BREASTS. All women have them. And most seven-year-old boys (and girls) have spent time sniggering whilst simultaneously spelling ‘boobs’ on their calculators in maths class. In our uber sexualised society, there are women who equate the fullness of their breasts with their ability to live life to its fullest. These changes are sub-skin-deep. And when the big man in the sky hasn’t blessed you with the breasts you want, you take to the internet, furiously scrolling through images of the best boobs your money can buy. But is it as simple as that?
It felt weird for being told my physical appearance could be improved, but that I didn’t need it
The stigma of having fake boobs has all but vanished.
We all remember stuffing tennis balls/footballs under our shirts and pretending to be Pamela Anderson, bounding along the Baywatch beach as kids. After the PIP implant scandal, when the cosmetic surgery industry took a battering for not recording what kind of silicone they were using to boost the cups of hundreds of women, it seems we've all forgotten about that massive blunder. Breast augmentations are up 13%, liposuction procedures have increased by 41% and tummy tucks have risen by 16% on last year. Men opt for nose jobs. Women instead look to eliminate their wobble, or make their dream boobs a reality without the need for a Wonderbra.
And it’s not about getting ostentatious pornstar breasts (anymore): more women are instead opting for natural-looking implants. One of my best friends is one such woman. She explained that while always having a 'fuller bum', the boobs her mum promised would arrive in her 20s never came. So at 26, instead of wearing padded bras, she started doing some research. I never knew she even had any kind of complex about her boobs (and we talk about everything in disgusting detail), and within five weeks of confessing her decision to covet new boobs, she had a set of Ds ‘installed’, and they were staring at me through her shirt whilst we drank lattes. They looked amazing. My boob envy was real.
Usually I’m notoriously hard to impress but recently I had been spurred on by her boobs, and started to question whether I wanted to enhance my natural assets. Thanks to a perfect cocktail comprising of a particularly difficult break-up, hours of intense cardio and noticeable weight loss (entirely unintentional), I felt like my boobs weren’t as happy as they were a year ago. So not one to subscribe to the hype without finding out for myself, I contacted the local clinic my best friend had entrusted with her dreams of D-cup grandeur, and arranged a consultation.
They wanted to do a ‘pre-assessment’ over the phone: I presumed it was to make sure I wasn’t an air-head with unrealistic expectations of an impending heiress lifestyle gifted to me through a boob job. They were friendly, asked me why I approached them, how I would finance the new twins, and they then offered me an appointment to come to one of their clinics for a consultation with a surgeon. The lady on the phone was friendly but professional, informative, and non-judgmental. So far, so good.
Once the appointment was booked in, I was wary: it’s not every day you arrange to have a complete stranger touch your boobs and tell you how they can improve your physical appearance. Anyway, a matter of days later, I was at the clinic, scanning the waiting room, playing a game of ‘I spy a pending potential [insert surgical procedure]’. Before I’d made a full body assessment of the woman sat opposite, I was called in.
Dr 'X' invited me to take a seat and made me feel at ease with their A-class small talk, and asked me what size I wanted to be, why I had opted to consider a boob job in the first place, and quizzed me about what my expectations of the procedure were. Then he took a look/feel of my boobs. His hands were cold. I tried some implants in my bra under my dress, and it felt weird. They would be under my skin. Immovable chicken fillets under my human skin. It made me realise that a boob job can’t ever be an extemporaneous decision, a ‘give it a go and see’ casual commitment. I made no promises.
I took the literature, all the financial information, and the doctor’s name and tottered home. I felt weird for being told my physical appearance could be improved, but that I didn’t need it. I put the leaflets in the bottom of my wardrobe and decided to leave them there to gather a healthy layer of dust. That’s not for me.
Whilst it’s not me, it was for my friend. I quizzed her on it. I know her husband (she’s been engaged since the day we met at university), and was intrigued by his reaction to the new and improved boobs.
"He claimed to be indifferent, and didn’t come to my consultation, but he was with me on the day of the surgery and had to look after me quite a bit afterwards," she shared.
For me, the bigger question was how work colleagues would react.
"I told everyone at work beforehand. I work on a male heavy-team, so there was banter about getting the biggest possible size to get ‘value for money’. To be honest, If my bosses thought badly of me, I couldn’t give a flying monkey’s shit."
Cosmetic surgery is an industry worth £3.5 billion, and it’s fed by our insecurities. You could say the cosmetic surgery market is an ugly business, but it’s about being realistic about what changing your physical appearance can really do for you in real-life terms. It’s never just a ‘nip and a tuck’: the pursuit of perfection is never-ending. Likewise, if you know what you want, and you want it for the right reasons, and for yourself, forge ahead. Do your research, ask your friends, read testimonials, check your doctor’s credentials, go to more than one consultation and think long and hard. You own your body, and you own how you feel about it.
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