Maybe if there were polka dots on my ass I might like it better

I love polka dots. Polka dots bring joy to my heart and a smile to my face. Remember the old ad slogan “Things go better with Coke?” Well, in my world, things go better with polka dots. There is virtually no item that can’t benefit from a smattering or more of those cute, little or large, twinkly colored-in circles.

Apparently designers agree. I have seen stationary with polka dots – and I have seen mousepads, luggage, lunchboxes, phone cases, plates, buttons, eyeglasses, bumper stickers, beach blankets, business cards, perfumes, ties, tee shirts, shoes, wallets, “itzy bitzy teeny weeny” bikinis, ornaments, ribbons, wall clocks, postage stamps, a mouse (Minnie), and even a super hero (Polka Dot Man). My current favorite is the polka dotted Aga Cooker I discovered last week on some website or other. Imagine waking up to that every day in your kitchen. Oh what a beautiful morning indeed!

The Grand Designer must feel much as I do. Yes, all of us can name a creature or two with stripes, but go on… Tell me even one plaid one. Spotted critters, on the other hand, I can reel off almost endlessly – starting with leopards and ladybugs and Dalmatians and cheetahs and cows and giraffes and owls and hyenas and salamanders and my friend Madeleine, whose freckles I adore. The plant world is similarly robust, boasting spotted species from phalaenopsis and dracaena surculosa to aloe and knapweed. And what do clouds do in the sky on a pretty day? They dot it.

Almost as much as I love polka dots, however, I love sugar. And, glory be, the confectioners of the world have not disappointed me, whether we are talking the pound bag of M and Ms by my side as I write this, the display of Dots at the movies, the trays of pretty pastel macarons in a Parisian patisserie, the cupcake shop called Dots around the corner, or chocolate chip anything anywhere.

The entertainment world has been similarly entranced. Bob Dylan sported a green polka dot shirt, rocker Randy Rhoads thrummed a black and white polka dotted guitar, wrestler Dusty Rhodes frequently posed in a stellar, skimpy black ensemble with large yellow dots, and dress designer Carolina Herrera worked almost exclusively in dotted patterns throughout the 80s and 90s.

Visual artists have climbed quite enthusiastically aboard the polka dot express as well. Pointillists like George Seurat and Paul Signac may be the most renowned for their ‘dotty’ approach to painting, but Camille Pissarro, Vincent Van Gogh, Roy Lichtenstein, Maximilien Luce, and Damien Hirst had a fling with dots as well.

Lately, artists have not limited themselves to traditional media either. For instance, not too long ago, a friend – a friend, ironically, who detests polka dots – sent me photos of some body-painting exhibition somewhere that was receiving a fair amount of attention in certain funky circles…

“OMG,” I thought, as I scrolled past a photo of 5 women painted in such a way that, lying flat on the floor next to one another, their bodies contorted this way and that, they bore an uncanny resemblance to an insect. “No way.”

I mean there is NO way but NO WAY I would ever doff my clothes and allow an artist use of my body – front, back and center – as a canvas, even if panties and pasties were allowed. Which I suspect was not the case in that insect pose. Of course, all the models, as far as I could tell, were the age of my adult children, with flesh decades away from even considering crinkling like crepe paper, sagging, or puckering with cellulite. 

Yet, seriously, I doubt that, even back in the day, when I was 20-some pounds thinner and incomprehensibly firmer, I would have posed. I have had body image issues forever. Teeth too big, tits too small, hips too wide, tush too expansive, massive, godawful, butt-ugly.

I especially loathe my ass. (In case you haven’t already figured this out.) Oh God, how I abhor my ass. If you have met me, you know why, too – although you may be too kind to say so.

But, as I scrolled for a second time through my friend’s photos, I got to thinking. What if God – who created the masterworks we call the earth, the sky, the oceans, the universe – had painted my butt with polka dots, the way he dotted a field with flowers or the heavens with stars? Might I like my butt better?

I’m not sure. I mean, I do enjoy making up the bed much more, now that I have invested in dotted swiss sheets. And my polka dotted checkbook cover makes bill paying a tinge less harrowing – just as my polka dotted spatula set and pot- holders lend a dash of artistic spice to workaday sessions at the stove. But my butt…well, I’ve invested decades griping about it, fretting over it, trying (fruitlessly) to mask it.

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