Sunday, March 09, 2008

Ghetto Booty

Let me start off by saying that it's not my fault.

Having spent half of my life living in the vicinity of Blacksburg, Virginia, I have picked up some generalized concepts of beauty. You see, Blacksburg is a college town; this means that, every year, the little burg of 20,000 or so is deluged with a demographic tidal wave of people between the ages of eighteen and 21. From the middle of August on, they crowd every inch of the area, filling the record stores, restaurants, and campus. They can't be avoided.

Virginia Tech draws most of its students from Northern Virginia, which means that the vast majority of the kids are white, middle class, and suburban. This, in turn, means that the concept of female beauty generally involves young women who are blonde and skinny, with very small asses and small, wasted breasts. These women starve and exercise until their physiques would make Heinrich Himmler beam with pleasure. They then wear generously-cut clothes that conceal any female characteristics. The sole exceptions, of course, occur when they go out drinking or are attempting to get an extension on a paper.

Under the circumstances, I did my best. As a man whose concept of beauty tends towards the curvaceous, it was never hard for me to resist the siren call of the scrawny co-eds who sometimes felt inclined to flirt with me. Still, as much as I prided myself on my appreciation of womanly forms, I realize now that I was still brainwashed by the Blacksburg ideal.

For years, my sister's boyfriend Rich has noted my appreciation of "thick" women. I always thought that he was obliquely accusing me of being a "chubby chaser," which I thought was pretty damn judgmental. However, since I've moved to the Bronx, I've gotten a better understanding of his comments. "Thick" women are hourglass-figured, with generous hips and breasts. They are in good shape, but are incapable of fitting into the "stick figure" mold that is so popular. The "thick" ideal is very popular in the Bronx, which makes me very happy. That having been said, the Bronx ideal of beauty still doesn't quite light my fire.

My first clue about my limitations came when the moving men were unpacking my stuff. Every few minutes, Rico, one of the guys, would stop what he was doing and ogle one of the women strolling down the sidewalk. Finally, he looked over at me and said "Man, it's gonna be hard to be married in this neighborhood." Totally confused, I asked him what he meant and he gestured to a lady on the other side of the street and grinned. "There's so many beautiful ladies around here. How you gonna keep your eyes on your wife?"

I took a long look at the woman across the street. By Blacksburg standards, she was about twenty pounds overweight. She was short, probably 5'1" or so, and was wearing skin tight jeans. Her stomach, pushed up by her pants, spilled over in a major muffin top. Rather than cover it with a shirt, she wore a halter that showed off every pooch and pucker while making the most of her breasts. I gave Rico a look and, feeling incredibly virtuous, said "My wife is the prettiest woman in the world." He shook his head as if he thought I was insane.

To be honest, I think that my wife is incredibly beautiful, and I don't know a woman who holds a candle to her. That having been said, however, it doesn't hurt that I feel absolutely no temptation in my neighborhood. I'm pretty sure that some of the Dominican ladies have flirted with me (in particular, a 50-year old grandmother in my gym keeps checking out my ass), but I'm just not interested. Frankly, I can't really wrap my mind around the Dominican ideal of beauty. The women generally have broad shoulders, tapering down to a largish butt and short legs. While my wife often compares them to air conditioning units, I am regularly reminded of Taz, the tasmanian devil character on Looney Tunes.

In all fairness, I have to point out that, in this neighborhood, my ideal of beauty is really out of whack. In Blacksburg, I was regarded as somewhat bizarre because I appreciated women with curves, but in the Bronx, I'm regarded as insane because I am uninterested in the skin-tight curves that surround me. I constantly see men in my neighborhood whooping, whistling, and hissing (not kidding about that one--Latin American men often hiss at hot women. They sound kind of like pissed-off tomcats.) at women that I consider utterly uninteresting.

Admittedly, part of it is the clothing. Coming from a more conservative clothing culture, I was utterly unprepared for Dominican jeans. To put it bluntly, Dominican women wear jeans that are so tight that they don't need to be removed during gynecological exams. I'm really not kidding; frankly, the pants don't leave anything to the imagination. While I am impressed at the body-pride that surrounds me, I also find myself averting my eyes with fair regularity. There just are some things that I don't need to see before I've had my first cup of coffee. Or after, for that matter.

One day, my wife decided to try on some jeans in a local store. She picked out two pairs, one of which was three sizes larger than her normal pants. When she went to the communal dressing room, she wedged and squeezed herself into the larger jeans. When she finally got them fastened, she could barely breathe and was walking like John Wayne with chapped thighs. Immediately, several women in the vicinity began to exclaim over her: "Oye, Mami, dose make you look gooooood!" "Aye, babi, those are perfect!" "You gotta get them!" My wife somehow managed to extract herself from the demon jeans without losing significant amounts of skin or bloodflow, but couldn't bring herself to buy them. By the same token, I don't think she's going to be stocking up on halter shirts.

