Built for Comfort

I’m not fat! I know that. But listen, I’m not 'skinny.' But I’m usually okay with that. When I was twelve, I was skinny. But as many girls afflicted with poor body image, I didn’t think I was skinny. As I got older, I developed my curves and I can say that I’m fairly happy with the end result. One thing that I enjoy - nay, revel in - is my butt. I have a great ass. And I don’t only say this because I can fill out a pair of trousers like nobody’s business, but because my ass is a hero. A Hero!

Last summer my husband and I bought our first house. We lucked out tremendously in the process, ending up with a fully renovated, fully detached home in our favourite neighbourhood. The man who had bought it and flipped it previous to our moving in, had gutted a turn-of-the-century cottage and turned it into a stunning starter home, complete with all the modern conveniences and aesthetic luxuries a young couple could ask for. My favourite part of our little house is the new stair case. You see it as soon as you walk in the front door. It’s a shiny, unblemished staircase of dark wood that contrasts with the white banister and cherry-coloured floors. It’s a work of art.
But allow me to remind you of the dangers of new hardwood: though it may be shiny and beautiful, it is in fact slippery when wet.

I was home alone. I was planning to spend some quality time with my sister and her beautiful young children. I had of course spent the morning scrubbing the kitchen and bathroom and vacuuming the inch of dust that had settled since our family last had visited (God forbid my sister should know that we live on take-out and never do dishes – insert eye roll here.) The house was gloriously clean, but after all that scouring and dusting, I was a sweaty tangled mess. So knowing that my guests would arrive soon, I hopped into the shower to make myself presentable. Now, I’m quite familiar with Murphy’s Law, I married an Irishman, but somehow I keep believing that I’m actually above Murphy’s Law. So of course, as soon as I start shampooing my hair, I hear the doorbell ring. Never fails.
Knowing that my sister would be waiting, wrangling my two-year-old niece and holding a car seat weighed down by my six-month-old nephew, I opted to get out of the shower, soapy-eyed and greet her. I peeked out past the shower curtain to realize that in my cleaning efficiency of the morning, I had taken all the towels down to the laundry room leaving nothing but toilet paper to dry myself. So, dripping wet I grabbed my husband’s robe and went for the stairs.

Now, I distinctly remember my foot making contact with the top stair, but beyond that the trip down was a blur, a blur of family photos in the stairwell, terry-cloth rope burn in my armpits and the rhythmic drum solo that was my ass thudding and skidding down the stairs. I thought I wouldn’t stop. I thought that had the door been open I’d have skidded down the front steps across the street and into the neighbour’s garden. I hurdled down the stairs at break-neck speed, and in an effort to brace my fall, managed to stick my foot into the banister. Though it mangled my toe, I finally came to halt. The robe, which had concealed my modesty at the top of the stairs, was now up around my neck somewhere. My sister was panicking, having heard the kerfuffle and seen a muddled version of the event through the frosted glass of our front door. I lay there quietly for a moment. I needed to make sure all my digits were still mobile. Fingers? Check. Arms? Check? Legs? Check. My sister was trying desperately to open the locked door, thinking that in that moment of silent am-I-still-alive that I had fallen to my death.

“Oh my God, are you okay?!” She shouted through the glass. I got up and wrapped the robe upside down and sideways around my body, wearily got to my feet.

“I’m fine,” I was surprised, “I’m actually fine.” Ever the gracious hostess, I sheepishly opened the door and my sister was almost in tears. She threw her arms around me, checking me up and down. I couldn’t believe it myself. I was actually okay. My foot throbbed a little and my butt was a might bit tender, but I had survived a naked, flailing, death-defying fall down a steep flight of stairs. Had I been that skinny twelve-year-old I once was, I’d have cartainly broken something, but because I possess the well-earned natural padding that I do, I was alright. MY ASS SAVED MY ASS!!!

More recently, while performing in a play in West-end Toronto, I had another most spectacular slip and fall during a curtain call. The brilliant mix of straw, dust and water on a painted floor makes for fantastic comedy. Though embarrassed, again I survived. Just fine. I only wish I could’ve busted out some awesome break dancing moves to recoup – as Mr. T reminded me in 1984 on his “Be Somebody… or Be Somebody’s Fool” motivational videos. ‘Butt’ in the “End,’ MY ASS SAVED MY ASS… AGAIN.

So ladies, instead of complaining about our thunder thighs, our pot bellies or fat arses… let us show them the respect they deserve, because – you never know – they might one day save your life.

What I learned from this: Junk in the Trunk can save you from a tail bone fracture, so have that last cannoli, darlings, take an extra scoop of ice cream once in a while and hell, Super Size that crap while you’re at it, you just might need it one day to break your fall. I am bootylicious and PROUD!

For a fantastic old blues tune on the subject, google "Built for Comfort" as sung by Howlin' Wolf.

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  • twisty


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