I was fifteen when my bum arrived, so it seemed to me.
I’d always had one, of course, but I hadn’t needed to pay much attention to it because it had generally behaved well and according to the expected standard of most bottoms, keeping itself covered modestly by Australian 70s playing-under-the-sprinkler standards and not suffering as much punishment at the large square red flat hands of my irascible Mother as other kids seemed to cop from their Mums, sometimes aided by belts or wooden spoons, so I hadn’t felt much need to question it.
I definitely knew it was there, obviously. It had been a thing to sit on unquestionably for over a decade. It had recently become an attraction for pinching, curious, groping fingers of high school boys unfettered by the childhood bonding they shared with my female classmates. I had been a new arrival from a regional primary school and my adolescent breasts and small waist, naivete & habitual lack of peers may as well have tattooed “Fresh Meat” on my forehead for the school corridor Lotharios to read.
The girls narrowed their eyes, wrote publicly of their dislike for me in circulated autograph “friendship” books & assumed I liked the boys’ attention. I learned to.
Bums always possessed a strong comic element, of course.
Just the word “bum” was enough to attract tongue-clucking censorship in our home with the suggestion that “bottom” or even “derriere” might be slightly more appropriate term. Backside & arse were generally only expressed in highs or lows of temper or hilarity.
I’ve never seen either of my parents’ nude bottoms & a surprise comedic appearance by one on our black & white TV would inspire reddened faces and mutters of “That’s a bit much” ….although curiously, the recounting of the recounting by an aged Uncle of a daffodil substituted for a thermometer in a Carry On film was always accompanied by belly clutching tear-welling hilarity.
Now my own bottom was behaving strangely.