Three Generations of Butts In the Powder Room

Three Generations of Butts

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Skin wrinkles. Hair whitens. Butts droop. Aging is not a pretty picture, is it?

And it’s even less pretty when you’re in a dressing room with all those mirrors that don’t hide anything. Rather, they emphasis all those parts of your body which you’d like to imagine looked differently.

But those mirrors don’t lie.

I was faced with that painful truth the other day when I went shopping with my mother and my daughter. Three generations of women made from the same mold.

The similarities were still there, but the differences were hard to ignore.

Years ago, my butt was as firm and ripe as a melon, just like my daughter’s. My thighs were smooth, void of those craters and bumps, resembling the moon surface. My arms didn’t have that flabby effect. My hair was a natural blonde.

After looking from my daughter to myself, I wanted to bolt out of that room. In fact, I wanted to bolt out of 2012 and into 1990.

Then I looked at my mom. And felt even worse.

I saw where my body was going!

And I’m not convinced that any amount of exercise can stop it from happening. (Although, I don’t think I’ll ever wear those old lady under panties).

While I was lamenting the state of my future body, my daughter blurted out. “Ugh, I hate my waist.”

Me: “Your waist is perfect. Look at this extra skin around mine.”

My mother: “What are you two talking about? I’m one big wrinkle. My butt is flatter than melted butter. And my boobs are like bananas.”

With that, we all started laughing. There was no age difference in our giggles. Just three happy women, trying to find a decent pair of jeans that hugged our bodies in just the right way. No matter what that body looked like.

And we were determined to succeed.

No buts about it.


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Janie Emaus is the author of the time travel romance, Before the After, the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love, and a co-author of In the Powder Room’s hilarious best-selling anthology You Have Lipstick on Your Teeth. Janie blogs for The Huffington Post, Purple Clover, The Mid and Midlife Blvd. She is proud to be named a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year. Janie believes that when the world is falling apart, we’re just one laugh away from putting it together again. To learn more about Janie visit her blog and her author website

Keep the conversation going...



  1. says

    Love that you all ended laughing instead of crying about it.
    Gravity does wreak its havoc on us all, no ifs, and or butts about it! (Sorry. Couldn’t help myself.)

    • says

      Well, there were a few tears shed, but in the end we couldn’t help but laugh. And there was a 4th generation with us, too. My toddler grandson. I won’t confess what he was doing!

  2. says

    Oh, that is really great, Janie! So cute and funny. Unfortunately my mom has passed away yet my daughter is only 15 and she has “body issues” which I cannot understand. She’s got the cutest little figure but because it’s not “perfect” because of a little love handle, she thinks she’s fat. Oh, what Vogue and all the rest of that crap has done to this generation.

    • says

      Oh, Pattie, don’t get me started. I hate when I see thin girls saying they are “fat.” We are who we are and we have to accept ourselves. And besides, in my book skin and bones is not an attractive look at all.

  3. says

    I have genetic butt issues as well. I have a love/hate relationship with it, but you’re right, we all have them and there is only so much we can do with them, so best to make friends.

  4. says

    Love that you have three generations willing to step into a dressing room together! I’m trying to convince myself that after a certain point I should stop worrying about how my body looks and just be happy it works…more or less. 😉

    • says

      Exactly. As long as it’s working, what more can we ask for? I have to say that day was one of the best days we’ve had. So much laughing, I’m surprised they didn’t throw us out of the dressing room.

  5. says

    I LOVE this. My 94-year-old Grandma and I were just comparing our butts the other day–to see just how strong the Foxy bloodline really is. It’s very, very strong (and flat and droopy).

  6. says

    Gravity taking over as we age is inevitable. Women deal with this differently. The way I see it it, I’m not one to sit back and cry about it. I’d rather embrace the changes and find some way to keep it fun. Hell, we can’t stop it right?

    Great post Janie!

    • says

      Bren – Thanks so much. All the “miracle” lotions and “stop-the-clock” creams aren’t going to stop gravity. But laughing sure does make it easier to accept.

  7. Kaly says

    Nothing like some bad lighting to emphasize generational butt issues. I find that dressing rooms also do wonders for my chin hairs.

    • says

      It seems to me that my body is changing hourly! My daughter is a Martial Artist, so I’ll never look like her. But the truth is, she may think she’s not headed in my direction. But she is.

  8. says

    What I really liked about this piece is it talked about body image issues without being all maudlin and sad. Thank you for that! Great stuff, Jamie. I needed a good laugh this morning.

    • says

      Thanks so much. Our bodies are with us to stay. We need to like them, cherish them, take care of them. And even still, they’ll start to change whether we like it or not.

  9. says

    I love that your mom is also looking for a pair of jeans! I can’t even imagine my mom wearing them. How cool! Great story, Janie, especially the laughing part. xo

  10. says

    I have no idea where my butt came from. My mom and my two sisters have flat butts. I have a nice big bubble butt. Must come from my dad’s side of the family

  11. Vicki Batman says

    Hi, Janie! OMG, the part about the banana is terribly funny. I just want to lose 5 pounds. You’d think no big deal. Wrong!

  12. says

    Women are so hard on themselves. My daughter, Sarah, just had a little girl. Aviva is 2 months old. Recently, Sarah and I were chatting about how we want to break the mold and help Aviva to NOT be critical of herself. I think it helps if Aviva doesn’t hear her Mommy and Grandma complaining about their body! We made a vow to not do that in front of her! Wish us good luck!

  13. says

    I loved this post! We’ve been thinking and talking about this alot around our house lately. We have our three generations mom, daughter and I and will be adding the 4th generation. Daughter is pregnant with twins a boy and a girl. I think about them both but I wonder will my new granddaughter look like the three of us. My daughter and I can only tell our baby pictures about by the type of clothing we were wearing. I wonder if Isabella (my new granddaughter will love reading and writing like the rest of the women in our family. I can’t wait to meet her. I get teary eyed just thinking about it.

  14. says

    What a wonderful post and reflection about past, present and future. I love the three generations and seeing our past and future and being able to accept it.

  15. says

    I’ve been in that dressing room. My mother looked at my daughter and said ‘Before’, then me ‘After’ , then pointed to herself and said ‘result’. At least we can still laugh!

  16. says

    If anything I’ve read has stuck with me this week, it has been this. Thank you. I’ve been getting it a little twisted in my struggle with body image and this was an awesome perspective. Love your writing, as always.