Pixi Perfect

Young Adult novel

Pixi is 17 and has no future. Her breasts are way too small, and things look all wrong between her legs. She will never be able to let anyone get close. And certainly not Eskil from the parallel class at school. African Isabella says Pixi should appreciate her body, but what does she know? And how exactly is Isabella’s colorful mom helping those women, coming to her apartment in Nørrebro? Pixi is surfing in and out of intimate surgery sites, following debates between girls who get new breasts and have shame removed from down there. Pixi is convinced that that’s the way to go. Life won’t begin until after she has surgery. She wants to be Pixi Perfect.
Pixi Perfect was released October 11th 2012 by Høst & Søn.
Note to the reader: the Danish word for labia literally translates to lips of shame and for the pubic bone bone of shame.

Extracts from Pixi Perfect

It all began when I was about 13 or 14. I started worrying tremendously about my body. Would I ever grow breasts? And why did I look like that down there. Looking in fashion magazines or the slightly seminude sites online, those girls definitely didn’t look like me. Okay they were probably photoshopped and all, but still the girls I saw in the locker room at the swimming pool were all smooth and nice-looking, the young ones anyway. Smooth, pale and with no hair, just a small chink. I could shave obviously, but it seemed as if the outer lips had stopped growing which made the inner ones stick out. They still do.
    I’ve never missed my mom as much as I did those years. I wanted to ask her about all those things. About her period, when she got it and about what it is to be normal. Normal for a fourteen-year-old girl.
    My dad tried his best, but it’s not like he ever had to deal with having a period or breasts. Grandma used to have her period but that must be ages ago. She’ll talk for a long time and in a loud voice about anything and she shakes her head at the pornofication as she calls it, of public space in our society. Back when she was young, people lived in communes and did the whole hippie thing. She’s always had saggy tits, she’ll declare with pride, and it’s never been a problem!
    Ever since I made my decision to get surgery, my hopeless front bothers me less. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s just a very long tunnel. I am going to get surgery and until then my breasts exist merely as two tiny beestings on my chest. The two pink spots on my little heaps, also tiny, doesn’t make it any better. I’ll be eighteen in four months and supposed to be what they call fully grown.
    Once you know that you can get great breasts done and have your cunt fixed you don’t worry about it that much anymore. You just wait. Wait for life. Life isn’t going to begin until the surgery is completed.
    And now Sanne has had surgery. I really hope we get to see the result once it has healed. Everything in me is longing to follow. Get it over with, become close to normal. The surgery is about one thousand five hundreds Euros before VAT at the new clinic where they are filming the TV program Generation Plastic every Tuesday. Perhaps I shouldn’t wait four months, just get that dis­pensation. You have to talk to both the doctor and a psychologist to get it. But then there’d be very little money left for the surgery. That discourages me. My mood is completely dependent on my bank account. Without the money I am working so hard for I have no future. My teacher and grandma can say what they please: If you’re not good-looking there’s just no future. I could easily write an assignment on that. But then our teacher would start a grand debate for sure on how looks aren’t everything. It’s the inside that counts.
    Yeah sure. Hallelujah.
Pixi Perfect, p. 26
Just one week to go until my BEO at the H.C. Andersen Clinic in Odense … :) Calling tomorrow to get the exact time of my surgery. Looking SO much forward to it, but gotta admit that I can feel the butterflies in the stomach now … and my list of extra questions is ready too …
    Maybe I should think about taking before photos to compare with afterwards.
    I wouldn’t mind if it was my turn right now.

April 7788, Mylooks.dk.

I read the post for the third time. I’s Saturday and I have the day off. I had a bath again last night at home after work, scrubbed my entire body, washed my hair and after a while I couldn’t feel anything apart from the strong eucalyptus lotion I rubbed on afterwards. Fell asleep with my cheese sandwich on the edge of the bed. Grandma was off to sing in her choir. She left a sweet goodnight note on the kitchen counter.
Pixi Perfect, p. 24
… breakfast Sunday. We are munching, while we’re reading each our section of the morning paper and the police are hooting around in Nørrebrogade.
    Who on earth would bother to be criminals Saturday morning? grandma mutters. She is reading about the prime minister’s latest summit. I am reading the sex letters and instantly feel bad. Someone has written that she’s tremendously upset about her small breasts and her cunt with hanging ham. Exactly like me. The sexologist answers in a flowery and fresh manner that it is COMPLETELY natural and that most of the nude female models you see online are photoshopped to make their sex look like a little girl’s. Not a grown woman’s.
    Grandma?
    Mm?
    How should a woman look?
    Look?
    Yes.
    Well … Grandma looks up from the prime minister. That would depend on who she is. A woman isn’t just a woman. Your dad’s Tania, for instance. Or your friend Isabella. They look a bit different than the rest of us, don’t they.
    Yeah but I mean what makes us – erm – women. You know breasts and that. That must be what counts, I guess.
    Oh I’ll say, that Tania has got breasts like balloons, I wonder if they’re real or the kind that explode in the airplane! Haha!
    I mean what I’m asking is: How should a woman look?
    Grandma is slightly more awake now.
    Oh well there are lots of variations, I tell you Pixi. Small breasts, flat breasts, saggy breasts, balloon ­breasts, small melons, water melons – you just need to have a look at the beach in the summer.
    Well yeah, but what is right? What’s normal, grandma? You know down there?
    Down there? You mean DOWN there? Between our legs?
    Yes.
    She thinks. I hold my breath.
    Well normal what’s that? Two of each kind of lips, four altogether. Three holes – but listen, Pixi, why all these questions?
    Because I’m not sure I have what you’re talking about. Not in the right way.
    Oh well you can get the doctor to take a look. He’s nice.
    I am not opening my legs for doctor Henningsen.
    We’ll find another doctor then. There is free choice of doctors. And until then – she gets up and takes and old book from the shelves behind me. Our Bodies Our Selves it’s called. Grandma sits down and flips through the book, she shows me a page:
    Look.
    I look. It’s a page with small, old pictures in black and white of ten different cunts. All of them photographed from the front so that you can’t see anything but hair. The text explains that from this you can see that we are all different and that it is COMPLETELY natural. The cunts in the photos aren’t shaved; you can’t see what the labia look like. They are overgrown and old-fashioned and gross.
    I don’t want to look like that!
    Grandma looks at the pictures as if they were old family photos. She taps her finger at one of the cunts:
    This is Tove. She was co-editor of the book. It was a bit of a revolution.
    Why’s that?
    She studies the disgusting photos:
    Because women back then didn’t know what other women looked like. Or what they looked like themselves inside. This gave the answers.
    Well we don’t look that way now.
    Oh? She looks up: Why not?
    Because we shave. I mean that photo is gross!
    What on Earth is gross about it?
    All that hair!
    There’s nothing gross about hair, Pixi. Men like hair. Grandpa –
    I really don’t want to know what grandpa liked or didn’t like. I interrupt:
    Well today things are different. Just close the book, okay? As long as we’re eating?
    She looks at me astounded, and slowly closes the book. Stroking the warn-out cover. I can see how much that book means to her, she’s used it a lot and now it made her think of grandpa as well. I’m an idiot.
    I’ll cook dinner tonight, I say quickly. Or we could book a table at a fancy restaurant?
    She smiles and hits me gently in the head with the book before she puts it back in the shelf:
    Noma. We’ll eat at Noma. That’s only for real ladies with hair between their legs you see. And in their armpits. It’s in! I’m telling you. And then we’ll call your dad afterwards and tell him we had toasted reindeer moss with icicles au gratin.
    I laugh. I have the best grandma in the world. Even though she doesn’t know what’s normal.
[…]
I go to my room and the computer without clearing the table. Sometimes grandma does the dishes because she thinks I work so hard and need to focus on my homework. I close the door and surf on in the intimate surgery.
I’m so excited, excited … frightened of course that something could go wrong, it probably won’t though.
    And at the same time I can’t wait to find out what I’ll see when I wake up again. Will I regret? What if I’m not happy? Will I worry about whether I’ve gotten too much … there are so many thoughts … can’t sleep …