When my friend Alex first saw the pictures on this page, he thought that I was cataloging all the overweight women in my neighborhood. Actually, while some of these people are a little heavy, this body type is pretty standard for the area. Still, the line between "thick" and "fat" is sometimes a little thin. In fact, I once overheard two cashiers at my local liquor store arguing with each other about whether or not one of them was thick. Finally, one of the ladies laid it on the line: "Girl, you ain't thick. You fat. You can't see your knees, you fat!"


  • Phew! I'm still not fat, I can see my knees!!
    I remember the latinos in Balti hissing at me and my roommate. I learned to put a quick stop to it by looking at them right in the eyes.They always stopped and looked away, like a game of chicken.

    By Blogger Claudia, At March 10, 2008 at 2:33 AM  

  • since picking up my gym pounds I feel very protective over the back fat brigade for some reason
    and I definitly saw some back fat there

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At March 10, 2008 at 2:51 AM  

  • Claudia-
    I relentlessly mock my super for his tendency to hiss. One day, in fact, I was walking down the street behind a curvaceous woman and he started to hiss at her. I gave him a funny look and pointed at myself. I yelled, "Sorry, Ivan...I know I'm hot, many, but you're not my type." He's started cutting back on the hisses.

    Personally, I'm a fan of a little...back. I just also happen to like women with waists as well.

    By Blogger Crankster, At March 10, 2008 at 8:54 AM  

  • bwahHAHAHAHAHA! i don't care who it's on, a cellulite-dimpled muffin top is just not hot.

    but then, i wore a ball gown length sweater dress on a first date, so what the hell do i know? ;)

    By Anonymous Franki, At March 10, 2008 at 5:59 PM  

  • Lots of camel toes huh??? ;-)

    By Blogger Odat, At March 11, 2008 at 8:03 PM  

  • Franki-
    This is one of those times when I think your instincts are right on the money!

    Have you been in my neighborhood? Let me put it this way: the wife recently discovered a reverse camel toe. Think about how tight the pants have to be to make the dreaded "camel starfish" happen!

    By Blogger Crankster, At March 11, 2008 at 10:57 PM  

  • It sounds like you live in a point-of-purchase neighborhood.

    Also, 5'1" is not "short." I am 5'1" and I am a tall person traveling incognito.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, At March 12, 2008 at 12:33 AM  

  • Your observations and descriptions of your neighborhood kill me. And as much as I'd like to defend the muffin top, I really just can't.

    By Blogger Say It, At March 12, 2008 at 8:33 AM  

  • Cranky
    I cant believe there is such a thing as a reverse camel toe!?!! Oh sweet jesus!!(if I wake up screaming tonight Ill know why)

    By Blogger Judith, At March 17, 2008 at 10:04 AM  

  • Hearts-
    Fair enough. Perhaps we can call 5'1" "gravity enhanced." Besides, in my 'hood, I think you'd still count as tall.

    Say It-
    There is no justification. It's a crime against humanity!

    Luckily, I was spared the sight, but my wife's description was vivid enough to cause permanent damage!

    By Blogger Crankster, At March 25, 2008 at 5:02 PM  

  • Cranky
    By what you are telling me the woman will need a sink plunger to right herself again.. More screaming for me tonight with that visual.

    By Blogger Judith, At March 25, 2008 at 6:43 PM  

  • One of my coworkers, an enormous black woman calls herself "T-T" refering to her "girls". She is one of the many 200 pound plus girls in my office who see themselves as sex symbols. None of them seem to suffer from lack of male attention. They look at my dramatic weight loss with only the smallest bit of jealously, knowing I have more shopping options than they. I was obviously born into the wrong culture.

    By Blogger Spellbound, At April 2, 2008 at 7:50 AM  

  • I saw my knees last week in the mirror - does that count?? The good news is that I hear high waisted jeans are coming back in style - GOODBYE MUFFIN TOP!

    By Blogger Let's Pretend, At May 7, 2008 at 2:26 PM  

  • What are you doing? I know this blog is old, and I'm not sure how I cam across it, but how would you feel if you saw your wife and child pictured in a random blog like this? Though you are trying to sell your wife as "perfect," it's clear you think she's not. How would you like someone to analyze your culture and taste in such a demeaning way? Perhaps you and your wife should find your way back to VA. You seem very unhappy here.

    By Blogger BWitch, At May 11, 2009 at 6:11 PM  

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