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The Best Thing About My Ass Is That It's Behind Me
By Lisa Ann Walter
HarperOneCopyright © 2011 Lisa Ann Walter
All right reserved.
1. Clang! D'ja hear that? That was the first shameless celeb reference. And there'll
be more. You might wanna wear a hard hat, 'cause names will be dropped.
2. Just go with it. One of the things I hate about myself is my age. Or, more
accuratelyI hate that my job description involves me having to lie about my age.
My kids have been told: "Mommy is twenty-nine. She was twenty-nine when you
were born, she'll be twenty-nine when you graduate college." We don't celebrate my
birthday anymore. It is now referred to as "Second Mother's Day."
I am a self-loathing expert. If there were a self-loathing
OlympicsI'd be on a Wheaties box with a bunch of gold medals
hanging around my neck. There's not one part of me that I haven't
tried to enhance, reduce, enlarge, shave off, shave down, suck in,
suck out, lift, separate, straighten, curl, pluck, bleach, tan, tone
down, fluff up, de-wrinkle, or just plain change. And guess what?!
Yup. Still find things to self-snark about.
Except for my calves. They're fine. They're the perfect size for my
legs and have a "diamond" shape to them. I didn't even know that
that was a "thing" or that I should want it. Until Adam Sandler
pointed it out at a comedy event in 1990.1 Who knew Happy
Gilmore was a calf freak. Or that he was gonna become such a
big star? Had I known, I would have been happy to let him pet
them. Of course this was 1990 and I was fifteen, so it would've
Now, I'm looking at the book jacket right now and, seriously. WTF!?
Why do I hate myself? I look pretty darn good. Of course there was
a boatload of professional stylists running around plus Rockin'
Raul, my insanely talented and entertaining Hair/Makeup Diva . . .
and probably some photo shopping going on. OK, definitely some
photo shopping. Plus, I wore stockings to cover the lumpy bits and
cellulite. Of course I didI'm on a book cover for God's sake. In full
view of everyone at the airport. (Or checkout counter. Or Slurpee
machine. I don't know where all they're gonna sell this.)
But overall? . . . not bad! In fact in most parts of the country I'm a
babe. Not L.A., mind you. In L.A. I'm sort of a troll. Seriously. In
New York, D.C., Atlanta . . . sureI can still stop traffic if the outfit
is right and I'm wearing sunglasses (you know, to hide my alleged
age). Hollywood . . . not so much. There's no hard hats miming grabbing
my ass when I walk by a construction site out here. Nuh-uh.
In L.A. every other girl that walks down the street's a
six-foot-tall blonde who weighs three pounds and two of
'em are tits. Because:
In L.A. everyone is perfect. If not when they arrive, well then
immediately afterwards. I mean like five minutes after the
exprom queenslashwannabe reality star lands at LAX,
she jumps in a rental car and goes to a one-hour drive-thru
breast-implant store. Jiffy Boob.
In L.A. you can't find a nice, normal, regular guy. A guy
who will love you. And cherish you. And play Spank the
Catholic Schoolgirl with you. The trouble is that guys in L.A.
are spoiled. L.A. is like a theme park for men. It's "Puss Is-
land." There's always some forty-year-old guy sporting some
twenty-year-old girl with three-year-old boobs and lips that
still have the tag hanging off of 'em.
3. OK, there go my imaginary backup singers who respond to every statement with
annoying questions. Like the Ike-ettes or the Supremes. Shut up, Supremes, I'm
making broad sweeping generalizations. Wish you guys could see the dance moves,
thoughthey're fabulous! And the wigs are fierce.
Self-Loathing Is for Losers!!
In L.A. grandmas wear size 2s and have bone-thin yoga
arms. Which is just weird. I'm East Coast Italian. Grandmas
aren't supposed to have bone-thin yoga arms. Grandmas are
supposed to have big fat mamma-jamma arms. That you could
swing from if you wanted to play . . . or take a little nappy
on if you get tired. Or if she's driving you around and she
stops shortshe can clothesline you and the swinging arm-fat
works as an airbag. That's how big grandma arms should be.
So why do I hate me? I mean it's not like I popped outta the womb
this way. But I am a woman in America, so I have to hate myself.
We all do! "But why, Lisa Ann? Why do we have to hate ourselves?"
I hear from the smart, charming, and perfectly attractivebut terribly
confusedwomen who live in my head.3 Why? Why the shame
spiral? Why are we all so darn hard on ourselves?