    April7788.

Three people wish her good luck with the surgery and wish it were them. They look forward to seeing the photos.
    Wishful writes:
I got surg. from Hans … First I got 500 ml hp … but the implantates unfortunately didn’t fall down like they were supposed to. So I got re-surg.. and now here I am with gorgeous new boobs!
    Sounds strange I guess, that I’m satisfied with that clinic … but think Hans was great when I asked that they should be altered. I don’t see it as Hans’ fault it went like that, he did what he was supposed to. There are lots of risks you take when you have BEO and it doesn’t always work out like it should. But when they like at HCA make lots of breasts you can’t avoid a few less fortunate incidents now and again.
    Hans redid mine himself without extra charge … I then chose to get 300 ml extra which I then paid for of course. They are so kind there and do everything they can to make you feel comfortable during the stay – SO I can warmly recommend Hans and HCA.

I check the prizes again although I know them by heart. At the H.C. Andersen Clinic the breast enhancing surgery is 4200 Euro plus VAT. Teres Hospital is more expensive. Can’t see why.
    The new clinic here in Copenhagen is even more expensive. It doesn’t say why. The surgeon Leo Berg is the great guru these days. From his clinic, DR MAMA shows a program on Tuesdays following cosmetic surgery.
    I continue my search.
LABIAPLASTY OF INNER LABIA.
    Labiaplasty of the inner labia is inner surgery with well-looking results for those who feel bothered by large inner labia.

… yeah yeah … I skim the procedure, anaesthetization, side effects, risks, legal requirements, finding a clinic … Here: Debate. Unhappy writes to Ask the doctor:
Hi.
    I’m a very confused fourteen-year old girl.
    I know you’ve probably heard this many times before, but I have a really big problem.
    I have really, really big labia. I think about it several times a day and when I ride on my bike because it hurts real bad and when I’m wearing a bikini.
    The thought of showing them to a boy scares me.
    I’ve read about reduction of labia and so two years ago I decided to go ahead and do it. I’m not at all afraid of the surgery cause I really want to be normal.
    I’m quite young now and I just wanted to know if it is even possible to get the surgery.
    The inner labia hang out about 1-1.5 inches. But I am almost certain they will grow even more just like everything else on my body. Will they?
I am really sad and feel really confused. I don’t understand how I can have them. I really hope you can help me because I am lost.
    Regards Unhappy.

