I bristle when your hand gets anywhere near my ass, but I swear it's not your fault. I know you're not trying to interpret the Braille birthmark - you would ask first, right? It's just that I had this "problem" in high school and I'm still getting over it.
She was Jewish, so was I. We wound up in a tussle on her parents' sunken living room floor, right after school. What was I doing there? Planning a Jewish Youth retreat? Teaming up for a PSAT practice exam? (she was stronger in math; i excelled in verbal, at least up until the day it became necessary to put my money where my mouth was and i came up even, like steven.) I don't remember what started it, but it ended up with some deep french dipping, typical of any one-on-one unchaperoned social activity with a member of the opposite sex during my high school years. Fifteen minutes longer and I would have come, right inside my Dickies - the irony! - regardless of what I held in my hands, or in my mouth, but I stopped abruptly with at least six minutes to spare.
I wanted to hang in there, regardless of the inevitably humiliating outcome that I'd surely cover up with feigned exhaustion and the long tails of my rugby shirt. I had a lot riding on this, with regards to novelty. Her breasts were full, her waist was small, her brain was weird and powerful, her skin was the color of the diaspora, traumatically pale. And she possessed the kind of unbridled libido that was the unmistakable product of too many nights dedicated to college preparation and too many weekend days spent Israeli Dancing at the International Foods Festival with other gender-neutral teens. It was very exciting and I was really looking forward to prematurely ejaculating against the inside of my zipper. But, like I said, I stopped.
To be accurate, she stopped me, unintentionally, just as she tried to segue from kissing/grinding to something like an intimate celebration of "Ass Appreciation Day". I was lying face-down on the carpet, breathing in the sour aroma of twelve year-old spilled Cheerios dust and an entire nuclear family of natural foot secretions, and praying to God to keep my sperms inside me for just a few more minutes, at least until I saw her in a bra. (this is an inappropriate thing to pray for and 99% of the time the prayer isn't granted. God is such a genius!) She climbed atop me, lightly pinching her knees into my ribs, and reached behind her own back to grab a handful of my ass. I was shocked, but piqued, until she announced, to no one in particular (as we were alone), "Look at this tush! What a tush!!" In that instant, all of the blood drained from my face and penis and I scrambled out from beneath her, searching the room for a Kaplan study guide and a number two pencil.
As a man - particularly, as a Jewish man - the word "tush" is inextricably linked to family, and to childhood. (i'm not sure what catholics call their children's behinds. "sweet rolls"? "pin cushions"? "angel cheeks"?) When I fell down, I fell on my tush. When I misbehaved, I would be threatened with a swat across my tush. When I was having sex with my camp counselor, it was always in the tush.
Which is why, in the throes of petting, hearing the word "tush" invoked effectively grabbed me by the scruff of my neck and hurled me back into childhood, and the perpetual state of shame I endured throughout. Back to a time long before tongue-kissing and boners, when salacious thoughts were punished with bars of soap and bed without dinner and "The Dinner & Marie Show". With my ass gathered up in her hand, I felt tiny and ridiculous and disobedient. I wanted to shrink away from her. The whole experience jolted in me the same sense-memory that grown-up shame addicts experience when they wet themselves in public. (warm, then very, very cold and uncomfortable.) I drove home, tail between my legs, my tush stinging from the grip of phantom Jewess fingers.
Since that afternoon, many years ago, I confess I've had a difficult time dating other Jewish women. I've also had trouble with my ass. When your hand hovers over it, I become guarded. As your hand brushes against it, my erection winces. And when your hand grabs it, even with your voice silenced and mouth pressed against mine, I can feel your breath releasing inside me, its tendrils creeping up through my sinuses and etching a message on my psyche: "This is, and will always be, your tush." That's when I flip you over, and you think I'm making an aggressive move. I'll never tell you I did it just so you wouldn't have to see a grown man cry.