that? ‘Why didn’t you just go to a Big Dresses For Big Ladies Emporium?’ you ask. Because I shouldn’t need a special shop — I’m not a fat freak! I wanted something with a bit of a designer edge, that made a fashion statement. But the only statement most of those clothes made to me was: ‘You’re too big for top clobber, so bug off to the elasticated-waistband shop.’
I read a magazine article recently in which a fashion journalist explained that catwalk models have to be thin so fashion buyers can visualise what the clothes will look like on hangers in the shopping for clothes, ever.’ It’s true. She relies on old stuff that fits and doesn’t worry about being ‘ fashion forward’ because other bits and bobs like rearing children, cooking, earning a living, chatting, loving and generally being a human being take priority.
I think my upset was compounded by a meeting I’d had a few days before. With the reconstruction surgeon. Finally, it came around — I’m on the waiting list and some time next year I’ll be having the op. And then the follow-up op… We had a nice chat, then he needed to examine the scar. So I slipped off the straps and flopped down my bra. Weighted down one side with the bulky prosthesis, it hung off my not-toned torso, while he felt along the flat, puckered wound that used to be my left breast. I nattered away, pretending it didn’t matter, but I found it all excruciatingly embarrassing.
Then he needed to see my stomach, where the tissue for the new breast is going to come from. To assess whether there is enough, he sits in front of you, you lean forward from the waist to bunch your belly flesh, and he grabs hold of your tum with his two hands, figuring out the volume. Don’t know the technical name for the examination, but it could be called the Humiliation Deluxe. After that, he squashes around your belly button and tells you that that’s where they’ll harvest the tissue from, and you look down at your body and try to see it as he sees it — a medical specimen — and then he says, ‘Any questions?’ And the first one that pops into your mind is ‘Do you think I’m attractive? I’m having my doubts...’ You don’t ask.
Anyway, the dress was for a magazine photo shoot. I rolled on my Spanx underneath, paid a fortune to get my hair and make-up done beforehand and borrowed a funky jacket from The Design Centre in Powerscourt Townhouse...
Ah look, you do what you can, and for the rest — pass the Jaffa Cakes.