Lost.
    That’s how I feel. I feel lost. I’m not like the others. I am excluded from all the things the others do. Until I get proper breasts and a nice cunt I am locked up here at grandmas and can’t do anything. Not wear tight clothes or tank tops. No glitter or fun accessories that signal here comes Pixi, ready for trouble and fun, cause I’m not. A freak like me can’t go to parties or join in when they meet for a beer. I don’t want to risk getting too close to someone, feeling their soft curves. I can’t go to the swimming pool anymore either.
Pixi Perfect, p. 31
I go to the third floor with my groceries and a hot pizza; I’m thinking about Hamida … you hear so much about Muslim girls being oppressed. I wonder how Hamida feels about her body beneath the tent. Whether it’s important how she looks. It doesn’t matter I guess when she’s covered under all the fabric. Perhaps I should become a Muslim and wear a tent over my head. Then I wouldn’t have to sprain my thumbs while I’m talking to Eskil. It hurts quite badly.
    I make coffee but can’t be bothered to have lunch without grandma. She’s out. Am at Tove’s, the note on the kitchen counter says. Booked a table at 7.
    I smile and put the groceries in the fridge before wrapping a tea towel around the pizza and leaving it on the counter next to her note. Then I go to my room and the intimate surgery.
    Scanstad clinic has the usual: Many women are bothered by irregularities in the appearance of the labia. The most common deviance is perhaps excessively large labia minora. If they hang out below the labia majora they can be exposed to injuries where they are chafed and they can be less aesthetically pleasing etc. etc. Nothing about prices and no debate forum. I find a photo of a young woman’s sex taken from the front, totally smooth without any slit or anything. It looks like plastic not real. They must think we’re idiots.
    I go on with my clicking. At oestrogen.dk there’s a woman, who had botched surgery. She had lost her ability to swell – what is that??!! – After giving birth. The inner lips (of shame) – if only we could avoid all that shame – got in the way and had to be reduced. She woke up after the surgery without any labia at all and no clitoris. Of course she complained to the National Patients Complaints Board, and the doctor got fined but how does that help her?
    I shiver and swallow my spit. That must be an exception. A very rare exception.
    There’s a Skype call. I hurry up and press Answer with video right in the middle of the disfigured woman.
    [Author’s note: It is Pixi’s dad Søren, skyping from Miami. Pixi asks him once again about her mom Rosa. What she was like.]
    Rosa thought about how other people felt. Helped when she could. She was –
    She was beautiful, I can’t help but saying. I need to hear it.
    Yes. Yes, Pixi, your mom was very beautiful. Just like you. Don’t pull a silly face, you’re good-looking.
    DAD!
    What is it?
    I am not good-looking.
    That’s odd. Something must be wrong with the camera then. I see a girl with a heart shaped face and a red cherry mouth, high cheekbones and a nose as gorgeous as Rosas.
    Dad! I have no – I mean I don’t look normal dammit.
    Why do you say that, Pixi? You are completely normal. Are you getting teenage whims?
    Whims! Little teenage whims. I am about to disconnect.
    What’s bugging you, Sweetie?
    I almost can’t prevent myself from crying. He notices and leans in and looks questioning at me.
    I have no bloody breasts, dad. I’m flat as a pancake, I exclaim and start to cry.
    Are you – well but that’s. Oh Pixigirl, listen, I’m holding you now. I am giving you a giant hug and I am telling you that no matter how flat you are, you are the best and the most beautiful girl in the world.
    To you yes, I sob and dry mucus and tears off in my sleeve. You’re my dad.
    I’m your dad and I have eyes.
    No.
    There’s a break while I turn around and blow my nose in the duvet cover behind me. Then I return to the screen. Dad straightens up:
    Okay. Let me have a look.
    What? I sniffle.
    Lift up your blouse. Just the blouse not everything. I haven’t seen you for a while. I mean it’s mostly the face on this screen, right.
    I shake my head and sniffle:
    But I can’t do that.
    I’m your dad, Pixi. And I’m a physical therapist. I’ve seen many ladies’ breasts at work.
    Nobody gets to see that part of me. Nobody! Get it! I yell and press End Call.
    He calls again but I switch off the computer and toss myself into bed with my face in the pillow and weep. If only he would get the hell home.
Pixi Perfect, p. 56
Well my surgery is well over with and apart from swelling, soreness and pain in the breasts everything went well. I’m not sleeping that good … but it will come once the swelling disappears. Check up next week.
    April7788.
Aw lovely to hear it went that well! Are you going to put up photos of your new boobs? BMW90.

