What the butt?

6 Oct

He used my dryer one afternoon and left some of his clothes behind. (Cough, cough.) That’s how I found out my boyfriend occasionally wore padded butt underwear.

In my memory of the incident, these buxom briefs practically boomeranged from the dryer when I pulled out the load of clothes. A panty Pandora that sling shot into my hands.

It took me a moment to comprehend what I was holding. A foam-filled fanny that gave my main squeeze apparently more for others to squeeze.

Beige in color, this fanny fanfare was made from that thick nylon manufactured exclusively for foundation garments (Although surely there are other uses for this fabric — perhaps in space?). These panties had two big cups in the back. Cheek cups, so to speak, that provided for the ass the same type of definition a bra can give the boob.

Like Shirley from Laverne& Shirley, my boyfriend wore a hubba hubba hiney. Hello, Wonderbutt.

Shirley, who always wanted a bigger booty, with her good pal, Laverne.

Shirley, who always wanted a bigger booty, with her good pal, Laverne.

“Why do you have underwear like this?” I asked him.

“My mother gave them to me,” he said. They were to relieve his hernia pain, he said, a side effect from his job of lifting and toting furniture.

“Your hernia is not in your butt,” I pointed out. I knew who I was talking to — a man who had been known to rival most European soccer teams in his use of hair product. On the other hand, a padded butt?

I shouldn’t have been so surprised. This summer the New York Times reported that the number of men receiving cosmetic butt enhancements has doubled since 1997. Maybe that’s why I remember finding this pair of underwear dashing out of the dryer – they were like a gender-bending genie jumping out of a bottle.

Years ago when I was a police reporter at a small-town newspaper, a cop going undercover as a gay man made sure to wear a pink shirt. Nowadays, he could put that same button-down on and go undercover as … well, most any guy.

Times have certainly changed. A good friend and her husband get pedicures together. Whose parents ever did that?

Likewise the middle school-aged boys on my son’s soccer team now wear cleats that flash yellow, turquoise, and magenta. And a fellow drinker at the neighborhood wine bar a few weeks back had such finely coiffed eyebrows, it become a source of conversation for the group of us (women and men) gathered.

And why not? It’s always been acceptable for women to color their gray, conceal a pimple, or pad the sag. What’s normal maintenance for women is vanity for men.

How fair is that?

Choose your padding, gents.

Choose your padding, gents.

But if my boyfriend was padding his pants, why wasn’t he more up front about what he was packing behind? Dark and dashing, he was a handsome man with swimmer’s shoulders, a sculpted chest, and tight abs. However, he didn’t have much of a booty.

I’m not one to talk, though. There are a group of women in my Zumba class who wear matching T-shirts with their exercise nicknames on them. I could never be part of this clique, because I don’t want to wear a shirt that says, “Butt-less Wonder.”

That was the problem: After I found the underwear, I started to notice how much time my boyfriend spent primping before we went out. And when we finally made it to a restaurant how often he commented on others looked — sometimes cruelly.

So, while I was more forgiving of what others perceived as their own physical flaws — My boyfriend didn’t have much of a butt, hey, so what? – he didn’t share the same outlook.

He wanted everything and everyone around him to look perfect. Sigh. That was one of the reasons why I ultimately sent him and his padded pants packing.

Maybe in this modern day and age, women can expect to date a man who couple books at the spa. But his vanity has to leave room for me in the chair next to him.

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