Here’s my list of the great things about a double mastectomy:
1. Without a breast to squish, the seat belt politely lies flat from my shoulder to the clasp at my waist.I no longer have choreography, like fishing catch and release, to find a comfortable place over or under the breast to fit the diagonal strap.
2. Likewise, purses rest over my shoulder without the strap dissecting one breast into two mounds, forming new topography of that breast, or one breast rode inches higher than the other, or put the strap over the breast.
3. Forever gone is the need to sit around in a thin gown in a chilly waiting room with other unclad women for the ritual mammography, clamping each breast in turn between cold plates for what seems like eternal tenderizing.
4. Bra fitting deserves its own listing. The fitter scrutinizes and points out your breasts’ asymmetries and imperfections, and then disappears, leaving you naked from the waist up while she fetches bras. In Paris, the fitters are famed for measuring breasts with their hands. Urban myth? I’ll never find out for myself.
5. Never ever again will bra straps slip down to my elbow that I have to reach in and put back on my shoulder. No more strap worry about backless tops or cross the shoulder necklines. There’s one faux pas less on a fashion crime list.
6. Gravity and stretch marks will never be a concern. There’s nothing to droop or sag. My neck may wrinkle, my face slacken, my underarms jiggle, and my thighs turn to cottage cheese, but never will I have to tuck my breasts into my belt to get them out of the way. My breasts live in memory at their perky best.
7. You may have had the experience of playing bouncy with someone you’re not entirely comfy being naked with (and I’m not saying this ever happened to me). In case you’ve done it, you remember being self-conscious when you bounce down and your breasts keep going up, and then reverse the mismatch. Not that I’m admitting to this, but if it ever did happen, I won’t have the embarrassment of me going in one direction and my breasts in another.
8. No matter how chilled I get, or how tight a T-shirt I’m wearing, my nipples will not be tight little pyramid points poking through the fabric. I could have new rainbow coloured nipples tattooed on but even those wouldn’t show what I’m thinking.
9. Flimsy dresses, low in front, cut out in back, and see through are all mine to wear now ‘cause I’ve got nothing that might fall out. I can wear anything now with no fear of wardrobe malfunction revealing anything that might get bleeped out of the photo.
10. The myth of the Amazons who amputated one breast to be better warriors now makes sense. I worked out with weights close to my upper torso and performed a smooth clean and jerk with no obstacles to lift around or over.
This is the first of the reasons I’ve amassed on the joy of living breastlessly. The conflict competence message is – well – maybe there isn’t one and that’s okay too.