He put on some sunscreen and inspected his face. From the side, he really did resemble Giovanni Borsa, like two peas in a pod, but from the front he clearly had a different jawline, cheekbones and nose. That bothered him. On his online dating profile, he only used pictures showing his face from a perfect angle. He also used a fake name: Giovanni. It was his little trick to make women think he was the famous model. And often, it worked. Most of the time he told them straight away that he wasn’t that Giovanni.
Still, it gave him a little head start and worked as a nice conversation opener. His phone beeped. Another match! Nathalie, female model. Gorgeous! She messaged him: “Giovanni, is that really you?” He smiled. Maybe he should make the resemblance perfect.
“Choose your favourite celebrity’s nose”
Later that morning, at the office, he could not resist the thought and looked up the beauty clinic where he had his hair replacement therapy and eyelid correction four years ago. They would surely have new techniques by now. The clinic’s slick website said: “Have your dream face, choose your favourite celebrity’s nose.” The website showed how people could have the same nose as their favourite singer or actress. 3D print technology could create a bone implant with perfect precision – much better than the old-fashioned rhinoplasty that François had undergone years ago. The clinic claimed to have the best data, with the most precise data sets on celebrities all around the world. They not only printed nose implants but also cheekbones and jawlines. François got very excited. Would they have data on Giovanni Borsa too?
Although some of the pictures of the nose replacement procedure looked scary, François knew that he had to go through with it. It took only three clicks on the website to make an appointment. Within a week, François found himself at the fancy clinic. An attractive doctor explained the process. There was nothing to be scared of. Basically, it was like any other plastic surgery. The only new bit was that they would print the cartilage for his nose and jawbone during the operation, in a shape that would make the perfect nose for him – the nose of Giovanni Borsa. And they would use a scanner to determine the exact location of his facial nerves and veins so that the nose fit perfectly. “You must understand that this is not for everyone,” she continued. “Here is an overview of the costs. Prices depend on the number of implants needed for the best result. And we need you to take the psychological test.” François wasn’t bothered about the test, but the price tag made him swallow and hesitate. “Alright, I’ll do it. I have to do it. I need this,” he convinced himself. After all, he had done well on the stock market and expected a nice bonus. A month later, he would undergo the procedure. He would spend a week recovering in the clinic. “We’ll treat you well,” the doctor promised him with a smile.
“That much money for a nose?”
And they did! The week in the clinic was almost like being in a holiday resort, although he felt pretty awful the first few days with his face all swollen. On the first day, they had taken very precise measurements of his facial bone structures and matched these with the data on Giovanni Borsa’s facial features. To reduce the swelling and improve the result, they had even given him a 3D printed facial mask to wear most days. He hadn’t felt so undatable in a long time. With a big bottle of painkillers tucked into his bag, François was ready to go home. He had to take off for another week to recover. His face was still a little bit swollen, but the doctor told him the swelling would slowly subside and his bruises fade.
Two months later, François was on another first date. Eva and he had really hit it off and they lingered in the café. He told her more than he’d intended about his recent upgrade. “What!” Eva exclaimed. “You totally tricked me!” She was obviously upset. “I didn’t know they could do that.” She gave him a strange look. “Why would anyone want to do this? Why would you want to put so much money into this?”
An hour before, she had told him about her mum and dad. They were both very ill. Her dad had skin cancer and her mum had colon cancer. For years she had put all her hope into the new treatments that the doctors were promising. They always said that they would soon be able to grow new intestines in the lab and cure her mother. But it never happened. The research on 3D printed body parts had stalled, they told her. And now François was saying that they could actually print noses and faces, just for fun!