Body

How it feels to date after a mastectomy

Dating on the ‘wrong side of 50’ can be scary enough. But throw into that the scars of mastectomy, and you’ve got the makings of an extremely apprehensive woman.

By Ellie Hooper
Dating can be scary - especially when cancer is involved
Penny Rutterford is 53-years-old and a divorcee. Not only this, but she is also a cancer survivor, having had a mastectomy to rid her of breast cancer in 2014.
And as she seeks romance and companionship in her new life, she is documenting the trials and tribulations of being a ‘uniboob’ on the dating scene.
In her brutally honest blog, Penny reveals exactly what it’s like to meet someone new and try to tell them you’ve had a mastectomy (without totally screwing it up in the process.)
“Can anyone tell me when is the best time for the big one tit reveal?” Penny writes.
“I imagine like many 50 something newly single women before me the prospect of meeting someone new and revealing my body to him makes me anxious. I can now add to this fear a concern about whether the uniboob reveal might leave a man recoiling in horror.
“My friend, like most others that I ask, deems it necessary to reassure me that once a man falls in love with me he will accept my incomplete body. But there’s the rub. My life, like that of many of my acquaintance does not, and has not, led me into situations where love blooms prior to any acts of intimacy.”
With amazing humour and honesty, Penny talks about the disbelief she feels at the idea someone will fall in love with her personality, and therefore love her ‘incomplete’ body.
“They gush about how any man worth his salt will love me for “who I am”. Well it’s been a struggle to find men of a compatible age who were bowled over by my personality when I had two tits, let alone one. But why does nobody talk about this?”
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As Penny describes what she imagines should happen in her new dating life, she says she feels forced to bring cancer into the conversation, “to avoid potential pre-coital alarm and erectile dysfunction.”
She signs off: “And please don’t tell me that boobs don’t matter. They do. Shallow as it is, my boobs made me feel sexy and feminine. Now they, or more accurately it, don’t.”
Read Penny’s full blog post here
Have you been affected by breast cancer? We’d like to hear your story. Email hellowomensweekly@bauermedia.co.nz to chat to us.