longer, pointier noses, according to the Philippine magazine Businessworld. And now, a torturous device has been invented to aid them in their Pinocchio ambitions. Nasal inserts! An enhancement gizmo called the Cleopatra is
getting crammed into the nostril cavities of the archipelago's women. The
bullet-shaped contraption is tweezed into both orifices of a pug nose and
then spring-released. The resulting pressure propels a small bump into
an elegant, articulated, Sigourney Weaveresque peak. Each Cleopatra kit is
equipped with three different sizes that enable beaks to be jacked upwards
from 3 to 13 millimeters.

The Cleopatra won't create sinus infections because it's coated with
silicone, and its black hue renders it invisible in the shadowy depths of
one's schnoz. But are the pushy props comfortable? Or do they obsess the
wearer with a manic desire to snort, sneeze and finger them out? Are they
secure? Will a romantic date be killed when a Cleopatra blasts into a
dinner salad, leaving the nose of the beloved lop-sided?

Advertisements on Manilas local television depict stretch-nosed Filipinas cavorting
romantically with handsome men, while sad flat-nosed women wander by in
abject solitude. A voice-over advises, "Get Cleopatra. Perfect for
pictures, dates, job interviews. Bring back the confidence in your life."
It's tragic that commerce and infatuation with Hollywood actresses has
coalesced to erode Filipina self-esteem, but at least the nasal-lifter is only 3,980 pesos ($98), a petite fraction of plastic surgery's

By Hank Hyena

Hank Hyena is a former columnist for SF Gate, and a frequent contributor to Salon.

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