| 16.2°C Dublin

In which I look into the rear-view mirror

A FRIEND of a friend once told me about a rather ingenious seduction technique that she employs. Well, it's not so much seduction as it is deception. But I suppose the two are comfy bedfellows...

Many moons ago, with the assistance of some strategically positioned mirrors and excellent lighting, she took a photograph of her bottom and texted it to her then-lover.

The sentiment was very well received, indeed. So well received, in fact, that she decided not to follow conventional wisdom and 1) sober up; 2) delete the image immediately and 3) issue a lighthearted death threat to the beneficiary. 'Ur life won't be worth living if you show this to anyone. LOL!'

Instead she decided to save it for posterior-ity, so to speak. Her rationale being that this photo was the magnum opus of her body of work.

This was her Callipygian Venus, and she knew, at 24, that her bottom would never look as good again. Gravity would soon take its toll and it was, quite literally, all downhill from there. So she decided to keep it as a memento of what once was.

Would you not be concerned that someone would see it, I asked her. She looked at me incredulously. "Are you joking? It's my proudest moment – get it out there!"

It gets better. She still has this photo, and she still sends it to boyfriends to this day. They have no idea that they are receiving a vintage edition of her arse.

Rather, they all think that they have awakened her inner minx, that she has been compelled to create this risque photo for their eyes only.

Rejection

I wish I had a photograph to mark my bottom's heyday. I wish I had appreciated my bottom during its heyday. All those misspent hours of squats, and lunges and donkey kicks when, really, I should have been wearing Daisy Dukes to work.

The first time I became aware of my bottom (or indeed that anyone would even notice my bottom) was at Irish College at age 14, during an era when you had to suffer the ignominy of rejection via a middleman who went off asking potential suitors 'Will you shift me mate?' on your behalf.

I asked my own mate to ask a likely buachaill if he would have any interest in shifting me, and off he went to broker the deal. He came back a few days later with the news, and delivered it as only a man could: "He said you have a nice face but a fat arse." And so began a teenhood spent always wrapping jumpers around my waist.

But then something happened. A woman called Jennifer Lopez came along. She was a singer, but people were more interested in her backside than her vocal range.

It was magnificent. Absolutely ginormous, mind, yet utterly luscious and universally coveted. Hers was an arse that launched a million surgical procedures and made the bottom the new trophy body part. (Angelina Jolie would later do the same for pillowy lips; Michelle Obama for uber-toned arms.)

The question of the day became 'does my bum look big enough in this?' We discovered that it didn't matter if you had a fat arse, so long as it was shapely. A huge shapely bottom is far better than a small flat one... or a fat, flat one, for that matter.

But there was a problem. Despite Father Ted's assertion, not all Irish women are blessed with lovely bottoms. We seem to lack the necessary scaffolding.

Flat arses are a distinctly Irish phenomenon. Many of them look as though they were "whacked with a giant frying pan" as comedian Doug Stanhope put it during his ill-fated visit to the Cat Laughs Festival in Kilkenny in 2006.

Is it our genetic heritage, or our cultural climate? Walk into any pharmacy in France and you'll be bombarded by at least three life-size advertising placards for cellulite creams that promise to smooth the derriere.

Walk down the Ipanema Beach and you'll see plenty of Brazilian bum lifts – they invented them, after all.

Yes, we seem to be more of a boob nation. But I'm a bum woman, myself. Indeed, I would subscribe to the evolutionary theory that the reason the breasts are erotic is because the cleavage resembles the bottom.

This, of course, goes back to apes and the way in which they like to get it on. In fact, I believe it was Charles Darwin himself who first said: "I like big butts and I cannot lie."

But I digress. Genetic heritage or cultural climate? I'd go with the latter, and blame the weather, as I do for just about everything.

What's the point of toning and honing your bottom when it's cosseted in black opaque tights for the better part of the year?

Bootcamp

This year is different, though. After the heatwave, we need to be prepared for every type of weather. So when I stayed at the magical Lyrath Estate Hotel in Kilkenny last weekend, I was instantly seduced by a spa treatment called Bootcamp for Butts (I know, the cheek of me).

"Lift butt in one hour!" promised the marketing bumph. "Improve skin's texture with super intense exfoliation and fruit acid peel for a smooth, soft, sexy rear view."

Where do I sign?

So while my friend opted for a relaxing neck, back and shoulder massage, I was stepping into a pair of paper knickers before lying prostrate on a table.

A no-nonsense Lithuanian woman, who wanted to see results almost as much as I did, kneaded my "boo-tocks" into every possible contortion. She even applied a mask – grotesquely luxuriant, but strangely relaxing. Besides, I was too busy imagining my new life with my smooth, soft, sexy rear to care about the apparent indignity of the process.

The only problem was that I couldn't get a good look at the finished result. And I was dammed if I was going to take a selfie of my arse – even I have limits.

"Do you want to see my bum?" I asked my friend back in the hotel room.

"Oh yes, give us a look," she cheered.

I gingerly lifted my bath towel.

"Gorgeous!" she happily enthused.

"Really?"

"Yes, honestly. I'd almost take a bite out of it."

I later took a selfie of it, and I'd be inclined to agree.


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