Moles, Warts and All

I was strolling through The Straight Dope (Motto: “Fighting Ignorance Since 1973. It’s taking longer than we thought”) and let me say, if you haven’t been there and you’re looking for yet another Internet Time Waste, you should check it out. There you can learn the answers to questions like: Is it true Coca-Cola once contained cocaine? and Where did Bullwinkle go to college? and What’s up with people who think they’re infested with bugs?

And then there was a question by a poster named Astro who  said there is a really hot girl who works at a coffee shop who has a wart the size of a pencil eraser on her face. He wanted to know why.

“You have this girl who looks like a JV Playboy model with this gross wart right in the crevice where her nose meets her face. Does removing a wart like that leave a scar? Is it painful? Given her looks I'm almost wondering if she's trying to make some sort of statement. Why wouldn't you get a thing like that removed? If she can afford tats surely she can afford to remove a wart.”

Well, let me tell you, Astro, that could have been me. Except for the part about being hot and looking like a JV Playboy model and having tattoos and working at a coffee shop. I, too, had - not a wart - but a mole on my nose.

I don’t know where it came from. I think it may have started out as a freckle and got larger and then started to become 3-D and then it was a small brown bump on the end of my nose.

One day I looked in the mirror, realized it was there and decided I better get rid of it.

My doctor, who was very into removing anything icky from his patients’ skin and having it biopsied, asked me if it had changed.

“I’m assuming, yes, it’s changed over the years, but it happened so slowly I don’t even remember getting it. I know for sure that I didn’t have this on my nose when I was 20 and being asked out on dates.”

He told me I’d have to see a plastic surgeon, because as gung-ho as he was about removing moles, he wouldn’t touch anything on the face. I made an appointment with a plastic surgeon for a consultation. While in the waiting room I flipped through a brochure on rhinoplasty. I had always thought that if I had enough money, I would want a nose job. By the time I got through the tri-fold, I had definitely nixed that idea and was seriously having second thoughts to even having the mole removed.

There were photos in the brochure that showed how they peel back the skin and chisel your nose into a more attractive appendage and it was Dis.  Gus. Ting.

By the time I was called into the plastic surgeon’s office, I was getting cold feet. I asked him if it was going to hurt.

“Oh yes,” he said.

What? Come on, really?

“Oh yes, you won’t feel anything when we remove the mole, but we have to inject anesthetic into your nose.”

Right into my nose? Oh god. And will that hurt?

“Oh, yes, that will hurt.”

OK, goodbye. I left, muttering something about having to check my calendar before I could schedule it.

Good god, couldn’t he have toned it down a bit?

I picked another doctor, hoping to find someone who had figured out a way to give somebody a painless shot in the nose bone.

Is it going to hurt?

“Nooooo. You’re numb! You won’t feel a thing.” He was almost laughing at my question.

Will the shot of anesthetic hurt?

“Nooooooo. Have you ever been to the dentist?”

OK, I know my face is quite unsightly or I wouldn’t be here, but I don’t think my teeth look that bad. OF COURSE I’VE BEEN TO THE DENTIST.

“Have you ever gotten a shot of novocaine? It feels just like that.”

I was liking this guy. I booked my surgery and was actually looking forward to having a regular, smooth, mole-less nose.

Honestly the mole wasn’t that big, but from the minute I arrived at the outpatient surgery center, I was getting the impression that this was a bigger and more painful procedure than the doctor let on.

When he started to put that needle into my nose and I got the first indication of how much it was going to hurt, I was not at all happy with him. He was right in one respect - it was a lot like when the dentist gives you novocaine. The needle goes in, the needle comes partway out, the needle goes back in at another angle, the needle comes partway out, the needle goes in at a ridiculously sharp angle . . . the needle the needle the needle.

It was horrible. But by the time I knew that, it was over. The doctor also failed to mention that I’d have a big black thread of a stitch right on the tip of my nose for about a week. I couldn’t decide what looked worse - the black stitching or a Band-Aid. I tried the latter but I scared the little children at our elementary school, where I was volunteering. I tried to stay home in a dark corner as much as possible.

So Astro, maybe the hot coffee shop girl is smarter than me and knows that if you’re going to get an eraser-sized wart removed from your face, it’s gonna hurt like a mother. Maybe she realizes that getting an armful of tattoos is less painful.

Maybe she is trying to make a statement and that statement is: If you don’t like my wart, too bad, you’re not the one who has to get a needle stuck into your nose.

Post your plastic surgery horror stories here. Or send to ‘em to Diane at

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