Monday, July 18, 2011

The Italian Butt-Slapping Dance

When your kids are little, nudity really isn't anything that concerns you much.

From the time our children were born until the ages of eight or nine, it was nothing to see their bare butts streaking through the house. The fear of being seen by visitors or spotted through the windows by neighbors or passing strangers on the street did not exist. Humility and shame were emotions to be saved for another day.

These tendencies toward random nakedness worried me for a while. It isn't like My Lovely Wife and I are nudists, after all. Speaking for myself, the world is a much better place in which to live for every additional article of clothing I wear. There would be nothing gained from my public nakedness, other than a good chuckle and the possible uptick in sales of sunglasses.

At first, you try not to make a big deal out of their prolific nakedness. You pinch their cheeks when they scoot past you and laugh as they scurry away. But like every other aspect of growing up, there comes a time when something that once was cute begins to get, well, a little creepy.

Our Daughter, being the eldest, reached that point a few years ago. One day she's fluttering like a jaybird through the living room at night with the blinds up and all the lights on, the next day she's holed up in her bedroom with the shades down and the door locked because she's "only" in her underwear. It took us all a little time to adjust to this newfound need for privacy, but I embraced it as a welcome change.

The German never was much of a streaker. Not to say he didn't do his share of running around naked, but it never was for him the same kind of performance art the Italian turned it into. I'm embarrassed to admit how many times our family members were treated to the Italian butt-slapping dance.

As if you needed the mental image, just try to picture a skeletally skinny six-year-old boy jumping out into your living room, pointing his boney little butt in your direction, waving it from side to side and smacking it in rhythym to whatever tune he might be humming. When he was three, it was funny. When he was six, it was mildly distressing. When he was nine, it was time to start wondering whether we needed to prepare for his future by registering the web address "smack my ass dot com."

Somewhere over the last year, however, the performances have disappeared from our daily routine. Only its fluke reappearance the other night called to my attention the fact I hadn't seen it in quite some time. I suppose that should be reasonable assurance he won't end up on YouTube demonstrating the dance to his college fraternity brothers, but I'm reluctant to raise my hopes too high.

© 2011 Mark Feggeler


  1. Or, he might be destined to be a Chippendale's dancer. Have you considered that lucrative career possibility for him?

  2. Chippendale is SO 20th century. We are in the digital age now.