My wife beat breast cancer five years ago. Went through chemo and radiation and ultimately radical surgery. Brave, lovely and lucky woman she is. But after the procedures, she said she was proud of her post-op look and the zigzag scar across her chest. No new boobs for her. Moi? I don't like going to bed with Peter Pan. We talked about this and she wants to stay scarred and boobless. I respect her wishes. It's her body ... so no plastic surgery. But I get weirded out instead of excited every time I see her nude. Our love life has gone the way of her boobs and I feel as guilty as hell. She will, however, wear boobs when we go to weddings and other functions.
I Miss Her Boobs
I'm thinking the wife misses her boobs too, IMHB, but she's concluded that implants and reconstructive surgery aren't going to bring 'em back, only a potentially uncomfortable, thoroughly inadequate approximation of her boobs. But I can appreciate your frustration. If my boyfriend developed a life-threatening medical condition and getting breast implants was the only way to save his life, I would support him and hold his hand and go bra shopping for him while he recovered. But I would be just as weirded out by his body with boobs as you are by your wife's without.
But that's really neither here nor there -- there are no conditions that breast implants can cure (erectile dysfunction doesn't count) -- and the analogy is totally offensive and I'm probably gonna have to disable my e-mail account for a week. Other offensive analogies spring to mind: How would I feel if my boyfriend's ass imploded? How would I feel if he grew a mustache? How would I feel if his body changed as he aged and after a few decades together he wasn't the same 23-year-old I picked up in that gay bar? But seeing as none of that will ever happen, let's set these hypotheticals aside, shall we?
I'm vamping, IMHB, because there are no easy answers. One might hope your love for the wife would trump your weirded-out feelings and you would come to appreciate the wife's new body. One might also hope your wife's feelings for you might prompt her to see her boobs as something that brought you joy, not just as the part of her body that attempted to kill her, and that she might be willing to get implants for your sake. Because although it's her body -- and it is, it is -- you also have a stake in it.
But you can't get over it and she sees her new body -- and perhaps the victory over death symbolized by those scars -- as more important than your shared sex life. So you're at an impasse and the standard advice -- compromise -- won't cut it. ("Maybe just one implant, honey? The left one was always my favorite.") The only other compromise is so obvious and unsatisfactory -- would she consider wearing her fake breasts to bed every now and then? -- that you've probably already discussed it. So I'm flailing around here. In fact, my flailing was so obvious that a coworker -- a straight guy -- noticed and asked what was up.
"Isn't that why God invented doggy-style?" he said, after I read him your letter. "Just man up and turn her over, dude."
That ain't much, but I'm afraid it's the best advice you're going to get today. Good luck.
I watched a video of your recent appearance on Real Time with Bill Maher and you appeared to be wearing a Queen's University engineering jacket. I was a Queen's med-school student and am now an emergency doctor at the same university. Did you go to Queen's? Or are you showing your loyalty to a country that recognizes your marriage?
Kari At Queen's University
I did not attend Queen's University, KAQU. The jacket was a gift from a friend because ... well, isn't it obvious?
And while we're on the subject of all things Canadian, I said something on Real Time that seems to have upset all those normally placid, easy-going French-speaking Canadians. While discussing the hyper-religiosity of the American electorate, I made this observation: "Australia got the convicts. Canada got the French. We got the Puritans. We're stuck with them."
"I was very pleased to see that you are putting French-Canadians on the same level as the Australian convicts," writes JNR, of Montreal. "As a matter of fact, a few of these convicts came from Quebec, from where they were banished after the 1837–38 riot. But please don't compare us to the Puritans."
For the record: It was a compliment, Quebec. What I meant was that Australia was lucky to get the convicts, Canada was lucky to get the French, while we got stuck with the fucking Puritans and their sex-hating, GOP-voting descendants. In fact, I'll prove how much I love French-speaking Canada by offering English-speaking Canada this deal: The sane people in the United States will happily trade you the Bible Belt for Quebec. We'll take those contentious secessionist headaches off your hands, and all those bilingual street signs, if you'll take the 22 percent of our country that still believes George W. Bush is doing a good job. We get your hot, uncut boys with sexy accents from Montreal; you get our slope-shouldered, slack-jawed yokels from Mississippi. Do we have a deal?
I am sure you've already gotten a million e-mails about Oklahoma state Rep. Sally Kern and her hateful gay-bashing video on YouTube. She's deplorable and other people deserve to know about her hating ways.
"I'm not anti, I'm not gay-bashing," Sally Kern says on her now-infamous audio recording, before she goes on to say that homosexuality is "the biggest threat that our nation has, even more so than terrorism. Or Islam, which I think is a big threat." Nice. Then after exposing early-childhood education for what it is -- a gay plot, dontcha know -- Sally bemoans the fact that "gays are infiltrating city councils ... they are winning elections!" We certainly are, Sally, because infiltrating city councils -- and school boards and state legislatures -- isn't just for right-wing Christian bigots anymore.
Decent folks are understandably angry with Ms. Kern. But instead of sending Sally an angry e-mail -- excuse me, I mean in addition to sending her an angry e-mail (email@example.com) -- make Sally's worst nightmares come true. Patrick Flaherty is running for alderman in Milwaukee, Wis. He's won an eight-way primary and the general election is coming up on April 1. If you're pissed at Sally Kern, help make her worst nightmares come true by sending a campaign contribution to Patrick Flaherty by going to his Web site: www.patricknewleadership.com.