Sanne and I are in the fitness center, it’s the last time we work out. She’s doing careful push-ups standing. Tina isn’t there; she probably won’t be able to work out for a while. Afterwards we go to Sanne’s place in Sankt Hansgade.
    Did you watch Generation Plastic you know with that girl who had her lips and cheekbones fixed? Ellinor asks.
    Ellinor watched it but I was at work. You should try and know as much as possible about the product you want to buy, Ellinor declares. It’s horrible with those French implants, she mumbles.
    Gross, Sanne says, fishing her keys up from her pocket. Extremely gross.
    Thirty-thousand French women have had injections of old industrial silicone in their breasts and have become very ill.
    I wonder if Tina knows what’s in her breasts. I ask. If there’s any of that French silicone?
    Sanne unlocks the door and shrugs.
    You just have to forget about stuff like that, Ellinor states, coming inside. You can’t be afraid of all sorts of things. Or you won’t be able to move at all.
[The girls go to Sanne’s place …]
We mumble no and hang our jackets. Sanne looks at her watch. Her mom will be home in half an hour, so we hurry into Sanne’s room. She sits down carefully on her bed.
    I can’t stick this right in your face. No I just can’t.
    Aw come on, Ellinor begs, I’m dying to have a look. You’ve just showered.
    Yes, I say my throat dry. You have to let us look. We were there all the way through. And I might do it as well soon. But only if you let me look. You did let us look before the surgery.
    Listen: I haven’t been able to shave ever since the surgery, in order not to miss. So it looks so disgusting that I really – I mean. No. she takes out her cell phone:
    I took a photo of it. No one else apart from you can see it. No one. It’s disgusting. I’ll delete it after you’ve looked.
    Ellinor sulks. I realize this is better than nothing:
    Okay. Let’s have a look!
    She finds the photo, we are sitting on each side of her.
    Ta-daaahh!
    We are looking at the thing we were allowed to see for real three weeks ago. Then her cunt was clean shaved and pink. It was just the hanging ham that needed to be removed.
    And now it has been. But the pubic hair makes it difficult to estimate the result properly. Sanne points:
    The cut is in the edge of the lip so that the scar is seen as little as possible. You can see a bit of the inner lips because there are still some threads.
    Mm.
    But they’ll disappear. Then you’ll only see the outer lips.
    Cool. We take turns studying the photo.
    But the scar?
    It’s on the edge, towards you I mean, here, beneath the outer lips. Once the threads are gone the scar will hardly be visible.
    I stare at the cunt now half shaved and half hairy. It looks like there’s an inflammation at the middle of one of the lips.
    It’s hard to estimate until you can shave it entirely, Ellinor admits.
    Yeah but the results seems to be as we want them to, I say and glance again. I look thoroughly. Because this is the way to go.
    What Sanne has done is the only solution for freaks like us.
    You can go to the movies with that, Ellinor laughs. Paradise Hotel, here you come!
    We laugh. Sanne looks at the photo. Then she deletes it. NOOO we shout.
    Yes.
    We just sit there for a while.
    What about erm the clit? I ask.
    I think it’s a bit harder than before but it’s hard to tell yet.
    And the sensitivity?
    It’s too early to tell as well because it’s all still kind of sore.
    We hear the key in the front door.
    That’s the amusement park closed for today, Sanne checks again that the photo is gone and closes her cell phone.
    Hi mom, she hollers. Ellinor and Pixi are visiting.
– – – –
I storm up the stairs to the second floor and throw my bag on my bed. Grandma is off singing in her choir in the Andreas Church. We’ll eat when she gets home. With my mouth full of grapes I go online.
Labiaplasty of inner labia. Labiaplasty of outer labia. Removal of pubic hair.
Shame. I stare at the screen.
    I can certainly understand why it’s called shame. You’re terribly shameful about what’s down there. It’s not something you can just showcase without being horribly embarrassed. It was brave that Sanne showed us that photo.
    Shame. Bone of shame. Stain of shame. Shameful. Put in the corner of shame.
    I need to talk to doctor Henningsen. Not like opening my legs but just to explain how much it bothers me. I can refer to this website. There are at least two posts on each of the ten pages talking about how unpleasant and difficult it is when the inner lips constantly get caught in the panties when you are cycling or horse-riding. Not that I ride horses a lot.
    On grandmas old bike I have to stand up anyway because the saddle is falling off. She uses a loose cover for the saddle which I always forget to bring along. So I have an excuse for standing up.
    But the panties. I’m trying to find a new brand that will cover everything without feeling too tight. A thong is out of the picture, it will only serve to expose my problem. The smaller panty liners get completely creased as well; I have to use wide sanitary pads. Pixi wears granny panties. Sloggis, xtra large. The normal ones that would fit my hip size are too tight. I really feel them.
    I only have one single pair of nice-looking panties that cover everything properly. I use them when I work out in the fitness center.
    Shame. Cunts of shame. Panties of shame.
    Suddenly I’m back at oestrogen.dk reading about the woman in her twenties who had the botched surgery that went all wrong so that she woke up without any labia left whatsoever.
    I get up quickly and begin taking my schoolbooks from today out of my bag and putting the ones I’ll need tomorrow into the bag. I go to the bathroom to check that I’m not short on soap or shaving lotion or anything.
    I go to the computer and click away from the site. Ellinor is right. You can’t spend your time being afraid. Everything involves risk. Suddenly I find myself making my bed. I never usually do that.
Pixi Perfect, p. 73-88
I go to the site of the new clinic in Copenhagen with dr. Leo Berg, and find their contact form. I fill it out:
My name is Pia Petersen. I just turned 18, but I have great problems with deformed inner labia. That is to say abnormal. Not normal. I would like to book an appointment for a preliminary study. Hope to hear from you soon. Kind regards PP.
Send. Stare at the screen.
Message sent.
Just turned eighteen. Is it very illegal to lie about my age?
Pixi Perfect, p. 80

[Author’s note: Pixi’s best friend Isabella is half African. One day she feels sick all of a sudden while at work in the supermarket, she is committed to the hospital and undergoes surgery. Pixi comes to visit her a few days later.]