Because if we weren'tour entire economy would collapse! I
meaneven more! You think the Wall Street Meltdown was bad?
Or the Real Estate Death Spiral? The Banker Bailout? Those
are NOTHING compared to the fallout we'll face if the "Beauty
Boycott" ever happens. Think about itif we start accepting
ourselves, we're looking at a Redken Recession! A Clinique Collapse!
The Big Maybelline Crash of 2011! What'll happen to poor
little Sally Hansen?!! And what about all of those unemployed
manicurists wandering the streets with nothing to do? What will
become of them? Not to mention the devastating domino effect.
The bottom would completely drop out of the plastic-Buddha
market! It would spell financial disaster for the entire planet!
4. There go the backup singers again. I'm going to rename them the "Lis-ettes."
So, if it's on you, they've found a way to make you think it probably
sucks. "They," by the way, is the entire Beauty Industrial Complex:
Fashion. Fitness. Diet Books. Tabloid and Women's Magazines.
Plastic Surgery. Hair Extensions/Color/Maintenance. For the purposes
of this book (and feel free to use it in your everyday life from
now on) "they" will henceforth be referred to as "The Screaming
Meanies" or, even better, "The S/M" . . . you know, to save time. The
connection to pain and humiliation is purely incidental.
The self-"improvement" of the American woman is a multi-trillion-
dollar industry. "They"or, sorry . . . "the S/M"spend vast amounts
of money convincing "us" that whatever we areit's not quite good
enough. "The S/M" employ countless numbers of people whose
livelihood depends on whether or not you pop for eyelash extensions.
Your mother's in on it too, by the way. You just can't possibly do
everything well enough to please your mother. You'll get close, but
then she'll decide that no matter what your many accomplishments
are, you'd be a better person with a perm.
Even though no one's been able to actually get a perm since 1987.
Now, don't misunderstand me. It's not because your mom hates
younot at all. Your mother harangues you (you heard me!
"Harangues"I got it from my mother!) because she LOVES you.
"But, Lisa Ann. That doesn't make sense! Why would haranguing
us into a bad perm be a loving thing to do?"4
I know, I know. It's a paradox. But, really it's because Mom loves you
that she cannot let you be happy with yourself. If you're OK just
being you, it would mean everything that she was raised to believe
5. OK, OK, Mom. You're right about other things, too. (My mother also lives in my
head. Yours, too. Well, not MY mother. Or maybe she does. She's awfully loud.)
Self-Loathing Is for Losers!!
by her perm-sporting, Playtex-r be-girdled mother was just plain
wrong! And what would that lead to? An alternate universe where
up is down and down is up and cats are dogsand your mother is
wrong?! That must not be! Your mother can't be wrong! Then what?
You'll start putting your wet finger into sockets! Touching your
"area" willy-nilly! Eating snacks throughout the day, ruining your
appetite . . . heeyyyy . . . turns out that one actually is good for you.
But, to be fair, she was right about the part where the world is
easier for very pretty people.5 Moms have seen it in action, and
they know that being good-looking is a whole lot easier than not.
All moms want the best life for their kids. Doors open easier for
the people that "the S/M" have picked as perfect. Moms think we
started out perfectit's the world wants us all to be somebody else.
Preferably Angelina Jolie. Don't believe me? If you or I ran around
behaving like Angelina Jolie with our current faces, it would get a
whole different reaction.
Nothing is off-limits. You can never fix everything enough. The
minute you get your head above water about one thing, they let
you know that twelve other things about you suck. It's like playing
Self-Esteem Whack-A-Mole. "You're eyelashes aren't thick enough!
You need Latisse!" OK, I'll use Latisse. "BANG! Now what you need
is Fake Bake." OK, I'll do a couple of Orbitz sessions . . . "BANG!
Good for you, but your pores are HUGE!" But I just got done with the
spray-tanning. I look like an Oompa Loompa . . . "BANG! Are you
spiritually and physically jacked up? You need yoga!" OK, I'll take yoga.
"BANG!" No? Pole-dancing? "BANG! PILATES!" But I just signed
up for pole-dancing! "BANG! You need BRAZILIAN . . . well, pretty
much all things Brazilian. Wax. Blowout. Butt-cheek lift. BANG!"
6. Sorry to get all technical on you. Dad was a physicist for NASA, so I'm up on the
I give up. Somebody just let me know when "the S/M" invent the
final thing, tell me how much it's gonna cost, and I'll write the
Bump-its and Botox and BronzingOh My!
