marshmallow butt


My most embarrassing moment occurred the year I was thirteen, a time of near-lethal potential for MEM’s for girls. I like to call this moment, which is now recorded for all the world to appreciate, The Marshmallow Butt Incident.

In the 70’s, quad roller skating was the hotness. I was one of those kids in the leotards and short skirts, practicing spins in the middle of the rink. I was at the rink multiple days every week, taking private and group lessons, practicing and competing. My mother spent untold hours knitting, reading, and chatting with other skate moms on the lime, orange, and purple shag-carpeted benches while I worked with my coach or dance partner, practiced figures, jumps and spins, or raced.

My coach, a former Olympic freestyle competitor, was the first person I ever heard use the word “butt” in a public setting. He would tell us to hold our butts in, or to arch our backs so that our butts stuck out, that sort of thing; I was amazed and mildly scandalized by this. Today it wouldn’t even raise an eyebrow, of course.

Anyway, my best event was speed. During one type of team speed drill, it was our custom to receive a push-off into our leg of a race. You get going ahead of a teammate, merge into their lane to take over, and as they come up behind you at full speed, they give you a push on the…butt…and you’re into the lap. You can see where this is going.

When my club was doing this drill for the first time, I was right there in position with perfect timing, waiting for the girl behind me to give me the send-off that would let me know she was out and I was in the race. All happened as planned, except that after my, uh, butt-shove, she cried out in a Shout Heard Round the World, “Oh, yuuuck! Your butt is like a marshmallow!”

My teammates guffawed, the skate moms tittered, and all the known universe, I’m SURE OF IT, looked at my BUTT in speculation and hilarity. It never occurred to me that I might have hardened my butt in order to give my teammate a, uh, sturdier launching pad. Before the Shout Heard Round the World had finished echoing I was a horrified, flushed red blur. I never skated so fast in my life. I was unstoppable, I was rocket-fueled. I guess I hoped to outrace my mortification. This was possibly why speed became my best event.

So for me, the MEM had a good outcome: blazing speed. But it could have gone bad, you know. I might have become a serious wicked roller derby girl (Anna Mosity or Hell Mary) so that nobody would be able to call ME a marshmallow butt without being on the receiving end of some profoundly nasty rink rash. Yeah.

That would be me in the red mini; that butt couldn’t possibly be construed as marshmallow-y.

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