There’s nothing wrong with my backside per se.
It has several ardent admirers, but even the intoxicated appreciation of the Toothless Vagrants Local 310 could not hide the sad truth: While I’ve got plenty of boom boom up front, I am noticeably lacking in the posterior pow.
When I was in Mexico not only was I surrounded by Latinas of all shapes and sizes, sporting big, bouncing backsides (many trying to catch the attention of my Hot Latin Boy and giving me the stinkeye when he was clearly not having it), one of the villas up the street had been converted into a plastic surgery recovery house where, according to my neighbor, 8 out of 10 of them were there for butt enhancements.
I reminded myself that as a rule, I do not have body issues and Something Must Be Done before I drove myself insane.
I couldn’t reasonably change how it looked and besides, there was nothing objectively wrong with it.
It’s not that nice perky bubble, but it’s strong, firm and still relatively young. Sure there’s cellulite but, I’ve had cellulite since the fourth grade. That dimpled ship sailed before glasnost and it’s not coming back. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.
The only thing I could really do is change the way I felt.
In the movie version of this story there would be a montage of hilarious yet endearing moments of me consciously trying to bond with my backside, possibly with a Sonny and Cher soundtrack but what really went down is this:
I saw Orfeu Negro.
Orfeu Negro (Black Orpheus) is a 1959 masterpiece from French director Marcel Camus that sets the Greek tragedy of Orpheus and Eurydice in a shanty town outside Rio de Janeiro during the dizzying days before Carnival. It’s a beautiful piece of cinema, but what stuck out –literally and figuratively– were the behinds.
The extras were women from the local favela and samba schools and they all walked around with this amazing regal walk, carrying their rumps like royal orbs, especially the older, fatter women and especially while they were dancing.
I needed to learn to samba.
One night, I prevailed upon one of the waiters at the only restaurant in my village to take me to a place in a nearby town that offered the Brazilian export and we went, I in my white dress and he in approximately six gallons of Aspen cologne.
The club was loud and there were chickens in the parking lot.
They did NOT serve gin and tonics.
Gentle reader, I do not think it will surprise you when I say I am not the finest samba dancer in the state of Baja California. Frankly, I wasn’t all that surprised myself. I WAS surprised I was so actively, aggressively bad.
Again, in the movie version I’d go from hapless gabacha to samba queen in the span of a few minutes, thanks to the instructive caresses of my sexy Latin waiter and we’d realize, despite our social and economic differences and his flagrant abuse of drug store fragrance, we were Meant To Be Together.
Meaningful exposition of self.
Jump cut to bedroom scene.
Slow fade to black.
What actually happened was this:
“YOUR BUTT IS IN JAIL!”
“YOUR BUTT. IT IS IN JAIL! LET IT GO!!”
“NO I ALREADY HAVE A DRINK!”
“PUSH YOUR BUTT OUT, LOOSE! LOOSE!!”
“WHAT??? TEXAS!! I DON’T THINK I’M DOING THIS RIGHT!!”
And then somehow –and honestly I have no idea how– it happened. I found my inner Brazilian butt.
No one was surprised as I when things started shaking ’round the back 40. Maybe I was tired or maybe it was cachaca margaritas, but I started channeling those broad-beamed broads from Orfeu Negro and it felt so good, so strange and wild and not even remotely Episcopalian that I couldn’t help but let those months of ugly self-talk steam out of me with my sweat.
(French theatrical trailer for Orfeu Negro. Seriously. Watch it.)
I was still the worst samba girl in the club, my waiter friend, while admittedly very sexy, still smelled like my first boy/girl dance circa 1992 and no amount of magical thinking is going to give me one of those fantastic Latin backsides, but that’s not the point.
The point is I made friends with my body, with a part of my body I wasn’t –even if was just a very short while– especially fond of.
I didn’t do it through external praise or by changing what it fundamentally (ha) was. I did it by finding a way to make “LOOK WHAT I CAN DO!” trump “Look what I don’t have!” and if I can do it, you can do it; and if you can do it, why don’t we all start right now?
Next time I don’t want to scare the chickens.
PSSST: Do you follow @missplumcake on Twitter? If not, today might be a good day to start. I’m answering readers’ questions all day. Personal, professional, just keep it (moderately) clean! –ed.