The other day I got a butt facial, which is a very real thing you can do at at a very nice and normal med spa called Smooth Synergy in Midtown Manhattan. They name it a “fanny facial” because alliteration makes things sound more fun and less weird, but that’s what it is—a spa experience specifically for your posterior.
Of all the body parts that I obsess over, my butt has never been top of the list. I was a dancer for years and now practice yoga regularly, so I’ve always felt like I had a pretty decent situation back there. But, I am also a writer who sits around for hours every day. And given the butt's recent resurgence in pop culture (but, really, did it ever leave?), I figured, why not?, YOLO, c'est la vie, etc.
My rear-end treatment began with an exfoliating scrub. Then, instead of massages, masks, and loathsome extractions, the technician placed small pads all around my newly-smoothed booty and upper-thighs and hooked them up to a machine via a bunch of wires. She proceeded to gently zap my behind with microcurrents for a little less than an hour—the intention of which was to trick my butt into thinking I had done 45 minutes of squats at the gym. It felt sort of like a particularly spirited massage chair while it utilized both positive and negative compressions to get rid of bumps and create a more toned derrière (as I write this, I am running out of synonyms for 'ass'). While lounging face-down on a massage table, waiting for my butt zaps to finish up, the technician told me that the treatment has become super-popular over the past year, with some ladies coming in two-to-three times per week for “maintenance.” The fad doesn't just stop at bikini season—it continues all year long.
It's not surprising—from Vanity Fair's feature on Jen Selter, who posts “belfies” for her now 5.5 million Instagram followers, to the J.Lo/Iggy Azalea joint “ Booty,” it’s clear that where women once were worried about sizing up their chests, now it’s really all about that ass. According to the New York Times, in 2004, the most common web search related to butts was how to make them smaller. Starting in 2010, though, bigger assets started trending, and that interest has tripled in the last four years. In 2014 more searches popped up asking how to make butts bigger than smaller in every state.
As I jumped off the table to inspect my newly lifted rear, I have to admit I started to understand the infatuation. It wasn’t a huge change (in fact, most people probably wouldn’t notice anything at all), but I was fairly certain that my pants fit better, and I definitely felt more confident strolling out of the spa (and packing a bunch of bikinis for the trip to Mexico I was leaving on the next day). So tell me readers, have you caught the fever? What do you do to keep your posterior in top shape?
Illustration by Lauren Tamaki.