You are my face

I’m getting plastic surgery tomorrow, cosmetic surgery. It’s finally happened — I’m Korean.

I have a cyst on my left jaw that I’ve had for probably eight years or so. I actually don’t know when it showed up. One day it was just there. It’s about the size of a quarter, radially, and is raised into a small mound. Visually, it’s not very attractive. But what’s bugged me more about it is that it occasionally it gives off a strange, faint smell. Other than that it’s completely benign.

Still, it’s something of a source of personal pride. It’s my anti-vanity badge, my strange little quirk, and a kind of interpersonal gatekeeper. I figured that if people (ahem, girls) could look beyond it and not be turned off then that person’s okay in my book. People in the US hardly ever mentioned it. An ex of mine affectionately called it my “button,” which I thought was cute. But that was about it.

Here in Korea, everyone mentions it. What is that thing on your face? In the past two years I must have been asked this a dozen times at least. It’s not only Koreans, but foreigners too. One Korean girl said to me, and this is a direct quote: “You’d be really handsome if you didn’t have that thing on your face.” Two colleague-friends of mine mentioned it as something they physically don’t like about me (we were playing a game of ‘what do you like/dislike about the other person’). One of them told me it’s a distraction when he’s talking to me. He said he can’t stop staring at it. Yet another friend suggested a doctor she knows who can remove it. And on and on like this.

So I give up. I’m having it removed. I’m in Korea, the land of plastic surgery, so why not? I say this with a rather large feeling of embarrassment. It seems silly and trivial, and being the stubborn person I am, I don’t like the feeling that I’m giving in to pressure. But I’m doing it anyway.

The operation is simple, with local anesthetic and a 2 cm incision. Then they go in and dig all the shit out and clean up the mess. But I’m still a little nervous. There’s always a chance something can go wrong. It can get infected, and if they don’t do a thorough job it can reappear worse than before. (I was told there’s a 20-30% chance of this.) And in my nightmarish imagination I envision they’ll accidentally cut a nerve and I’ll wind up looking like The Joker or suddenly have my ear permanently magnetized to my clavicle.

Chances are, overwhelmingly, that everything will go fine. I’m having it done at Samsung Hospital in Seoul. The dermatologist is my friend’s cousin. He is apparently a personal doctor for the Samsung family. So I assume he knows his shit. Actually, he’s not doing the surgery, but he met with me first and recommended my surgeon. His assistant told me he does 400 of these operations a year. It’ll all be over tomorrow. With luck, the only difference will be that I’m a prettier man because of it.


5 Responses to “You are my face”

  1. I thought Thailand was the land of plastic surgery! It’s funny, here too, people will blatantly point out all your physical imperfections or call you fat or whatever. It’s like people have no qualms with that in Asia…

    Anyways, not to worry it’s not like you’re getting your nose done or something purely aesthetic, people get cysts and other dermatological stuff removed all the time. I never noticed it actually.

    And besides, if it goes bad, it’d be awesome to look like the Joker!

  2. You are not your face. You are beautiful.

  3. alexinsouthkorea Says:

    I hope you’ll post before and after photos! Good luck tomorrow, I hope everything goes well.

  4. I don’t have any before photos, but I had the nurse take a picture of the ugly beast after they took it out. I’ll post when I can download pics to my laptop. Looks like I have to stay in Seoul 3 days for observation and cleaning.

    Cody… yeah, I get the weight thing all the time. People tell me I’m fat. But they’ll also tell me I look skinny.


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