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Thursday, May 15, 2008

How To
An Important Message About Breast Health from Antonio Banderas

Mike Richardson-Bryan

Hello. Antonio Banderas, here, with an important message about breast health.

One out of every eight American women will be struck by breast cancer. That makes me, Antonio Banderas, very sad. But there is something you can do to fight this insidious disease. I refer, of course, to breast self-examination. It is a simple procedure that every woman should know. If you do not, allow me to explain how it is done.

Breast self-examination can be done anywhere. But wherever you choose to do it—at home, at work, even in the shower while the hot, soapy water cascades down your taut, arched back—the important thing is to feel comfortable. In fact, why not put on some relaxing music? Perhaps some soothing Spanish guitar, like something I, Antonio Banderas, would have played in Desperado. Incidentally, where I am from, we just call it “guitar.”

Now that you are comfortable, we will begin.

Stand in front of a well-lit mirror and undress. Slowly, now—one button, two buttons, three buttons—yes, that is the way. The socks, too, so that you may enjoy the feel of the bearskin rug between your delicate toes. What is that? Oh, do not worry, for the rug is faux. I, Antonio Banderas, love all living things, especially the furry things. You may enjoy the faux with a clear conscience.

Now comes the examination itself, which is in three parts.

First is the visual inspection. Start with your arms at your sides, then raise them above your head, then lower them back down and place your hands on your hips. While you are doing this, observe your breasts closely—the pale skin, the gentle slopes, the nipples like ripe berries aching to be plucked. (Shall I, Antonio Banderas, pluck them now? No, now is not the time for berry plucking. But who knows what the future holds for us?) Look for anything out of the ordinary, such as changes in size, shape, color, or texture.

Next is the manual inspection, what you call “hands-on.” Raise your right arm and hold it over your head. Now, using the middle three fingers of your left hand, examine every inch of your right breast using small, circular motions. (Some women find this part of the examination uncomfortable. That is perfectly normal, especially if it is your first time. If you like, you may imagine that it is my fingers, still rough from many hours of sword training in preparation for The Legend of Zorro, that are so insistently probing your bosom. Does that not help? I, Antonio Banderas, knew that it would.) Feel for anything out of the ordinary, such as lumps, knots, or thickening of the tissue. When you are done, repeat the process with the other breast.

Now is the final step. Lie down somewhere comfortable and place a pillow or rolled-up towel beneath your neck. When you are ready, repeat the manual inspection. (Remember that it is my fingers, not yours, that are dancing across your naked breasts. And is that my hot breath on your neck, too? Alas, it is only the cat, Mr. Socks. But it could have been me, if not for the pungent odor of Fancy Feast. Let us speak no more of this.) As before, feel for anything out of the ordinary.

And just like that, it is done. That was not so bad, was it? Certainly not as bad as Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever. Seriously, what an unbelievable piece of mierda that was. Please accept my apologies for it.

If, after the examination, you have any concerns, bring them to the attention of your doctor without delay. Do not be alarmed if you find something—most lumps and other irregularities turn out to be false alarms—but it is better to be safe than sorry. And of course, safe is so very, very sexy.

Now you know how to do breast self-examination. And this simple procedure, together with clinical breast examinations for women over twenty and screening mammograms for women over fifty, can significantly improve your chances of detecting breast cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be successful. That makes me, Antonio Banderas, very happy.

And now, we make the love.

Mike Richardson-Bryan used to be a lawyer, but he's all better now. No, really. His work has also appeared on McSweeney's Internet Tendency, in the pages of Cracked, Stitches, and The Wittenburg Door, and recently appeared in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2007. He lives in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with one wife and two dogs.