My Ass: A Love Story

My ass. I never really thought much about it. I always figured what I couldn't see didn't concern me. But apparently other people have noticed. Men have noticed. Really attractive men have noticed. Really attractive younger men have noticed. As a post-50 woman, I've been told I have a great ass more times this year than in my entire life. From the way things are going, I guess you could say my ass is having a landmark year.

Me and my ass (photo credit Ben Peller)

So, what's up with my ass? I wanted to get to the bottom of it.

For someone who struggled with body image, the looming question was why I had dismissed a body part that some undeniably think is one of my prime assets.

But when I considered its backstory, it wasn't so surprising.

I grew up at a time when Twiggy reigned supreme. My ass didn't stand a chance against the painfully thin, androgynous David Bowie type bodies that were in vogue. Either you got on board with the trend, popping diet pills daily, or you had to wear bed sheets if you were larger than a size four which I was. Add a one in front of that four. No amount of amphetamines, (and believe me, I tried,) was going to get me to a single digit size.

Twenty-four seven, the media sells us endless ways to lose weight, make our tits perky, lift our asses, flatten our stomachs. We spend millions on the promise of a better future if we'd just shape up. I was always looking for something out there to relieve me from the pain of just being me.

Me and my ass again (photo credit Ben Peller)

But self-loathing begins in the home. Children are taught to hate. How could I have ever fairly assessed my ass when my own mother judged beauty straight from the pages of high fashion magazines. Any derriere larger than standard model fare might call attention to itself. Then others might make critical remarks about it and my mother would have to defend it as being a reflection of her. Like somehow my ass was attached to her and didn't really have a life of its own. And while I couldn't change my mother's thinking, I began to question my own.

I'd bought into the media's polemic for so many years that it not only made me one of them, it made me a slave to them. I was a junkie, a walking infomercial, always trying some new plan to get there.

I imagined There-land to be some kind of blissful, cellulite free, haven of bodily perfection. I was always tenacious, getting there and then screwing up so the elusive There-land became unreachable.

Sadly, I'd spent my life walking around like a two dimensional paper doll cut out version of myself where I acknowledged only my front side.

I decided to take my ass into my own hands and face the beast once and for all.

Dancing my ass off.....

So I trotted over to Bloomingdales and nipped into the tailor's fitting room with the raised carpeted platform and giant three way mirror. I stepped up on the platform and took a deep breath. My ass was about to have an unveiling.

Until that moment, I'd always taken the quick view of my ass just to make sure there wasn't a yellow mustard stain on my pants, but other than that, my ass was on its own. Adrenalin shot through my body. I wished I'd taken that klonopin my friend offered, but it was too late. I had to take my ass straight.

With the music from Jaws pounding in my skull, I shot a quick quarter glance at it.
I felt woozy and thought I might faint. But I held steady. Then I took a half glance. Then a slower, three-quarter view. Keep calm I muttered to myself as my head jerked over my shoulder with staccato twists. Then I decided to brave the whole view. For the first time in my life, I saw my entire ass in 3D.

I didn't vomit. I didn't faint. I just stared at it. I could not take my eyes off it. It was like being reunited with a best friend I'd lost touch with who'd really been there for me all along. Then I wiggled it. Did a little happy dance, sashayed back and forth to see what it looked like in motion. It was acceptable. Not bad. It was even fine. But even more, it was MINE. Glory Hallelujah, let the bonding begin.

After that day, my ass took on a whole new life. I started to dress it better, took it to the gym, showed it off. Now if I wear something that doesn't show it off, it's not for self-loathing, it's just the design of the outfit.

I know I'm not alone in dissing my ass. The reality is if I asked every reader to talk about their asses, I'd have skinny people who think they're fat, perfect 10s who complain about their cellulite, heavy women who want to be thinner, perfectly sized women who hate their shape, or fantastic African-American "booties" who wish they were Asian. We've all got complaints. There will always be someone to compare ourselves to. "Oh, I wish I had an ass like J.Lo," they'd whine. Who wouldn't?

The point is, I don't spend my days pining over it. Instead, I give thanks to all the guys who gave my ass a landmark year. It was my wake up call. I've said good-bye to There-land and hello to Here-land. It's always your choice. Finally, you can either loathe it or love it. But I can tell you this: loving it feels a whole lot better.

Sit'n'Spin reading, Comedy Central Stage, Hollywood, CA August 21, 2014

Earlier on Huff/Post50:

What Have You Stopped Stressing About?