look at Bella’s bronze face on the pillow:
    Please tell me what happened?
    Yes Pixi. You should know what happened. I’ll tell you and only you. But if you tell anyone about this I’ll kill you. Really I mean it, I’ll kill you. Nobody can know that I don’t have any – well the thing you all talk about so much.
    Any what?
    I’ll tell you. But you can’t tell anyone. Promise?
    Her voice is low and dangerous. Bella is serious. I nod.
    Say it.
    I won’t tell anyone.
    You carry it inside you but it won’t come out.
    No it won’t come out.
    Not to Ellinor, not to Sanne.
    Neither to Ellinor nor Sanne. Promise.
    Because otherwise I’ll kill you.
    I nod and swallow my spit. What is this all about?
    Okay.
    Isabella takes a deep breath. Do you know what circumcision is?
    Uh –
    In several African countries they cut off part of girls’ genitalia. It can be anything from a tiny little incision to removal of the inner lips and clitoris or removal of the whole caboodle.
    The whole caboodle?
    Her head nods on the pillow:
    All four labia inner and outer. Then they sow the scar tissue together afterwards so that it’s completely closed apart from a small hole for urine and blood. And that hole isn’t always big enough.
    She looks at me and then stares at the ceiling again:
    It’s not in all African countries they do this. It’s forbidden in lots of places now. And like in Egypt it’s just a tiny cut in the skin above clitoris. People can live with that. But in some countries they take more.
    But why do they do that? I hold my breath. Perhaps the Africans have understood that women shouldn’t have hanging ham and look deformed.
    That’s a good question. Tradition they call it. Especially men say it’s an ancient tradition. They keep women under control this way and prevent them from fooling around with other people than the guy they’re marrying.
    Not fooling around with boys. Isn’t that what life is all about for a young girl. I don’t get it.
    They believe women are pure when they’re circumcised. They don’t respect women who aren’t pure. Women lose some of their sensibility after the circumcision. So naturally they become less interested in sex.
    Sensibility. Sanne hasn’t got her sense of touch back yet.
– – – –
Isabella looks at me:
    What I’m about to tell you happened when I was nearly five. We were on holiday back home. Mom looked after me carefully because the area we stayed in, it’s like circumcision is the foundation for a girl’s survival.
    Survival?
    If a girl isn’t circumcised her parents can’t get a man to take her and they might not live long, not like here. Men often die early and then the wife needs land or cattle to support herself and her kids. A girl who isn’t circumcised isn’t a real girl. But my mom is against circumcision, that’s one of the reasons she came with dad to Denmark. Back there she’s nothing. They don’t talk to her and she doesn’t exist because she protested against the things that make a girl proper. She married a Dane who worked for the organization Danida, and who cared about her – Isabella’s eyes well up; the tears run into the pillow. I get her a napkin by the sink. She blows her nose.
    Well he loved my mom, the way she was. Even without anything down there. Mamadou had a real bad circumcision. She wanted kids, and if she had girls she didn’t want them to be circumcised. Dad totally agreed obviously, being Danish. But as you know he got sick during the short trip back to deal with the final details of the building project, he died there before he could get medical help.
– – – –
Grandma took me to her sister’s place, far away, further into the bush where there hasn’t ever been any white people ever. Grandma’s sister began sharpening a knife. I was playing with some corncobs. They got a bucket of water. Then grandma sat on the ground with her legs open and pulled me in close to her so that my back was stuck to her belly. It was boiling hot. She put her legs on top of mine so that they were forced open and fixed. I couldn’t move even though I began crying. Her sister came from the cottage with the knife, and grabbed hold with two fingers and cut. One quick cut and clitoris and the smaller lips were gone. She wiped the knife in some palm leaves just like when they clean fish. I remember that what she had cut off looked like fish guts on the leaves. They were nervous and she took one more cut. She cut off more than intended. And the cut was awry. The bottom part of the outer lip went off as well.
    Isabella is shaking all over.
    So am I more or less. This is like that woman at oestrogen.dk, who woke up with nothing down there at all.
    I was screaming and bleeding, and they poured water on the wound which made me scream even more. They tied my legs together to make the wound heal. After some hours I felt ill. And I couldn’t walk.
    Next day I had a fever. Grandma waited one more day before taking me all the way back to mom’s house. I was bleeding a lot and almost unconscious. My mom was waiting in front of the house. She knew what had happened. Mamadou was furious. You’ve seen her agonized. This was FURIOUS.

