When people ask me, “Why figure skating?” I tend not to respond with “Sometimes I wish I was Johnny Weir.” While true, not everyone knows who he is, and those who do sometimes find him abrasive or repugnant (one person’s fabulousness is another person’s famewhoring). Nor do I respond with the equally true, “I have a small obsession with self-improvement and figure skating offers me the opportunity to always have harder and harder challenges” because that’s a mouthful and people would probably worry about my mental health.
So instead when people ask, “Figure skating? Really?” I say, “Yeah! I decided I finally wanted to have an ass.” Six months ago I did physically possess an ass, but it was not the ass I wanted. I don’t make it a habit of obsessing about body parts. I really don’t like being the girl who goes on a bad date and bursts out with “It’s my hips, isn’t it?” ala Tai from Clueless. But there are certain inalienable truths, and my butt was less than stellar. It had the usual problem of expanding left to right, but it also, inexplicably, up and down. If I hadn’t done something to stop it, there would have no longer been any distinguishable difference between my butt and my thighs, because though it was expansive it was also as flat as Kansas.
I had taken up running for a year, which gave me a lot more endurance and confidence and some pretty good looking calves, but my ass didn’t care. I could run six miles and my ass would have just shrugged and continued doing its best imitation of the Great Plains. Elliptical machines were similarly a bust because well, I don’t particularly enjoy being on them, particularly while precariously perched backwards and trying not to look like I’m six seconds away from falling off of it (even though I am). I did Carmen Electra’s Strip Aerobics (don’t tell my mom). I did bridge exercises and lunges, and a five minute butt exercise I read once in a magazine and carried in the back of my head for years.
But it was all to no avail. I could wage whatever attack I wanted to, but it seemed like genetics had already won the war before I even showed up to the battlefield. I got used to it, and luckily, I’m a huge example of “out of sight, out of mind.” So long as I wasn’t looking in a full length mirror I could manage not to feel too depressed about it. (And there were plenty of other things to celebrate, if you don’t mind me saying.)
And then suddenly: figure skating. Google any figure skater and take a look at the rear view. Chances are you’ll find they’re carrying some junk in the trunk, but it’s less junk and more solid muscle. Tall, short, delicately framed, or stoutly built, male, or female, it didn’t matter. They all had an ass they could be proud of. A hypothesis formed. If I stuck with the skating, maybe I could get even a pale imitation and start actually filling out a pair of jeans.
There’s not too much difference between watching grass grow and watching an ass grow. They both happen so slowly that you don’t really notice it until one day you need to mow the lawn or you put on one of your pencil skirts and think, “Oh god, I’ve gained weight! Why doesn’t this fit anymore?” For a few weeks I was silently upset at the idea that I had finally started to gain the weight I’d been holding at bay for two years. Until one day Kate looked over and said, “You’re getting such a cute little ass.”
“Really?” I asked. I was quite pleased at the thought but didn’t really believe it. Best friends tell the truth, but they also sometimes say the truth in the biggest, nicest way possible. I immediately went in search of my arch nemeses, the full length mirror. The full length mirror would never, and had never lied.
Lo and behold, people, there was an ass. Now I’m not going to say I’ve got anything back there to rival J.Lo. And certainly not my beloved Johnny Weir. But in a way it’s kind of like how Texans think we know mountains from mountains until we actually see the Rockies or some other real mountain range and go “What the hell is that? It’s huge!” Right now I’ve got my molehill, and I’m happy. But I’ve got my hobby and in a full year, who knows, maybe I’ll get that mountain.