15 February 2016

Perfect, with a Hint Of Coral

The doctor who was assigned to give me my areola tattoos was standing in front of me with a tube of coral coloured paste, and she was scowling. At least I think it was a she. It was hard to tell what was going on under the shapeless XL lab coat, and the lack of makeup made it even trickier. Was this seriously the person responsible for giving me pretty boobs?

‘Its pink,’ she (he?) growled at me, holding the tube under my face. I politely said that I saw it more as coral. In fact I knew it was coral because I’d had time to examine the whole tray of tubes as I sat in the examining room for 90 minutes waiting, and the word coral was printed right on the side. The colour had a distinct cheapness to it, and reminded me of all the slutty girls in high school who thought that coral lip gloss would look classy with their Farrah Fawcett bangs and faded Jordache jeans. Besides, I’d already decided I wasn’t going to use it. So, I politely requested to have a sample smeared on my hand, so we could examine it together. ‘ Pink,’ she declared. ‘No. Coral,’ I said.

Memories of High School. Ick.
Three times I asked her to alter the colour. With her large back to me, she squeezed the little tubes into a paper cup, stirred it, and dabbed it on my hand to show me the results. Three times she showed my something form slutsville, circa 1978. When I was disproving of even the last try, she began to lose patience. ‘What is wrong with this one?’ she demanded.  I shook my head, ‘I don’t like it’. She, who had probably never worn make-up in her entire life, squished her skinny lips into a thin white line. ‘Why not ?!’

I sat up on the examining table and pulled my gown around me. I wanted to tell her to fuck off. But experience had taught that expressing displeasure gets me nowhere, and I’d have to be more articulate. I cleared my throat. ‘Look,’ I said. ‘I haven’t had a lot of choice in the last four years about my body or my reconstruction. But with this procedure and I do have choice, so I really want to get it right.’ I sensed some softening, and suspected that under all the flesh, there might actually be a woman. Or at least, a person with a little bit of empathy. So we mixed the colours one more time, and came up with something pink and quite pretty.

The rest was a piece of cake. The colour was brushed on each breast with a Q-tip. I lay down, and Dr Manwoman jabbed me with a couple of needles, in order to freeze my already numb breasts. And then she came at me with something that looked (and sounded) like a Russian prototype for the electric toothbrush. It was all stainless steel, and it was loud. This was my least favorite part of the procedure, but the doctor seemed to enjoy it. I swear,  she was almost smiling.

Last week the bandages came off. I stared at myself in the mirror for quite a long time enjoying the finishing touches of reconstruction. My boobs, after 30 months, looked almost perfect. And by ‘almost perfect’ I mean slightly lopsided, somewhat scarred, totally healthy, asymmetric mounds of skin stuffed with fat from my stomach and topped with hand made nipples recently painted a dainty shade of pink that when, I toss my bangs like Charlie’s Angels, and the light hits them a certain way, have just the slightest hint of coral.