Dani's Story

As an avid bodysurfer, I have discovered that wearing a bathing suit top, while required by law, is an incredible nuisance. With only one breast to hold it up, the bathing suit acts as a giant scoop for sand and seaweed. Frustrated, I inquired of an attorney friend what she thought a judge would say if I were to go topless and be hauled into court. She told me that the "standard of proof" is fifty percent plus one, and that I would be always one percent shy of a conviction. She did however, advise me to be as discreet as possible to avoid the fuss of handcuffs and the like.

Topless bodysurfing became part of my routine. One day, while preparing for the World Bodysurfing Championships with a girlfriend, I placed my swimming fins in front of my chest and nonchalantly slipped my top off, keeping my fins up front for cover. As I walked out into the surf, my friend laughed as she dramatically closed one eye and said, "Let's go!"

Art and I decided that we needed a humorous photo in this project to reflect a shared spirit of acceptance. One magical afternoon the three of us served as canvases for the artist, Pam Stuart. Accompanied by a chorus of laughter and giggles, I became "the wink." Carol was transformed into a woman with cleavage in a beautiful blue camisole. This was a special gift to her husband who had met her years after her double mastectomy. Susan, with theatrical flair, became comedy and tragedy, with each intentionally reversed so that the comedy mask appeared over the mastectomy scar.

This trio of "Painted Ladies" shares a poignant bond. From Carol to Dani to Susan, we each served as mentor and friend to each other when we were diagnosed. Years later we celebrated our friendships in living color. - Dani