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Keeping It Casual - Dating After Breast Cancer

13/03/2016 20:16 GMT | Updated 14/03/2017 09:12 GMT

all women everywhere

Don't tell my Mum but I have had casual sex, not recently but I have done it. And don't get me wrong (for any potential suitors out there) I have put my all into these encounters, there was nothing casual in terms of effort. It would be true to say that many of my longer term relationships, including my marriage, kicked off with what was only intended to be a casual skirmish between the sheets.

So now that I find myself single, the wrong side of 50 and in possession of just one tit I am understandably anxious about future encounters. Can anyone tell me when is the best time for the big one tit reveal?

And so it is under these circumstances that I am enjoying coffee with a male friend discussing my fear of the future dearth of relationships. Fear that I may die a born again virgin, that my life will be so devoid of knicker action there will be cobwebs and spiders lurking in my gusset. 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. I know for a fact that the friend I am discussing this with now is happily married to a woman who, before the pair of them embarked on a life together, was a repeat recipient of the booty call and good luck to them. And so, here we are again facing the miracle of my disease. Post cancer, not only have I become a "brave and beautiful survivor" my life will be transformed by meaningful encounters with the opposite sex. I am so angry at the hypocrisy of these points of view that I tell my friend where to stick his ill-informed optimism and with some choice swear words abandon my coffee and storm out of the café.

My reaction might be unfair, I know he means well. Just as do the messages of hope from my online support groups. 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.

Imagine if you will, you have one tit and you find yourself on a date and it's going well. Perhaps you're having dinner and there's a sparkle in his eye and you're eating off his fork. You might have had a little too much to drink and his keys are on the table as he laughs at all your jokes. The mood is light, a little flirtatious, anything could happen. Do you stop the action right here - drop the cancer bomb and tell him you only have one boob? Maybe that's too soon, so instead you let him drive you home, invite him in for a coffee. Now assuming he hasn't made any early lunges and realised you have one boob (courtesy of a stick on prosthesis) considerably and unnaturally firmer than the other, he settles on your sofa as you boil the kettle. It's Friday night, he says he has no work in the morning, it's a long drive home....is the time ripe now for the cancer bomb? The longer you leave it the harder it gets. What if, in the heat of the moment, you leave it far too late and before you know it undergarments are being removed and fingers are exploring your lady parts. Forgive me for my cynicism here but I'm not convinced that should I find myself in this situation it's my personality that will see me through the shock of the uniboob reveal. What if, God forbid, the sight of my scar poured icy water on a passion that up to that point seemed immense. And so it seems that I am forever destined to bring cancer into the conversation at the earliest opportunity to avoid potential pre-coital alarm and erectile dysfunction. And yet, I am currently at a loss to know how to keep the topic as light and flirtatious as early encounters demand.

At this stage I have no answers. I am looking for them. I am as yet unsure of how I will meet new men. As "brave and beautiful" as my cancer is deemed to have made me I am conscious of the lack of eligible men of my age looking for women of their own age to date. I am loathe to reduce the probabilities by throwing in a minor disfigurement. If I were to venture online in my search does that mean I have to disclose my boob status in my dating profile for fear of charges of mis-selling? - seems like a potential passion killer to me.

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.

Answers on a postcard please.

HuffPost UK is running a month-long project in March called All Women Everywhere, providing a platform to reflect the diverse mix of female experience and voices in Britain today. Through blogs, features and video, we'll be exploring the issues facing women specific to their age, ethnicity, social status, sexuality and gender identity. If you'd like to blog on our platform around these topics, email ukblogteam@huffingtonpost.com with a summary of who you are and what you'd like to blog about