I love breasts. I’ve sent flowers, written sonnets, sat through horrible Broadway musicals and flown to foreign countries just to be in the same room with them. I like big breasts, small breasts, really small breasts and, every once in a while, really big breasts. In fact, the only type of breasts I don’t like, no matter how good they look in tight sweaters, are fake ones.
My maiden voyage into the dark, choppy sea of silicone came seven years ago. I was a fairly innocent twenty-eight year old Big Firm associate who had just moved to Los Angeles and began dating, of all things, an actress (whose career consisted of one guest spot on Young & the Restless, two commercials and a one-night stand with Charlie Sheen).
After two dates, each of which involved her talking incessantly about her career and me staring at her unusually round, perky breasts, I asked her to go away for the weekend. I thought a change of scenery might prompt her to ask a question or, at a minimum, take her clothes off. All I cared about was the latter.
So we drove to Carmel. Although she never did find out where I was born, she did manage to disrobe. To this day, the sight of her naked body ranks as one of the most curious moments in my life. Her breasts looked so perfect that, for the first time since I was fourteen, I was baffled by the mere sight of them. I didn’t know whether to run out the door or ask her to marry me. I did neither. Instead, I just stared at her and tried not to do anything stupid, which isn’t that easy when you’re staring at a naked woman with two enormous, perfectly shaped soccer balls protruding from her otherwise skinny chest.
And while I stared at Paulette, she stared at me staring at her. It was as if she were waiting for me to compliment her on some miraculous achievement. Like she had just won the Nobel Peace Prize or something. It then occurred to me that I might be in breach of some secret, breast implant protocol. Was I supposed to acknowledge that I knew they were fake? Heap praise on her surgeon for a job well done? Tell her I actually prefer implants?
To address the issue seemed much too risky. So, like a weak, horny man shelling out $500 a night for a hotel room, I took the path of least resistance, which means I kept my mouth shut, smiled and pretended her breasts were a gift from God rather than some Hollywood agent. Thankfully, my blank, confused smile didn’t scare her too much. Then again, I’m sure she’d seen that smile before.
As we began to kiss, I remember thinking that somehow my life was headed in the wrong direction. I don’t know why, but I felt like I was doing something wrong. Like I was stealing a chicken burrito from the local 7-Eleven. Luckily, guilt gave way to arousal. But it wasn’t a natural, normal sexual excitement. It was more “this is a little off, so I’m excited about it” type thing—like the type of sensation a man might feel if he were about to have sex with an unusually voluptuous midget.
After the weekend, we decided never to see each other again. She was apparently offended when I told her that, with the exception of Platoon, I found Mr. Sheen’s acting a bit wooden. And after Paulette, I vowed I would never again date actresses, women with fake breasts or anyone who’s dated Charlie Sheen.
For six straight years, I was able to adhere to those rules. But last year I met Julia, an attractive, intelligent and compassionate fellow lawyer, who also happened to have breast implants. She wasn’t an actress. Never slept with Charlie Sheen (although she did once go to a dinner party at Emilio Estevez’s house). So I figured why not? I mean, who cares about implants anyway? It’s tough enough to find an interesting, intelligent and kind woman. Why needlessly eliminate someone because she had a simple outpatient surgical procedure? I’ve dated women with nose jobs before, so what’s the big deal?
Julia and I were together for five months. The official reason for our breakup was my fear of intimacy. But the unofficial reason was Julia’s implants. I was wrong. A boob job is much different than a nose job. It just is. For starters, guys don’t ogle nostrils.
The first and most obvious issue with implants is that they’re artificial. No matter how gifted the surgeon, they still look and feel unnatural. From what I was told, Julia’s breasts were the latest and greatest modern technology had to offer. (Think iPhone 3G versus the original car phone.) Nonetheless, they still felt more like vinyl cantaloupes than natural, human appendages.
If you think about it, breast implants are nothing but fungible consumer products. They’re laptop computers, stereos, toothpaste. Anyone with $14,000 can buy Julia’s exact breasts—which means that any man dating a woman who purchased Julia’s model can, in some abstract, transitive way, feel Julia’s breasts whenever he wants. Thinking about that late at night can drive you crazy.
Julia’s breasts began to hinder our sex life, which is somewhat ironic given that she probably purchased them so men would find her sexier, although she claimed she did it so she would look better in clothes. Sure. And I suppose men get penile implants to look better in jeans. Whatever her intentions, the net effect was that every time we had sex, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that her breasts were fake; that she actually went to a doctor’s office and said, “Make my tits bigger, Doc.” The truth is, it’s sort of eerie to have sex with someone whose most obvious sexual body part is artificial.
After a while, I couldn’t even look at her breasts any more. Every time she took her shirt off, it was like a lunar eclipse. I just shut my eyes (as though I might go blind if I caught a glimpse of them) and conjured up images of former girlfriends with small, sagging, oddly shaped breasts.
But ultimately, I suppose the biggest problem with Julia’s implants was me. Her breasts made me feel self-conscious. Every time we were out, I felt that everyone in the room was quietly ridiculing her. I would picture some jackass in a Barney’s sport coat standing across the room, checking her out, sipping Patrón. He would smile smugly to his chubby, porn-fanatic friend and say, “Check out the chick in the black sweater with the fake rack, man. Bet she’s good to go.” (I believe psychologists call this projection.) And just like that, my sweet, sensitive, loving girlfriend with an NYU J.D. would be reduced to a promiscuous lap dancer.
Sometimes I felt like making an announcement to the crowd: “Ladies and gentleman, my girlfriend’s name is Julia, and, yes, her breasts are fake. But you should know that she is a great person; unusually kind and compassionate; that we didn’t have sex until our ninth date; that I was only the fifth man she’s ever slept with; that she’s active in various charities…”
The bottom line is that Julia’s breasts changed everything. They made Julia feel better about herself but made me feel worse. They helped her self esteem but diluted mine.
Unfortunately, no matter how witty or interesting or successful Julia was, she was still, on some level, a “chick with fake tits.” It’s not fair, but that’s how I felt. I just couldn’t get beyond it. I thought about them too much, and I thought that other people thought about them too much. Like vicious, unrelenting termites, they nibbled away at my psyche and, ultimately, the foundation of our relationship. I wanted to get close to her heart, but I just couldn’t. I guess there was just too much either silicone or saline surrounding it.
I often wonder if I’d still be with Julia if she had natural breasts. I like to think the answer is yes, but the sad truth is, I wouldn’t have asked her out in the first place.