Friday, October 01, 2010

Until It Is: A Love Story

Category: Issue 20

There has always been something wrong with my ass.  From the very first moment that I was old enough to care—maybe 11 or 12—I have been aesthetically dissatisfied with my own ass.  I am still unhappy about my ass, years and years later, albeit for different reasons.  What, one might say, a bummer. 

In the old days, the good old days (although, ass-wise, they didn’t seem good to me at the time), the problem was that my ass was too big.  Perhaps on someone else’s body—a body with broader shoulders, at least, and preferably larger breasts—my ass would have been just fine.  Unfortunately, whatever genetic roll of the dice that determined that that particular sperm cell and that particular egg would meet up (I know I shouldn’t complain; I mean I obviously wouldn’t be here to complain, otherwise, but still) has left me in the rather annoying position of having two different body sizes, fused in the middle by an inconveniently long torso. 

It’s not an actual deformity—I mean, people have never run screaming from the sight of me, or ever even been particularly sympathetic.  I doubt that most people have ever even noticed… although once, a friend in university asked me if I was sitting on my feet when I was sitting across the table from him in the pub.  (I wasn’t.)

Well, the problem has always been just basically my problem.  There are certain things you just can’t wear when you have short legs, a long torso, a top half which is size SMALL and a bottom half which is, at best, size MEDIUM.  You have to be thinking all the time.  There are certain combinations, for example, that are just not possible, no matter what the current fashion may be.  Running shoes or hiking boots and the wrong jeans, say… with a tight-fitting Harley Davidson tee-shirt.  Yeah.  The effect is not good.  It literally looks like two different people stuck together in the middle, and you know that if you went out in public like that, people really would start feeling sorry for you. 

So, you have to compensate in various ways.  High heels help, of course.  In my twenties, I could sprint for blocks, if need be, in high heels.  Guys thought I was alluring, intriguing, sexy, because of the high heels, and the fact that I could and would sprint in them.  (Girls would rarely speak to me.)  Ha!  I was Pulling It Off.  Nobody realized that I was actually, laboriously, compensating for my god-given lack of symmetry.  I would have preferred to be sprinting in running shoes, believe me.  But you have to play the hand you’re dealt. 

It probably isn’t fair, but I’ve always blamed my bottom half rather than my top half for these problems.  Maybe it’s because my brain is in my head, which is on my top half, and I feel like I live wherever my brain happens to be.  Maybe, if my brain were located at the base of my spine, I’d feel differently.  As it is, however, it has always seemed to me that if I could change anything, it would be the bottom end.  Specifically, although it probably isn’t really fair, my ass. 

I did flirt with blaming my breasts for being too small, but honestly, I always looked just fine if you took my picture from the waist up, wearing just about anything.  Or nothing, even.  (Those were the days.)  It’s just that if you tried to take a full-body shot, there would be this incongruous, size MEDIUM, bottom half.  It wasn’t, really, my ass’s fault—I understand this now, sadly, too late—but standing in front of a full-length mirror has always made me want to do a serious edit.  It occurred to me, early on, to get a boob-job, but I’ve always been much too busy, poor, and lazy for elective surgery.  Brushing my hair after taking a shower still seems tedious and inordinately time-consuming, for god’s sake.  It has to be done, but getting breast implants was always so incredibly optional that it was never a serious option. 

Padded shoulders helped for awhile.  But then they went out of style. 

I did think, anyway, that it might be possible to do something about my ass.  To wit:  get rid of it.  Well, most of it.  Standing in front of a full-length mirror and trying to figure out what to cut—this was in the days before Photoshop, but when Photoshop came out, I immediately understood what to do with it—the solution was fairly clear to a pragmatic mind.  Short of cutting myself in half, excising two inches from my torso, and glueing myself back together (way too much work, even if it had been possible), the obvious solution was to get rid of my ass.  Well, most of it. 

So I tried Not Eating. 