How many more things are they going to come up with that we can
laser, by the way? Or lasers to do it with?
Fraxel. Elos. Erbium. NLite. Vbeam. CML: All designed to . . . um
. . . melt your face off.
Diode. Alexandrite. YAG. Ruby. EpiLight: Hair removal.
TRIA: In-home hair-removal system. In-home laser. Really? Can
also be used to entertain the cat. 'Til all his hair falls out.
Didn't lasers start out being used for space-aged stuff?6 Then
quickly adopted by Dr. No to torture James Bond? Advancing to
entertain stoners to the strains of Pink Floyd in planetariums the
world over? Now you're aiming it at my "bikini area"? Put on Dark
Side of the Moon at least.
Speaking of moon . . .
My Personal Big Issue? My Personal Big Ass
So I grew up hating my ass. For years I'd tell anybody who'd listenmy girlfriends, therapists, bank tellers, strangers on a bus
7. Uh-uhbefore you start arguing, ask Tyra. Tyra with the big, beautiful booty
and a nasty hair-extension habit. She's created a hair monster. They should call her
8. Sometimes they're just lying to get you to pick one thing from the mountain of
wardrobe piled on your bed so ya'll can get to the party before the spinach dip goes.
But usually they mean it.
Self-Loathing Is for Losers!!
. . . whoeverthat I hate my ass. The only good thing about my
ass is that it's behind me and I don't have to look at it all the time.
And I'm not the only one who thinks like this. All women hate
Well, hang on. Let me rephrase. Not all women. White women hate
their ass. Black women hate their hair.
Girlfriends will argue with you, like all good gf's should: "Are you
kidding? I wish I had your ass! I wish I looked like you in jeans."
Usually they mean it, too.8 "You're stunning. That guy at the bar
was just talking to me to get to you!" You know how we do. But
don't be fooled, they snark on themselves, too.
"We get it, we get it," the backup singers harmonize"We all hate on
ourselves! But why should we read this book if you hate yourself as
much as we do? Why not get our money back and get our eyebrows
threaded at the mall instead?" Well, that's a good question, Lis-ettes.
Take five while I give you my answer:
The Olden Days
Remember back in the day? When there were four TV stations and
twelve McDonald's? When we traded sex for promotions or marriage
(the way God intended). Back before Internet pornwhen you
9. In my case it's because I like to actually prepare and eat actual food. I'm not
into space-age bars or food-type products. Or tofu. I don't trust any food that only
tastes like what it's sitting next to at the time. I don't want to eat the chameleon of
the vegan world.
had to buy nudie mags to look at a bunch of nekkid wimmenwe
didn't have to hate on ourselves so much.
Men were grateful that you let them cop a feel and liked that there
was actually something to feelbecause extra fat meant extra
BOOBS! Now, with the media telling us that a scientifically engineered
figure is the beauty standarda body type not-found-in-
nature. Unless you count the grotto in the backyard of the Playboy
Mansion as "nature." It's a sinewy, boy-hipped, rail-thin, hairless
bodybut with giant Tupperware tatas. (Or, as I like to call them,
BFTsas in: Big. Fake. Tits. You may quote me.) "Normal women"
have found lots of reasons to self-loathe!
We wanna look like Pam Anderson!! We wanna look like Carmen
Electra!! We wanna look like Brooklyn Decker! But most of us still
look like . . . well, us.9
How did we get such unrealistic expectations about how we should
reasonably expect to look? Or be? Or how the world sees us?
Let me theorize for a minute about where we jumped the track.
'Cause it hasn't been that long since moms wore flowered house-
coats and baked delicious comforting things and had slightly
doughy body parts that you could cuddle up on. Skeletal figures
and skin-tight minis were only for "Glamour Girls." Or, as
Grandma Pompa would say, "Putanas." When I was growing up,
there was a clear definition between Matriarch and Hooker.
My point is, it's a little easier to rock at being just one thing at a
time, but we load up the expectationslike a Costco carttrying
10. While you're at it, Google the "Charlie" commercial and check out that Shelley
Hack. Boy, that diet the models used back then was effective, huh?
Excerpted from The Best Thing About My Ass Is That It's Behind Me by Lisa Ann Walter Copyright © 2011 by Lisa Ann Walter. Excerpted by permission of HarperOne. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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