– – – –
We just sit for a while. I glance at the duvet to the area we have been discussing:
    What did they do to you here?
    They cut me open, so that I won’t have problems in the future with peeing or bleeding. And so that I can have sex. But of course they can’t reconstruct the part which has been cut off.
    Have sex. She’s saying it out loud. Isabella is talking about having sex. And when she’s never mentioned it before it must because she only had a tiny little hole.
    Pixi, you should be thrilled that you’re normal down there and that no one has cut you –
    Oh but no, I’m not normal! The inner lips stick way out!
    They stick out?! But that’s completely common, Pixi. And totally insignificant.
    I talk about all the girls having problems cycling and riding and finding panties that cover. It suddenly sounds weak and ridiculous compared to the problems Isabella just told me about. Isabella looks at the ceiling:
    Have you been to those brain-dead sites on intimate surgery?
    Brain-dead sites.
    I imagine Isabella in front of those websites. With a cunt which consists of one big scar. It must be like reading about food and never being able to eat anything yourself.
    Pixi, you should be happy for every single millimeter of skin you have down there which is NOT cut off. You understand? There are lots of nerves in that tissue. There are eight thousand nerve fibers from clitoris to your brain. Eight thousand! It’s twice as many as guys have on their penis!
    She looks at me earnestly:
    Pixi. I’m sure your mom would tell you how important it is to look after your body if she were alive. She didn’t do stuff like that, did she?
    No.
    Isabella looks back at the ceiling: No. they didn’t do that back then. I don’t know how that sick thought has entered the Western world. That women should be cut and look like little girls. Can you explain that?
    Uh –
    Is everyone going to be a porn model or what?! It’s you as a person who counts. Not your cunt. Mamadou will end up being very busy helping out all of you. Everyone with botched surgery.
    She cracks a wry smile: Imagine that? Smart Danish girls who had too much cut off. They’ve complained. They’ve charged the doctor, whose been fined but continues the slaughtering. It pays off after all. Think about what those surgeons make on you people! The girls consider a repair – but they have no one to talk to. No one who really knows anything about it. And then they find Mamadou. Maybe we could make a bunch of money on your crazy attempts to get cunts that look like they belong to a ten-year-old! Ha!
    I say ha ha too even though my head is spinning. And I’ll be going to a preliminary study soon myself. My thoughts are one big mess. I peel an orange and share it between us. Isabella is munching:
    Up until now mom helped me to get the blood out through a plastic tube, but the other day I was at work and I had left it too long. Now I can live by myself, manage my own period – wow it’ll be a completely new life!
    She’s beaming on the pillow.
    Sanne is happy too. About the exact opposite. Very confusing.
    Aren’t you going to work, Pixi?
    Uh god yes. Yeah. I get up and hug her. I take my jacket and get to the door before I realize another aspect of such a minimal hole. I turn to the bed. Isabella is brushing orange peel off the duvet:
    What do circumcised women do when they give birth, Isabella? Do they get a caesarian?
    Caesarian? Ha! A caesarian in the bush in mom’s country would be a year’s salary and it would take ten days to travel to a place where you could get one. Isabella thumbs her head into the pillow:
    They scream, Pixi. They scream like you never heard anyone scream ever. It’s like pressing a melon through a pinhole. Those women break. Their hearts too, if you know what I mean.
    She raises her voice behind my back:
    Give my regards in the supermarket. Tell them I’ll be there soon. Thanks for stopping by, it was good to see you.
Pixi Perfect, p. 90
When I come out from the hospital I begin running. Isabella’s story is boiling inside me. What about my surgery? I am running on Blegdamsvej, towards the lakes, continue, cast a glance at the cormorants on Bird Island. They have corroded the trees to death. If only I were a bird who didn’t give a shit about it all. What am I going to do?
    I am so upset when I change in the locker room that I nearly take a size Small. I am furious that they cut the African girls. Furious that I’ve lost interest in getting the surgery now. Cause I have. My future has been taken away from me. I don’t know what to do. Most of all I’m angry that I can’t go home tonight and talk to dad about it all. I promised not to say anything to anyone.
    But I can’t not tell.
    What am I supposed to say when Sanne invites me to have a look? If I tell that whole story about African girls they’ll know very well who I got it from. That story is rumbling inside of me now, I can’t talk to anyone about it.
– – – –
What do the surgeons do with the strips they cut off from the cunt when they perform intimate surgery? Do they wipe it off in a cloth? How does it feel cutting several centimeters off a woman’s cunt? And how do they feel about getting our money? Isabella is right that they make loads on their customers. Three or four breast enhancements a day will pay three to four times 4200 Euro a day. A day. More than a full month’s salary in the supermarket.
Pixi Perfect, p. 106
After school Yassin shows us his new scooter by the parked bikes. It has a double seat just like Eskil’s, they look like mini motorbikes with high gas handles. He and Eskil tear around in complicated patterns in front of the school, nearly crashing in to each other all the time but avoiding collision in the last second. The rest of us are just staring until the headmaster comes out and tells them not to ride in the entrance and to respect the traffic rules.
    Ellinor and Sanne ask if I want to come and see how neat Sanne has grown now. Ellinor sticks her arm into mine. At the same moment Eskil slides up next to me on the scooter:
    Want a ride? he asks.
    I have no clue what to do. I don’t feel like going to Sannes.
    Uh –
    Come on! Get up!
    Ellinor nods encouraging and almost pushes me onto the scooter. I have no choice. I don’t want to go to Sanne’s and see her new cunt, I’m not up for it. Eskil grabs my bag. I straddle over the saddle with a glance to my friends who know how I usually avoid straddling and I can feel the hanging ham falling out of my panties. Inside the trousers of course but still unpleasant if it should get caught. I grab the strap in front of me on the seat and lean back.
    Hold on properly, Eskil shouts, he’s racing the engine but not driving yet, otherwise you can fall off.
    Hold on to him. But I can’t possibly. This is already way too tight. If I put my arms around him I will die for sure. He’s still racing the engine and waiting. Ellinor strokes my back and nudges me and shout whispers into my ear: Hold on, Pixi!
    And then I do it, or my arms do it. I wrap my arms around the body in front of me. There’s a rush in my ears when we tear down the street and it’s not the speed alone singing inside me, it’s the heat from his body, it’s the smell, the scent of Eskil, which I’ve sensed a few times when he came too close, and it’s all just way too much.
    We tear down Kapelvej, cross Nørrebrogade and continue down Møllegade towards Sankt Hans Torv, when I realize what I’ve done. I’ve been pressing my front against Eskil’s back. He has felt how small my breasts are. He knows. He knows what I try so carefully to conceal. Now he knows that I’m not the least bit hot. This will be my very last contact with him.
    I’m getting off, I shout and let go of him in the middle of Blegdamsvej passing the hospital, give me my bag.
    Arh come on, Pixi. Hold ON! he shouts and accelerates. But I have let go and am trying to get off. He breaks fast and rides up onto the bicycle lane and says something about being a chicken. I yell back that I’m not chicken.
    Neither one of us see the bike. It crashes straight into us. Behind it a lot of other bikes stop with squealing brakes. People are shouting Look out!
    Eskil tries to pull the scooter free from the bicycle and the cyclist is pulling as well. Somehow the scooter skids, he loses his footing and falls down with the scooter on top of him. I just stand there stiff with fear watching the blood pour out of his thigh where the prop stand has cut through his pants and muscles. NO, NO, HELL NO! it’s throbbing inside me. The scooter is still tearing away on top of Eskil, and bus 3A is passing.
    OUCH! Eskil is screaming.
Pixi Perfect, p. 117
The waiting room in the clinic is light and cozy with white chairs and glossy magazines on the coffee table. I am nervous. Surgeon Leo Berg gets the best online reviews, which I why I picked him, even though he’s expensive.
    There’s juice and water on top of a small fridge but I’m afraid to drop it if I pour some into a plastic cup, my hands are shaking. My whole body is shaking.
    Fortunately the nurse enters and asks for my name, social security number and payment. Tine Jensen her name tag says. I’ve changed the birth year in my social security number a bit so that I just turned 18. I don’t need to show any ID because there aren’t any state subsidies for breast enhancement. I find the bank account print with the deposit of 670 Euros I transferred to their account, and shows it. She nods and smiles:
    Leo Berg will be with you in a minute. Please sit down. Are you nervous?
    I nod, my mouth is dry. She pours some juice and hands me the cup. I hold on to it with both hands and empty it.
    Yeah I guess I’m a bit nervous.
    Yes of course. Most people are. Did you write down some questions?
    I nod and swallow my spit:
    Yes. I need to know if there’s any of that – you know that toxic French stuff in what he’s going to use.
    Tine smiles even more:
    Well now. One shouldn’t believe everything they say in the media. Don’t count on getting the chemical formula of the material he uses. And if you did – would you know what it meant?
    Uh –
    No see? She looks at her screen: There’s your green light. Go ahead, Pia.
    She opens the door to paradise.
    The sight of the doctor makes me dizzy. What do you say to such a clever surgeon, you’ve seen on TV and read about online? How are you supposed to behave when you’re just seventeen-year-old Pixi Imperfect? Good thing he doesn’t have to look at me down there. I wouldn’t be able to deal with that, I’m sure.
