I am still in top surgery purgatory. Purgatory implies hope and patience. Donna is slowly reconciling herself to my having surgery. I’m trying not to pressure her because I don’t want to sabotage her efforts to come around to it on her own.
I’ve tried to take a break from thinking about top surgery, but I can’t. I’ve got the money, I’ve got a doctor, but I don’t want to proceed until Donna says she can handle it, or is willing to try. She mentioned the end of the year. I mentally put the Prosecco on ice.
Meanwhile, nipples are on my mind. I am obsessed with chests. I chest gazed while on vacation. Italian men take more care with their appearance than American men do. They wear their dress shirts, T-shirts, and polo shirts tighter. They show more. I’m not attracted to men, but the Italian men are very attractive.
I’m used to having a flat chest from wearing a binder, but it is an undefined and schlumpy chest. I’ve thought that I will look the same (dressed) after top surgery as I do wearing a binder, but that is not true. I will look similar. Less up top, a more noticeable midriff. I accept that I will never have David’s chest and abdomen. I will have a middle-aged jelly belly. My nipples could show through my T-shirts. I could end up with moobs.
Some guys wear undershirts to keep their shirts clean and to absorb sweat. It also smooths out the chest. I’ve tried to make sure that my button-down shirts are loose, opaque, and thick enough not to show a bra or binder. Until now, I’ve never given much thought to what I’d wear under them if I got top surgery. Or how I would feel going out in a T-shirt, with nothing on underneath.
It is acceptable for men’s nipples to bump out of a shirt, but it is a no-no for women’s. Bra’s cover and de-emphasize nipples. Sports bra and swimsuit descriptions are full of text reassuring the buyer that there is no show through. Even when it is cold. If you are “perky” there are products you can buy to cover your nipples. NipGuards are marketed for men; they reduce chafing while running, but are also used for nipple camouflage for men who are self-conscious.
Dr Weiss tries to keep the nipple attached (pedicle preservation) during double incision surgery, as an alternative to nipple grafts. His goal is a natural looking chest with full sensation. My goal is to be free of my breasts.
Will I be self-conscious if my nipples are visible? I’m butch, I’m used to breaking fashion rules. I’m not self conscious about having hairy legs and armpits. I justify not shaving by claiming that body hair is natural. Shaving is barbaric; a way to make women buy razors and depilatories. The truth is that I don’t shave my body because it is something girls do.
I won’t have a pithy explanation for why I am getting top surgery. I am going to have to tell the truth. I don’t like my breasts, they never felt like they belonged on me, and I hope I will feel more comfortable in my own body without them.
Note: For anyone who wants detailed information on top surgery, Neutrois Nonsense has several excellent detailed posts on choosing a surgeon, types of surgery, preparation and recovery. Gentleman’s Gazette has a good history of undershirts, and some discussion of the pro’s and con’s of wearing one.