Sorry, But Telling People Their Kids Are Ugly Is Not A Public Service

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shutterstock_143109661I love the people who write to advice columnists with letters like, “So I did something egregious and awful and now people are mad at me. What is wrong with those people?” Rather than admit they are wrong, they try to get someone in a position of authority to say that in fact the other people are wrong, as in the case of this man who told his brother that he should get his 13-year-old daughter plastic surgery, and is now confused about why his brother is ticked off.

The self-important busybody and ultimate authority on feminine beauty wrote in to Carolyn Hax, saying:

My 13-year-old niece is tiny and has a big nose. We live in a community where a lot of teenage girls have cosmetic surgery at 16. I suggested to my brother in private that his daughter may be a candidate for this procedure. (My 19-year-old stepdaughter and my wife have had nose jobs.) My brother was deeply offended and angry over my remark. We are not talking. Was I over the line in making this suggestion in a private setting?

I love the way he keeps specifying that he made the suggestion in private, as though saying, “Hey bro, have you considered fixing your little girl’s busted face?” in private is much better than making the announcement over the dinner table at Thanksgiving.

Well, OK, it is better not to have said it to the girl’s face, but we’re talking about being thankful for some very small blessings here. Plastic surgery is an intensely personal decision, but that means that other people should not be advising it.

You should also definitely not go up to your sibling and suggest that his or her child is ugly and needs to be surgically fixed. Your sibling will just think you are a presumptuous asshole.

The question is especially presumptuous because the niece is 13 years old. Faces aren’t done growing at that point! A 13-year-old with a big nose is not necessarily a 16-year-old or a 25-year-old with a big nose. And what’s wrong with big noses anyway? When did “big nose” become shorthand for “ugly,” anyway? Lots of perfectly beautiful people have prominent noses. We don’t all need blonde hair and little pale buttons with six freckles on top. And even if a person does want blonde hair and a little button nose with six freckles on it, that is that person’s decision.

But seriously, don’t go up to parents and tell them their children need plastic surgery. This guy is lucky that all he got is the silent treatment and a stern dressing-down by Carolyn Hax.

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