Some years ago, I read in British Glamour that Kylie Minogue could crack walnuts with her bum cheeks. A blend of perplexity and amusement stirred inside of me as I slammed the tea on the table and re-read her personal trainer’s statement through stained pages. Was he joking? Was he serious? I could not tell. Was it even humanly possible to crack nuts with one’s own bum cheeks? Would that apply to all nuts? I could only presume that really small nuts, paradoxically, presented more of a challenge.
I pondered on this last point for a long time, lips creased into a smiling grimace crowned by a forehead scrunched up hard, trying to picture this cracking. I proceeded to my bedroom, pulled my dress up and strained my neck, looking down and sideways at my own bum. Wrapped up in reasonably expensive black lace, I was not looking at two perfectly formed little peaches, inviting, juicy and deserving of those knickers. The knickers were defaced by their own contents, more kitchen foil strained over over-sized turkey than Agent Provocateur tease adorning the wonders of nature.
Two gigantic pomegranates past their best stretched the lace to its maximum give, every dip and dimply curve cruelly highlighted by the overhead light I since got rid of. I turned around some more and started clenching and releasing my bumcheeks, clench, release, clench, release, over and over. I could feel the burning pull from deep inside my back-side but the reflection did not seem to budge despite the great effort. At a push, at a very strong push, I could barely detect the lace collapsing in places as some more deep dimples embroidered my skin, like large, uneven waves on a vast, corrugated sea. I stopped and stared, holding the squeeze and then releasing it once more. Was I really in such denial as to think that good underwear alone could turn me from enormously bottomed Venus De Milo cast-off into dinky and tasty, à la Dita Von Teese? I rearranged my dress as Laura Ashley intended and returned to the kitchen.
Up until then, I had always been aware of my very undesirable backside. Yet, it is thanks to that seminal article that I am now grateful it is behind me, so that I never ever run the risk of catching another glimpse of it. It was evident then, as it is now, that this bum was no nutcracker, it was a dog’s bed. Like a favourite cushion, it was lucky to get the occasional plump-up, usually with a body brush and hurriedly under the shower, only to be squashed back into submission within minutes. My bum was a built-in Linus’s blanket; if there were any muscles in there, they had been flattened into threadbare submission by a lifetime of sedentary activities.
Merv has been out of action for two months. I keep slobbing it on the hateful exercise bike. I haven’t been near the pink pants. My birthday is fast approaching. Enters the artillery.