Savage Love

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 because I can't get over this. 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, um, 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 instantly 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 exact same 23-year-old club kid 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 that your love for the wife would trump your weirded-out feelings and you would come to appreciate the wife's boyish new body. Or her boy-with-large-zigzag-scar-running-across-her-chestish new body. One might also hope that 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 breast implants for your sake. Because although it's her body—and it is, it is—you also have a stake in it. Sometimes, you know, literally. Anyway…

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 for couples at an impasse—compromise—just 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 and/or tried it. So, like, I'm really 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, I realize, but I'm afraid it's the best advice you're going to get today. Thank you for playing Savage Love, IMHB, and 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 and have seen those jackets around for the past decade—where did you get that? Did you go to Queen's? Or are you just 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 hyperreligiosity 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."

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