The Day I Almost Lost My Nipples (or: I Know Why the Caged Nipple Cries)

Sometimes, I’m really amazed at my genius. Sometimes, I have to stand back in wonder at the things I come up with. And then sometimes, I look back on my choices and can only mutter a disillusioned What the hell… before rolling my eyes and fixing them on the front page of reddit for a few hours.

The day I almost lost my nipples started out normally enough, but the disaster in store for me had been kicked off days before. Let me explain…

First and foremost, a secret. Well, a secret of which most people who know me in real life are privy. I do not wear bras. Ever. I gave them up about two years ago. Having given them a real chance to prove themselves (about 16 years), they always ended up in the “Things I wish were never invented and that make me resent my life” category. So one day, I had finally had enough. And off they came for good. Now, I feel like I must say something here. I’m not braless in a 50-year-old, stare-inducing way. It’s not even noticeable that my boobs are uncaged. Most of the time.

See, because of my braless, free-boob state of being, I have encountered a new problem. Nipplage. Any sheer blouse or thin shirt will do the trick. My nipples will become a public thermometer for the entire world to see, and it can be rather embarrassing.

So I turned to the little stick-on nipple covers that department stores sell. And they worked beautifully. They were a breeze to use and completely comfortable. That is, until I took them off. And that’s when my sensitive, angel-soft skin reared its ugly head and broke out in an itchy rash that lasted for a week. Have you ever had the incessant need to scratch your boobs in public? If you haven’t, let me tell you — it freaking sucks. My nips stayed covered in Benadryl and Cortaid for days, creating a sticky, gooey mess and not much relief.

It was the adhesive. It had to be. So now what? And then it occurred to me — the medical aisle! If I found something in the medical aisle, perhaps the adhesive would be gentler. Safer. More accommodating of someone with the skin of a fetus. The choice was pretty obvious, too. Dot Bandaids.

Dot Bandaids have always made me sad. Dot Bandaids are like cranberry dish of the Bandaid Christmas dinner. They’re a staple, so you have to have ’em, but nobody really wants ’em. They sit there in the mixed box of Bandaid sizes and watch as every other Bandaid imaginable is chosen over them (even the super giant Bandaids for serious wounds that should probably send you to the ER, but screw it, that costs too much).

So I felt rather commendable when I came up with a job just for Dot Bandaids. Dot Bandaids, I thought, you shall serve a purpose higher than box-filler! So that night, I went to Walmart and bought an entire box of Dot Bandaids. Not a mix. All Dots.

The next morning, I got ready for work as usual. Shower, hair, a little makeup. But this time, when it came time to choose an outfit, I threw caution to the wind and picked out a thin, cotton shirt. I had backup this time. I peeled the backing off my two little Dots and centered them on my boobs. Press and stick on the left. Press and stick on the right. Done. On the shirt went and, lo and behold, no nipplage!

At work that day, I whispered my clever solution to my co-worker Amber. I had regaled her of my nipple issues before (and she’d probably caught me scratching my boobs during the week after the nipple covers). I was proud that I’d found a solution.

“I hope they don’t do something weird,” she said. “Like melt into your nipples or something.”

“Ha!” I laughed her off. “I seriously doubt a medical-grade Bandaid would do that.”

Things were fine most of the day, but by evening, my poor boobs had started to itch. Badly. By the time I got to my evening class, they were driving me nuts. When my professor turned on a documentary, I seized the opportunity the dark classroom afforded me. I reached up into my shirt to pull off the Dots. But they were stuck. The damn Dots were stuck. I finally wedged a fingernail between the sticky plastic circles and my baby-soft areolas and pulled. Ahh. Relief.

I walked through my front door about two hours later and, like always, went straight into the bathroom for a shower. I took off my glasses and peeled off my shirt, and that’s when I saw them. My nipples. My poor, sad nipples. I put my glasses back on to make sure my eyesight wasn’t making it seem worse than it was. But no, it was that bad. The left one had two blood-crusted cuts in it and looked like it could be a Dexter victim. The right one was worse. It had bloody cuts, too. But in addition, it sported a half-inch blister, making it look like a Freddy Krueger double.

I couldn’t believe it. Those damn Dot Bandaids, who I’d given a chance that others hadn’t, had actually melted into my freaking nipples. How does that even chemically happen? Why is there not a warning on the box?

Suffice it to say, the next week was spent with Neosporin-laden nips and cotton undershirts worn under everything. I have still yet to find a solution to my nipplage.

Oh, and if anyone needs an almost-full box of Dot Bandaids, lemme know.