    Leo Berg extends his hand to me in a friendly way. Just like on TV. I carefully place my hand in his and then quickly withdraw it while he continues talking and shows me the room with the surgical table, the apparatus for anaesthetization, the spirit by the sink. The hygiene level is high he emphasizes and begins washing his hands, while asking me to undress behind the curtain. Tine Jensen has entered. She nods encouraging.
    Take my clothes off.
    The only thing I’ve been thinking about is lying on that table anaesthetized and not feeling a thing. But on the TV show you see how he estimates every single surgery in this preliminary study that I’ve come for, you see the women from the neck down. Without clothes.
    Well, have you grown into the floor, Pia?
    They both send me encouraging smiles.
    I jiggle. Only Sanne and Ellinor have seen me with naked upper body the last three years. No one else. If the boys come to close I give them a blow that makes them stagger. But Ellinor is right: When summer comes I’ll have to take off my clothes. And by then the front shouldn’t be flat.
    Do I – uh – have to take off my clothes?
    Doctor Berg smiles. Or is he laughing at me?
    You have to, Pia. I can’t form an impression of the surgery without looking. Is that a problem?
    Problem? It’s impossible.
    The nurse pulls aside the curtain to a small cubicle where there is a chair, a hook and a mirror. The mirror is the worst. I don’t know how I’ll get in there.
    With stiff hands and my back to the mirror I pull off the large fleece sweatshirt and try not to think. How could I be so stupid? I’ve seen all the pictures on TV before, during and after. And yet it surprises me that I have to take off my clothes so that he can see. Of course the clothes must go. Off goes the top, off goes the mini strap. Completely naked. Shivering naked.
    If you are cold I can turn up the heat, says the nurse out there.
    I poke my head out through the curtain, hiding the rest of my body behind the curtain. Leo Berg smiles at me encouragingly. I cling to the curtain hiding the catastrophe. He looks at his watch:
    Shall we have a look?
    I nod and let go of the curtain not to tear it down. With stiff legs I take a few steps into the empty room with the two tiny mounds that are supposed to be my breasts and nipples. Leo Berg contemplates me attentively. He nods:
    I see why you’ve come.
    Aww something melts inside. This experienced plastic surgeon understands me. He really understands what no one else gets. None of this saying but you look nice or do you really think it’s that bad? This is the right thing to do. My money have been given to the right place. I feel slightly better.
    He speaks soothingly as if he was talking to a nervous old lady:
    But you do have nice chest muscles. Do you work out?
    Have done, I manage to say.
    Now we’re just going to weigh you, and then I’ll have a look and make a suggestion to what we could do.
    Yes. Uh weigh?
    We need to know your weight to make sure about the anesthetic on the day of surgery.
    I step onto the scale and the nurse makes a note of my weight. While I stand with my back to them I finally say what I’ve practiced saying so many times:
    How do you know if I can take the anesthetic? I know someone who suddenly had heart problems in the middle of surgery.
    It will show very quickly if you can’t tolerate it and in that case we’ll interrupt the surgery, he replies while Tine Jensen registers my weight in their system. I wonder how far they would be by then. If they might interrupt while there’s an open wound, so that the implants haven’t been placed and the wound isn’t sown together or what. And is it enough to interrupt the surgery? At that time I’ll be thoroughly anesthetized. And then I’ll have to go in an ambulance off to the nearest hospital. That could take time. In Eskil’s case it was a matter of minutes when his heart reacted during the surgery.
    There’s none of that French stuff in the implants I’ll get? I ask and turn around with goose bumps all over.
    Leo Berg scratches his ear and sighs.
    That scandal. If you knew the problems it has caused us. People are scared out of their guts. The poor women hardly dare go to our website!
    Is there? Any French stuff? In the silicone you use? I stand in front of him with my arms along my sides like a soldier ready for war.
    He makes a movement with his head and focuses on my breasts. He reaches out for one of them, the ugliest one, the left. It all happens very fast, he tumbles backwards with a red mark on his cheek before I notice the warmth of my hand. He jumps on one leg and seems sore where I kicked his shinbone. My reflexes are too ingrained. Nobody touches my breasts. But I do want this, I really do – oh damn me, foolish Pixi!
    I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I mumble and cover my front with my arms while Tine helps the doctor to examine the injury.
    I don’t think you’re ready for this, Pia, Leo Berg mumbles between his teeth If you get dressed we’ll talk it over peacefully – ouch.
    I trod back into the cubicle. This time I’ve really fucked up my own muffin. Leo Berg is not going to perform surgery on me, I wouldn’t dare. He could decide to get revenge by doing a really bad job or by using that French rat poison. What about my money? What about my breasts?
    I throw my bra into my bag and rush into my clothes behind the curtain. Never mind if anyone sees my miniature warts, nothing matters. I have no idea what to do now.
– – – –
Mamadou looks at me and listens attentively. We are sitting in her living room on two chairs. Isabella is at school. I just came back from the clinic and I’ve cried all over her mom’s pretty golden dress while I told her everything. I’m sad. And angry. I’m bunking off from school and I’m angry about what happened. Angry with myself, angry with the doctor.
    Out in the kitchen Sira is talking in a low voice with her young daughter.
    Good thing you left, Mamadou says and hands me the kitchen towel. Not good hitting. You shouldn’t ever hit.
    He just did what he was supposed to I guess, I mumble.
    I don’t understand why Danish women want surgery. It can be dangerous, Pixi. Problems occur.
    I nod and wring the seam of my oversized fleece like a cloth.
    I wrote a false birth date to make me eighteen. It might be illegal, I moan and wring my sweatshirt even more.
    Hm. Just a bit.
    Mamadou thinks for a while. She leans towards me and her big, striking breasts bulge under the fabric of the dress:
    You listen to me now. Open your hears and listen.
    I nod even though she said hears. After all I don’t speak any African languages.
    You beautiful; you a beautiful girl, Pixi. How come you can’t see that?
    I show her with my thumb and index finger:
    That’s how big my breasts are. That’s not beautiful.
    Mamadou leans back in the chair and looks at my front:
    And so what? You have nipples, yes?
    They – they are too small as well.
    You have them. On two small breasts. That’s fine.
    I shake my head:
    They are not getting any bigger.
    Maybe not. Maybe they’ll get bigger. Maybe something else will happen. I heard about someone called Eske –?
    Eskil. Isabella told Mamadou about Eskil.
    You carried ham to the hospital. She carefully nudges my shoe with her golden sandal: You like that Eske, no?
    I don’t answer.
    Where is Eske now?
    At home. He had surgery one week ago. He had an allergic reaction and needs to stay calm.
    Good. So he’s calm. Now you go buy some yummy that he likes and go for a visit.
    I wring my sweatshirt and stare at the floor.
    You go visit, because you need to think about something else.
    Mm.
    Don’t think about breasts or money or false information until tomorrow. Come here after school. Maybe Isabella knows something about the money. Right now don’t think about all that.
    I nod at the floor: Eskil – he mustn’t see my breasts, Mamadou.
    Mamadou nods: You decide. He’ll only see what you decide. You’re Danish. You decide about your own body here in Denmark.
– – – –
[Pixi visits Eskil. He is having a negative reaction to the penicillin:]
We drink some coffee. It wakes him up a bit so I entertain him about what’s going on in class, what lessons we’ve been doing. He looks at the books on the desk:
    Oscar and Yassin have been round to do homework with me, but I can’t really stay awake.
    We talk about my dad. He’ll be home in a few weeks. We can both relate to that. After half an hour his eyes have gone small again. He yawns.
    Shit. I sleep and sleep. Pixi?
    Yes?
    He moves towards the wall and pats the bed besides him:
    Won’t you lie here with me for a bit? Just with your back turned? I’ll probably sleep but it will feel better than when I sleep alone. You steer. I’m on the backseat!
    Will I lie down beside him?! He must have hit his head. I wouldn’t dare. And how does he know that it’s better to sleep together? I’m about to answer but he has fallen asleep. His hand is searching for something on the sheet then it goes limb.
    I look at Eskil sleeping. It admittedly looks quite safe. If I turn my back he won’t feel my breasts.
    Carefully I lie down next to him so that there’s air between us. He makes a pleasant mutter and puts his arm around me. I lie stiff and ready to escape. Nothing happens. His mother is still out shopping. Before I know it I’ve fallen asleep as well. And it’s a lovely sleep. Like flying high above the city watching it all: the Lakes, Nørrebrogade, Solitudevej.
    Something strange happens in my sleep. Like little flashes of lightening from my breasts to my stomach and further down. Little glimpses through the body. Like flying or taking a bubble bath. The lightening makes it tickle between my legs. A lot. I’m only half awake when I realize that it is Eskil’s fingers touching. They are touching my breasts. My breasts. Touching them.
    I just have time to stop my elbow before it hits his stomach. Instead I put my hand fast on top of his. The hand stops moving under my sweatshirt and my hand.
    My body isn’t calm. My body is bustling inside, it wants more. More flight, more party and bubbles.
    We lie there for a while. He yawns.
    Someday we’ll go for a tiny little ride on the scooter, he whispers.
    Yes, I whisper. I’ll steer.
    Can you ride a scooter?!
    You can teach me, I whisper.
    Mmmm … I can. Will you drop by again tomorrow? He squeezes me and blows my neck. I nod. I really want to come back tomorrow. Lying here whispering with Eskil is one of the best things I’ve ever done.
Pixi Perfect, secondlast chapter

