A Nose Dive for Nose Jobs
As standards of beauty shift, rhinoplasty—once a rite of passage for Jewish teens—declines in popularity
Salzhauer produced a music video called “Jewcan Sam”—a reference to Froot Loops cereal’s large-beaked Toucan Sam. The young man is played by Doug Staiman, lead singer of the Groggers, a self-described “Jewish pop, punk band with a comic twist” based in New York. In the video, the band sings: “She says, ‘You’ve got a beak like Jewcan Sam. I only go with guys with perfect upturned noses … I will love you till forever if you get your nose circumcised.’ ” Staiman’s character does get the operation—although he still doesn’t get the girl, because she then tells him that she only dates football players.
In exchange for making the video, Salzhauer offered rhinoplasty to all four Groggers, all men, but only Staiman took him up on it.
Salzhauer, or “Dr. Schnoz,” as the Miami Herald calls him, has expanded his offer of free nose jobs to include cash-strapped Orthodox singles referred by their local matchmaker.
The fact that Salzhauer is getting any takers reflects changing attitudes about such procedures in the Orthodox community. In the past, said Baltimore plastic surgeon Papel, among the Orthodox, “cosmetic surgery was a no-no. Now you have the rabbis saying, ‘No, it’s OK if it will help your self-esteem, if it will help you get a spouse.’ ” While more secular Jews tend to come to him for eyelid lifts, chin implants, and Botox injections, his Orthodox patients mainly want nose jobs, Papel says.
So far, Salzhauer has operated on one “Operation Chuppah” patient and has three more scheduled. Although press coverage of Salzhauer’s rhinoplasty “scholarships” made it sound like only women were eligible, one of those first four recipients is a man—the same proportion of male to female rhinoplasty patients nationwide. “It’s a universal problem,” Salzhauer says of the impact noses can have on self-confidence. While rhinoplasty has fallen dramatically overall, though, the gender gap has widened: From 2000 to 2011, nose jobs dropped 59 percent among men but only 24 percent among women, according to the plastic surgeons’ society.
Women and men, Jews as well as gentiles who say people think they’re Jewish, have emailed Salzhauer in search of free nose jobs, he says. Even if they meet all his other criteria, he notes, “there’s a bunch where I’ve said, ‘You’re beautiful, and you don’t need rhinoplasty.’ ”
Konner is philosophical about the matter: “You have this done because you want to be more beautiful, but who sets the standard on what beauty is?”
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