Today I thought I should discuss one of my deepest, darkest obsessions: my big ol’ big ol’ butt. You might think this discussion vain, but truly, this would only be an exercise in vanity if I were in love with my Gluteus Maximus, or if I thought other people loved it, or if it were WORTHY of love! I’m not, they don’t, and it isn’t, so I’m just going to go ahead and get to the bottom of things.
Truth be told, I never even knew I had a butt, until one fateful day in the eighth grade. It was Picture Day, which was always a particularly exciting day for Catholic school kids since dressing up was a rare departure from wearing our drab, expressionless uniforms. That day, I’d chosen a jean dress that my Grandma had bought for me, and I thought I looked beautiful in it – at least, that’s what my Mom had told me before I left for school. Not yet realizing that Moms HAVE to say such things to their offspring, I willingly believed her. All day long, I continued with my denim-inflated ego, glowing with the anticipation of the compliments that were sure to come. By the time lunch rolled around, I was starving and so was my short-lived confidence. I slouched as I waited in the lunch line, forgetting my mom’s constant admonishments about tall girls needing to stand with their backs straight lest they develop a hump like her Great-Aunt Beatrice. There were two boys, Steven Weimer and Travis Sorrento, cracking up behind me, and it took me several minutes to figure out I was the object of their attention. I whipped my head around as soon as I heard my name, and stared them down, daring them to make me go all Balboa on them.
“WHAT are you laughing at?” I demanded, threateningly.
“Oh, nothing, nothing,” Steven gasped, giggling harder. I sidestepped my place in line and walked several kids back to where they were doubled over, poking each other and laughing uncontrollably.
“WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT?” I asked, my fists balled up at my sides, itching to beat the bag out of these pubescent pecker-heads, who were, like, a foot shorter than me.
“Umm, well we wouldn’t want to burst your bubble!” Steven answered, bringing on a fresh fit of hilarity from his partner in crime. “Your . . . your . . . your BUBBLE BUTT!”
I would like to say that at this point, I shoved Steven Weimer to the ground and bounced on his chest with my enormously bulbous backside until the laughter drained out of his lifeless body, but unfortunately, that is not what I did. Instead, I ran out of the cafeteria, humiliated and desperate to find a mirror so that I could put my poor butt through the first of what would become a daily, neck-breaking, 180-degree scrutiny.
From that day on, I would drive my friends and loved ones crazy with the looped soundtrack of my Ass Inquisition. “Does my butt look big in this?” “Does this make my butt look big?” “Do you think my butt’s getting bigger?” “Do you think my butt’s getting smaller?” This tireless tirade continued well into my teens and twenties, corroborated here and there by comments made by members of the opposite sex – mainly by those of the African-American persuasion – who also happened to be obsessed with the junk in my trunk. Seared into my brain were the times they asked me how my booty got so big for a white girl, or serenaded me with stirring renditions of Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back,” or compared me to Jennifer Lopez, or nicknamed me “Bootylicious.” I was aware that these comments were supposed to be complimentary, yet to me they were embarrassing acknowledgments of my paranoia being founded in nothing butt the truth.
Fast-forward to my present-day, mom-of-three, thirty-nine-year-old badonkadonk. You would think that today I have far too many other things preoccupying my thoughts to go around worrying about my buns, and you would be right. I don’t “worry” about my keister per se – I’m too busy wiping other people’s, or dressing other people’s, or carting around other people’s to obsess about my own. Men don’t pay any attention to it anymore either, apart from my husband’s occasional annoying sneak-attack ninja slaps, which make my three boys erupt into uncontrollable giggles, not unlike the two boys in the lunch line who started it all. No, I have lulled myself into the delusion that my butt has finally faded into the backdrop, unseen and unnoticed by everyone else and only pondered and analyzed by me when I have a few precious stolen moments to spin myself dizzy before a full-length mirror. My delusion, however, was recently fractured into two-thousand little jagged pieces, when I was sharing some quality time with my oldest son, just before bed.
I was in the midst of a Wise, All-Knowing Mom Monologue, in an effort to impart the importance of interpersonal communication, based on a recent incident where Sam had behaved badly to one of his friends. I told him about a time I was really mean to one of my friends when I was little, and I was caught doing something deplorable to them (involving pushing them up against a tree-trunk and spitting in their face, a minor detail I left out of my preachy story), when Sam suddenly interrupted me.
“Did you get in trouble? What did your Mommy do?”
“Well, Sam,” I explained, “Back then, parents didn’t do time-outs like they do today. They believed in spankings, so my mommy turned me over her knee, and she spanked me. Hard!” With his head tilted in sympathy and concern, Sam seemed to arrive at a foregone conclusion, but he had the decency to ask me, nonetheless: “Mommy, is that why your bum-bum is so big?”
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