A few months ago, I was doing a fitting for a dress I had made for myself. It’s a cool two-piece number, and sort of a bright red/orange version of this one. I was excited to have it done because I don’t often make things for myself.
I went to the tailor who made the original dress, so I wouldn’t have to labor over the details of the design all over again. She’s a lovely woman, who drives me bonkers at times, and always has something to say about my body. These comments would bother me in any other country (still does here sometimes) but people talk about bodies like the weather in Cambodia. “Hey, good morning! Your belly looks fat today! Did you eat a lot this weekend? Hooray!” Or, my personal favorite “You lost weight! Nice in the body, but old in the face.”
I, “lady-old-in-the-face”, took off my shoes as I walked into the tailor’s shop, down a little alley on Mao Tse Tung. The tailor greeted me with a hug, complained about being too busy, as usual, and we got to work on measurements.
Tailor: Chest? Ok, ok , ok. Waist? Yes, ok, ok. Hips? OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH SO BIG! SO BIG BIG BIG BIG BIGGIE BIG!
Cait: Umm, yeah..haha, that’s my butt. It’s big. huh…ha.
Tailor: I like it! So big biggie big big!
Cait: Thanks, I made it myself. Um…ha…um.
Tailor, to girls working in the shop and overcome with excitement: Look! Look! So big big butt! I like it so much!
Girls: Giggle and nod.
The tailor, now kneeling behind me, grabs both butt cheeks and shakes them, up and down, left and right, with gusto.
Note: You know when you see a super giant fluffy dog, and you just want to grab it and fluff it all around? This felt like that.
Cait: No words. Only the nervous emoji face.
She laughed and said “big” about 40 times before she got up and finished doing the measurements, smiling. She was visibly delighted by the fact that my ass was so big she could literally shake it like a Polariod picture.
I am sharing this ridiculous story for a few reasons, for one, it’s really funny. The visual of this still makes me laugh, and want to run away. Two, this bizarre scenario made me think about how I see my own body and how the thing that I have spent a decade trying to reduce, made someone completely lose it with happiness. During the six seconds this was happening (six seconds I won’t soon forget) I was stunned and uncomfortable, but now it’s sort of cool to think that my butt made someone else so happy.
There have been a few pieces recently about body image and how women, no matter their size, tend to have a happy little pile of issues. I have heard the same self-helpy stuff about how all bodies are beautiful, and real women have curves and all that over the years, and it never really resonated. That probably had something to do with the fact that I wouldn’t listen to ANYONE in my 20’s, but whatever. This lovely write up by Garance Dore, and this beautifully candid podcast by Leandra Medine hit me at the right time, and I like how they both talk about acceptance and love for your body.
It’s Friday, I hope you feel awesome in the body you are in today, and go shake your booty around tonight. If you don’t want to do it yourself, I know someone who can do it for you.