The press wrote …

From Unge læser med Rosinante&Co by Pernille Kjær Stenstrøm, in charge of book department in Magasin in Odense:

Really good Young Adult fiction. PIXI feels like apparently a lot of young girls. She doesn’t think she’s good enough, not good-looking enough, her breasts are too small and she’s probably not the girl the boys will be checking out. She matures and she has some really good friends. Luckily it would take both money and courage to fulfill her dreams and she has neither, with time and with help from her friends she learns to believe that she might be good enough the way she was created, or at least she’s going to give it some time. Many people could learn from this book – READ IT!

Lærerværelset, magazine for teachers:

Bente Clod has written an important realistic book. A book that would be an obvious choice for teaching teenage pupils in school, with lots of topics for discussions and dialogues about the lives of young people, ideals, confidence etc. in a world where it has become a normal thing to have breast surgery if you are unhappy with their size, where Botox treatments are evident and body hair a no-go, girls in a very young age experience pressure they might not be ready to handle and it can be a good and important talk to have in the classroom, including for the boys, who might not have the perception of an ideal woman, that the girls believe they have.

Peter Kock Henrichsen from the web site Kultur for Unge (Culture for Young People):

It is truly delightful, that not only was Bente Clod courageous enough to write it, but the publisher was equally courageous and supported her. An extremely important contemporary book for young adults! This will thrill me for quite a while, because there is far between Danish, social-realistic YA fiction that has the courage of this book. […] Bente Clod’s Pixi Perfect is the most courageous book for young adults for years. It unconditionally sides with the girls, and in its liberating and direct way it removes yet another taboo from Danish YA fiction.

Merete Trap, Reader’s Statement for the school libraries:

Well written and interesting book about being young and lacking confidence. Fits well into the problems of these times with grotesque beauty ideals and young girls’ reactions to them.

Dagbladet Ringkøbing-Skjern, February 4th 2013:

A well written YA novel about a present-day topic that many young girls are preoccupied with.

Anette Grønholt Andersen, Børn & Bøger (Children & Books):

Unrealistic ideals of beauty, that set the agenda for what young girls expect from themselves are put up for debate in a good and accessible way. […] Pixi Perfect is well written and recommendable for its target group – young girls.

Buy Pixi Perfect here