Mom's New Boobs
A year and a half ago, my 47-year-old mother dropped 20 pounds, bleached her hair and divorced her
husband of 18 years. My sister and I soon found out that these were just the warm-ups for the main attraction. She took us both by the hand, and in her most diplomatic, matriarchal tone said, "Girls, Mommy's come to a decision?she's going to get new boobs."
Now, I have never been to therapy, but no amount of it could have prepared me for that statement. We weren't talking about Pamela Anderson here?this was my white, middle-class, middle-aged mother, who had always worked very hard to be there for her children and instill good moral values. I just stared, mouth wide open, at my petite mother with her French hips and tiny little bust line?annoyed that she was still having body image issues. She looked the best I'd ever seen her.
I piped up with, "Mom, I really don't think a boob job is the answer here."
"But honey," she said, "you have boobs."
I suppose I should mention that my body type is nothing like my mother's. I am pushing the Amazon height limit and have come to love my womanly, voluptuous curves and broad shoulders from my father's family. At this point all I could muster up was a sarcastic, "Yeah, Mom, they came with the ass." We laughed, and I realized that she was going to do exactly what she wanted.
Any kind of task my mother sets out to do is always well-researched and extremely organized, so I did my best to keep a straight face when she told me she had found a doctor in Las Vegas. She found out about this doctor from her manicurist, who everyone knows are the authorities on plastic surgeons. Apparently he was a perfectionist, which instantly earned my mother's respect.
My mother lives about four hours from Las Vegas by car and could drive herself over, but would need to be driven back. And, being the oldest child with the least demanding schedule at the time, I was elected to become the chaperone/chauffeur. I couldn't decide which was more insane, driving to Vegas to enhance my mother's breasts, or driving to Vegas midday in July.
We had to go to the doctor's office before checking into our hotel?as a patient of this clinic you didn't stay in a hospital, they put you up in a hotel right off the strip. What kind of place was this going to be? I was expecting Elvis?fat Elvis?to greet us in the doorway where the lights were so bright it made sense for him to wear those hideous aviator sunglasses. Then a guy in a tux with Wayne Newton's hair would be escorted by two jacked, stacked and smacked showgirls wearing the latest models with different colored tit-tassels for you to choose from as your free "gift with purchase."
Much to my disappointment it was a run-of-the-mill suburban doctor's office, no sequins or spotlights in sight. Although I was reassured when I saw a sign on the door that read No Firearms Allowed.
I began surveying the waiting room to see who might be getting what done, and wondered if they were thinking the same of me. I noticed all of the doctor's credentials hanging in a cluster on the wall, like a plastic surgery collage, and was amused that they were all degrees from Brigham Young University. In the town where I grew up, the Mormon Church was very present, and I had a few friends in my circle whose families chose that faith. What I remembered most were the hormone-filled teenage boys who denied themselves sex until they married?by the age of 20 at the latest. So it made sense to me that a Mormon guy would choose a profession in which he was able to look at a variety of naked female bodies all day.
The waiting room experience was over when a very perky young woman named Jennifer?who was obviously still saving up for her employee discount nose job?brought us back to the examination room. She told us the doctor would be right in, and that my mother should change into the one-size-fits-all piece of paper and lie down on the exam table.
After 20 minutes of me rolling my eyes, shaking my head and my mother telling me to behave myself or go wait outside, the doctor entered. He was tall, lanky and silent, and, like most doctors, barely had a clue as to why this woman was in his office. He scanned my mother's chart. "...So, Grace, you're here for a breast augmentation." Then he began his examining, poking and prodding my mother's breasts and nipples. "Well, you don't have any droop?as in, your nipples aren't pointing to the ground." I knew I was a mature adult, but never thought I would have to live through the experience of a man analyzing the state of my mother's nipples.
He asked her to stand up against a blue backdrop and pulled out a Polaroid camera. All I could think was how easily this could turn into one of those spam messages in my AOL mailbox: Before and After Boobies! Every Shape and Size: click here! Whenever I'm a little nervous or uncomfortable I have a tendency to crack jokes, so I shared my thoughts with the group. This did not amuse the doctor. I decided to keep quiet in the corner.
After the photo shoot, he handed Jennifer a folder, then looked at my mother and said, "I'll be right back, but while I'm gone I'd like you to take a look through this and get an idea of the shape and size you would like your breasts to be."
I thought "this" would be a catalog of medical photographs of women who'd had this type of surgery.
It was porn. Playboy, Penthouse, all your standards. Yet another scenario where my therapy would have failed me. I personally have no problems with pornography, but was not exactly thrilled about looking at it with my mother. In fact, the words mother and pornography shouldn't even be in the same sentence.
She finally made her breast selection. So what if they just happened to be attached to a platinum blonde wearing a dog collar and straddling a treasure chest? Jennifer agreed with my mother on her new set of C's and explained how to fill out the paperwork so that she would be sure to get the 25-year warrantee on her new boobs. I couldn't decide if?nor did I want to know why?this was a good or bad thing.
The doctor, who had really begun to irritate me, returned with a few saline implants and apparently a sense of humor, because as he looked at me he said, "Here, catch," and there was a saline breast flying through the air at my face. I was so mortified that all I could focus on was how badly I wanted to run out of there screaming. A few minutes later I politely excused myself to seek comfort in a Diet Coke, and called my sister to tell her how much she owed me for this.
My mother's surgery was a success. I had to listen to an anesthesiologist, four nurses and the doctor tell me how perfect her boobs looked. I couldn't believe this was my life.
My mom and "the girls," as she so adoringly refers to them, are getting along just fine now. I'm amazed at how natural they look, although there are times when I think, God those things are huge. I told her the next time she feels a midlife crisis coming on to get a Porsche and a 25-year-old boyfriend?you know, something I can play with.
Seniors Claim Their Street Space
Lifelines in the neighborhood Op-Ed
Seniors Claim Their Street Space
Lifelines in the neighborhood Op-Ed
Standoff continues over Seaport plan
The Jazz Ambassador of the West Side