As a newlywed couple, my parents went on a trip to Toronto and purchased a bunch of paintings from some artist they fell in love with. There was a painting of a horse race that was a favorite of Dad’s. Although it was pretty abstract, you could almost hear the horses’ breath heaving from their nostrils as the jockeys urged them on, all in one jumble of color and movement. There was a twilight scene from a corner in what looked like Paris that was a favorite of Mom’s, with jewel-like tones, gleaming gaslights and people dotting the thoroughfare. There was a brown and grey and white sunflower that was clean and sharp and bold, and a silent snowy country cottage that sat over our fireplace.
And… there was Butt Lady. I’m sure that wasn’t the name the artist entitled his piece, but it’s how we’ve come to refer to this risqué piece of art that adorned the focal point of our living room above the sofa for years. Butt Lady was apparently giving herself a sponge bath, and ever so demurely turning herself away from the viewer, with a long sweep of black hair over her shoulder. The derriere on this woman was pretty phenomenal.
When we were really little, it didn’t occur to us to consider Butt Lady a big deal. It was just a painting of a naked lady taking a bath, that just happened to hang in the middle of our living room. Looking back at photos of that time, one of my favorite is of my poor Mezmairik, wispy and dignified, perched on the couch right under Butt Lady’s ample ass.
As we grew older, we came to realize with horror that Butt Lady was proudly displaying herself directly in the line of sight of our large living room windows looking out over our front lawn. This meant that everyone approaching our house, or even driving past, got a glimpse of that magnificent heinie. This was mortifying as a teenager, especially when boys asked if the painting was a portrait of my mom.
I finally begged my parents to move Butt Lady, trying to shame them by saying what must the neighbors think of us? They must have had quite the giggle about my dramatic reaction. They did solemnly agree with me that Butt Lady should give one of the other paintings an opportunity to shine. So a burgundy tapestry took the place of honor over the couch, and Butt Lady was relegated to my parents’ bedroom, where she resided until we sold the house.
When it came time to decide what we wanted to keep and what belonged in the garage- ahem-estate, sale, I found myself holding on to Butt Lady. I drove her home with me to DC. I felt a certain obligation to give her the dignity she deserves, and carry on the Morukian family tradition of displaying our bootylicious friend in my home.
I haven’t found the proper place for her yet, so she’s currently taken up residence in the laundry room. Every time I go down to do a load of towels, I feel her silently judging me for leaving her in the musty basement instead of letting her flaunt her stuff in my dining room or entry way. Each time I promise her that some day soon she shall be returned to her former glory and proudly displayed, maybe not over our living room couch, but in some quiet corner where her bohemian mystique will dwell for the generation to come.