I don’t know what it is about the word ‘areola’ that bothers me so much. Though it’s not an awful word, I can feel my mouth tighten at the sound of it (much in the same way I react to words like smegma, and menstruation). Perhaps it was because of my mother’s vocation. She was a nurse, and our dinner conversation was dotted liberally with the proper terminology for bodily parts, and their functions. Oh How I longed to be able to practice a common way of speaking! I wanted to be just like the other kids that talked about about periods, and jizz.
However, there is no slang for areola. If one wants to talk about the pink area surrounding the nipple, one muse use the correct terminology. And one might be able to go through years without ever having to use that word, unless that person happen to have lost her areolas, and is planning on getting reproductions.
I lost them, of course, during the reconstruction. They could save the skin envelope, but the nipples and areolas had to go. Last year the nipples were rebuilt (in an alarmingly swift procedure) and I was told that my last procedure would be the ‘tattoo’ that would replicate the colour and shape of the areolas.
I could have done it months ago, and I don’t know why I kept putting it off. Perhaps it is because I’m a procrastinator. Or perhaps it is because I consider myself rebuilt, and I don’t feel like going back to the hospital. (Ever. For anything). Or perhaps it is because I’ve always hated the word areola, and the longer I avoid the procedure, the longer I can avoid using the world.
But recently I visited my plastic surgeon, who asked how I was enjoying my new breasts and new nipples. ‘I love them!’ I told him enthusiastically.
‘I’m so happy you're happy,’ he said in his gentle Dutch accent. Then, ‘If you love them now, just wait till you get your areolas.’ Maybe it was the accent, or maybe it was his, calm kind manner and his big blue eyes. But whatever it was, he made the word ‘areola’ sound as nonchalant as ‘strawberry’, or ‘bird’.
So I made my date for tattoos. It’s my final procedure. And it’s in 27 days.