“You mean like Gérard Depardieu?” I ask
“Pah!” she exclaims. “His nose is like the tulip bulb. I want the long sharp nose of Mr Geoffrey Rush!”
“A decent actor,” I admit, “but not a big hit with the ladies, as far as I know.”
“For sure he is a hit with this lady!” insists the woman. “And he always acts to such naughty roles – the Marquis de Sade, the Pirate of the
She squeals and pinches my arm, delighted with her own wit.
“Excellent pun, to be sure,” I remark. “Yet what is it about big noses that appeals to you? The prospect of a good nuzzle perhaps? Or does their sniffing potential tickle your fancy?”
“Sniffing and nuzzling is good,” she answers, “but more important is what the big nose suggests about the man.”
She chuckles, giving me a knowing look.
“Indeed?” I reply. “And what might that be?”
This straightforward question prompts the woman to laugh hysterically for a good minute-and-a-half. Heaven knows what she finds so hilarious. The French are famous for their odd sense of humour, of course. A lot of them find Jerry Lewis funny.
“My dear Mr Bananas!” she sighs at length, drying her eyes. “You are big, strong and hairy, but you have hardly any nose! So, alas, I could never be yours.”
“I am sorry to be unworthy of you,” I reply loftily. “I shall endeavour to bear my disappointment lightly.”
I leave her to entertain the other guests with her nasal ruminations.
Maybe what she liked about big-nosed men was their implied personality. A woman might easily develop a fascination for such a fellow after watching him ferreting around, probing beneath the veils of multi-layered mystery. Lieutenant Columbo acquired a huge female following simply by asking awkward questions, even though he dressed like a tramp and was a patsy to his wife. The nosey man might also be more adventurous in bed, delving with his torchlight into regions that less inquisitive lovers would shun. And let’s not forget that many women are fond of cats, who are renowned for their curiosity.
Snooping in the wrong circumstances can be a terribly destructive thing, though. The Nosey Parker has ruined the career of many a promising politician. Does anyone remember Gary Hart, the American senator from somewhere-or-the-other? He was billed as the next John Kennedy, even though he didn’t have a particularly large nose. The same could not be said of Barry Manilow, the shrew-faced songwriter and neighbour of Mr Hart. When he learnt that the senator was taking time off the campaign trail to relax on his yacht, he turned up at the harbour with a box full of signed albums. The assorted dolly birds and party girls on the vessel inevitably broke cover and screamed, as they are wont to do in the presence of famous crooners. The press quickly got wind of the commotion and Mr Hart’s presidential bid exploded in a shower of crotchless panties and push-up bras.
I don’t begrudge Manilow his success and give him his due as a composer of sentimental ballads. I’m sure he has no shortage of female admirers who have fallen head-over-heels in love with his phenomenal snout. But he should curb his inquisitive instincts when they are likely to change the course of American politics.