Now, Not Eating is something that, you’d think, would be easy for someone who thinks that it’s boring to brush her hair after a shower.  I mean, Not Eating involves not doing something, and I’ve always been in favor of not doing stuff.  In fact, Not Eating can be a great, short-term way to get rid of your ass (most of it), but it turns out that Not Eating isn’t entirely fool-proof either.  If you start Not-Doing something, it turns out that you immediately want to do it.  This leads to angst, and (at best) an even bigger ass than you had before.  I spent a good part of my twenties Not Eating, and eventually had to quit stuff I actually didn’t even mind doing, and take up Alcoholism, just to get back to where I was before:  not Not Eating, with an oversized, annoying ass.

In retrospect, you know, my ass has really dictated a goodly portion of my life.  But after all the Not Eating and so forth, I did finally manage to put my ass, so to speak, behind me.  When you’re in your forties, nobody’s perfect anymore, and people (you) are more forgiving.  You can get on with whatever you were not doing and think about things for weeks at a time that don’t involve the size and shape of your own derriere

But this, too, has its pitfalls.  Apparently.  I don’t know if you can tell where this is going, but here’s the thing.  I have been living in an apartment that doesn’t have a full-length mirror for over a year now.  (I’ve thought about getting one, but this would involve actually doing something, and you know the drill.)  This weekend, I agreed to dogsit a cute little white dog for some friends who wanted to go golfing.  The dog and I had the run of the house.  As we were running around the house (Whee!), I noticed that there was a full-length mirror in one of the bedrooms.  The sight of a full-length mirror rang bells—nay, GONGS—in my head.  I need to have a look at my ass!  It’s been ages since my ass and I have touched base!  Yo, ass!  How ar’ya?

Um.  Hmm.  This is a bit disturbing.  My ass is (get this!) GONE.  Not just most of it.  ALL of it.  It’s not even half-assed.  It’s MIA. 

What the hell?  There’s a place where it used to be.  The underlying bones and the overlying skin are still there.  My short, stumpy legs are still too flabby.  Nothing unusual in that department.  Knees as baggy as ever.  As usual, from the waist up, I look completely normal.  There’s just this small issue of my ass.  I don’t know if you can tell where this is going… but I don’t know where my ass went.  It has disappeared.  Flown the coop.  Taken a powder.  Set sail for parts unknown.  High-tailed it to greener pastures. 

You’d think that I would be happy about this, but hell no.  Upon reflecting upon my reflection, I think that I look too old without my ass.  I miss my ass.  It just figures that, after all we’ve been through together, it would disappear when I wasn’t even paying attention. 

My first thought was to quickly eat something.  Ice cream, Doritos.  Something fattening, to lure my ass back.  But it’s the same problem as ever.  Even with luck, I’d end up with gigantic, huge, quivering thighs, an upset stomach, and only a rudimentary, temporary ass.  The cruel truth is that it’s Over.  I have to accept that my relationship with my ass is done. 

You can call it a matter of Age.  I mean, that is what I am going to call it.  (You have to call it something).  Not that anyone is going to ask.  But if they do, oh GAWD.  I’m already thinking about ways to camouflage the fact that I have no ass.  In jeans, you can’t tell that my ass is missing.  I’ll wear a towel at the beach except when I’m actually in the water.  Yeah, yeah, yeah. 

I shouldn’t say that my relationship with my ass is done.  Jean Paul Sartre, the famous Existentialist philosopher, expressed it wonderfully in Being and Nothingness when he talked about human beings being the only ones who can notice the presence of the absence of things.  He was wrong; for example, the cute white dog obviously misses her owners when they aren’t around—but that’s not the point.  The point is that I miss my ass.  From now on, I am probably always going to feel, acutely, the presence of the absence of my ass. 

If anyone has seen my ass, umm… please send photos.  Tell it I’m sorry.  (I’m not really sorry.  I’m actually annoyed at my ass, as usual.  Nothing has fundamentally changed.  My rear end has been a pain in the rear end since I first noticed it, at 11 or 12, and this disappearing act isn’t surprising.  It’s just typical.)

It would be stretching the truth to say that I’m not a bit bummed.  But I’m keeping (what’s left of) my end up.  And I’ve learned my lesson.  You’d think that the size and shape of your own butt would be a small thing in the overall scheme of things.  But it isn’t.  Until it is. 



Posted by julianyway on 10/01 at 06:39 AM | Permalink
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