As you stroll around town with your girlfriend, you have seen them duck-tail walking and sashaying just in front of you and you were left in a quandary: you could not pretend to ignore the woman walking in front of you because the size of her behind commanded you to look.
But you felt embarrassed to stare at that behind, which, in most cases, is deliberately and amazingly stuffed in tight, undersized jeans that are crying to burst from the pressure exerted from within.
As you try to find somewhere else to look, your girlfriend is looking at you; she just wants to know if you see where you are going.
So, in most cases, men do the two without seeming to do either. They will look at the behind with roving eyes that take in everything as they pan away to some useless object before locking the gigantic swaying behind in their peripheral vision and enjoying the view without being accused of being a pervert.
Some of these behinds are just too humongous to ignore yet looking at them, again, appears to be a sick thing to do. Naughty, Naughty!
And there are times when pretending not to look or feigning disinterest actually betrays you and proves your embarrassed interest in the body human.
I have noticed that things related to sex are considered “dirty” by many. This makes people guiltily reluctant to call a spade a spade, and this leads to the creation of numerous synonyms to sort of ‘soften the blow’.
Thus, the little boy has his “thing” out because he wants to wee wee and when people are said to be sleeping together, both are awake.
And, of course, we talk about manhood and private parts, never calling a spade a spade.
In the course of researching for this article, I came across no less than 30 synonyms for the word ‘buttocks’, which, to soften the blow, we politely call ‘the behind’.
Among other names, buttocks are also called: backside, bumper, bottom, buns, butt, rear end, rump, seats, cheeks, posterior, the fanny, etc.
But my favourite has to be ‘permanent vertical smile.’
I was prompted to do a piece on these two mounds when I read a May 6 Reuters news item by reporter Julie Steenhuysen headlined: ‘Scientists find something good about a big bottom.’
I was intrigued since I have always had, shall we say, a soft spot for big bottoms, pardon the expression.
The report quoted Harvard University researchers as saying that a type of fat that accumulates around the hips and bottom may actually offer some protection against diabetes.
Whoa! And I have always thought that our bottoms are just over-sized shock absorbers!
The researchers said that subcutaneous fat, or fat that collects under the skin, helped to improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar.
The findings said that mice that got transplants of this type of fat deep into their abdomens lost weight and their fat cells shrank, even though they made no changes in their diet or activity levels.
“It was a surprising result,” said Dr. Ronald Kahn of Harvard Medical School in Boston, whose study appears in the journal Cell Metabolism. “We actually found it had a beneficial effect, and it was especially true when you put it inside the abdomen.”
Kahn went on to say that he started the study to find out why fat located in different parts of the body seems to have different risks of metabolic disease such as diabetes.
The Reuters report said that researchers have known for some time that fat that collects in the abdomen ÔÇö known as visceral fat ÔÇö can raise a person’s risk of diabetes and heart disease, while people with pear-shaped bodies, with fat deposits in the buttocks and hips, are less prone to these disorders.
“Now it turns out that subcutaneous fat ÔÇö fat found just under the skin ÔÇö may be actively protecting people from metabolic disease.”
Said Kahn: “I think it’s an important result because not only does it say that not all fat is bad, but I think it points to a special aspect of fat where we need to do more research,” he said.
The report goes on to say that Kahn’s team is working to find the substances produced in subcutaneous fat that provide the benefit with the hope of developing a drug that might copy this effect. Although fat is known to produce several hormones, Kahn said none of the known hormones appeared to be involved in this process.
“If we can capture those (substances), we might have an opportunity to convert them into drugs or use them as guides to help develop drugs,” he said.
The Sci-Tech dictionary says these huge muscles (buttocks) are mostly concerned with moving and stabilizing the hip joint.
The largest is the gluteus maximus (‘biggest in the buttock’), which is important in locomotion. This explains why some women jiggle and “swing their behinds” although some, for obvious reasons, exaggerate their walk quite a bit.
“The buttocks are an ever-shifting symbolic site in the body,” says Sander Gilman in Difference and pathology: stereotypes of sexuality, race, and madness, (Cornell University Press). “They are associated with the organs of reproduction…and with the mechanism of locomotion. Never do they represent themselves. Indeed, the very problem of whether they are singular or plural is a sign of their nature as a floating signifier.”
It is also noted that buttocks allow primates to sit upright without needing to rest their weight on their feet as four-legged animals do.
“Some baboons, though otherwise fur-covered, have characteristic naked callosities on their buttocks. While women and boys generally have smooth, so-called ‘baby-bottoms’, adult men often have varying degrees of hair growth, as on other parts of their body.”
An internet information site, Answers.com, says that it is no coincidence that the English verb ‘to spank’ is the only one specifically meant for physical discipline of a specific part of the body, as, of course, we witness daily at the kgotla and the Chiefs’ courts where malcontents are given very legal spankings on their bums.
Thus, the behind is an accessory of law because whenever the State decrees that someone be beaten, it means only one place.
“Various other languages have terms specifically referring to spanking; in many punitive traditions, the buttocks are the preferential target for painful lessons, from educational to judicial, as offering them for punishment (especially divested) adds a psychological dose of embarrassment and even sexual humiliation to the pain, which can be meted out with less risk of long-term corporal harm than elsewhere.”
Then I came across this ad:
“Men and women want great looking buttocks. If you cannot get the buttocks you are exercising for, then you can get buttocks augmentation or buttocks lift surgery.
Do you want to look great in your jeans and bathing suit?
Is your butt too small, too big, too saggy, too flabby … or something else? The right cardio exercise and weight training activities can make a big difference in your buttocks and help you get buns of steel…”
Golly, going through all this for me?
Geez, sorry! I got so caught up in my favourite subject that I forgot what the dictionary says.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines buttocks as “…the back of a hip that forms one of the fleshy parts on which a person sits.”
Oh, no! Ain’t it a shame that all that people can do with all the gorgeous behinds we see is…just sit on them?
I love your permanent vertical smile; be seated, please, and let’s talk!