I walk onto the hot sand of the Manasquan, New Jersey beach, doing a little dance to avoid burning my feet while searching for my friends. Finally, I spot them and I hurry over to their spot by the water, eager to put my towel down and start working on my tan.
I say hi to everyone as I arrange my stuff. They’re quiet, the sun having zapped the conversation out of them, but I don’t mind. Twenty-three-year-old me who lives in the East Village and survives on four or five hours of sleep a night doesn’t get a lot of tranquil moments, so this suits me just fine. All I want is a few hours of relaxing time with the sun and surf.
I pull my tank top off over my head and then slip my board shorts off, revealing the blue J.Crew bikini I splurged on last week, despite the fact that I’m living paycheck to paycheck. I haven’t bought a new bathing suit in years and though I’m a little self-conscious in it, I’m also excited to have a suit I think fits and flatters.
And that’s when I hear:
“Wow! Those are some birthin’ hips!”
I look up to see my friend’s boyfriend giving my body the once -- twice -- three times over. Ten seconds ago I wasn’t exactly comfortable in my bikini. Now I’m mortified.
Everyone is now looking at me, or rather at my hips, as I slip down onto my towel and wish the sand weren’t too hot to bury my head in.
My friend gives him a light “reprimanding” swat on the arm. Everyone laughs. So I do the same.
What the guy said wasn’t nice. I guess it wasn’t exactly mean, either. I mean, I do have “big” hips. (I put big in quotes because it’s so arbitrary, but I suppose in my case it’s that I have an hourglass figure or that my hips and ass make me a great candidate for a rap video.)
What’s interesting though is that while I’ve never forgotten that moment -- and I am now in my 30s -- I also don’t think that guy even knew that was he was saying was uncouth.
In fact, if you subscribe to the whole theory that men are attracted to women with waists that are smaller in relation to the hips, then actually, his girlfriend should have swatted him a little harder because what he was really saying was, “Wow. Your hips just made me think of procreating, which in turn gave me a hard on (which I hope no one notices in my swim trunks). Let’s go home and bang and make babies.” I mean, that’s a loose translation, but you get it.
But lest you think I’m saying society “favors” women with “birthin’ hips” or that I am trying to humblebrag that I have them, don’t worry.
Seriously. Apparently women with bigger hips have more sex because -- and this TOTALLY makes sense -- we are “less anxious about giving birth.”
So, just so that we’re all on the same page…
- Women with bigger hips screw more dudes.
- Because we feel like we’ll be able to pop their babies out easily.
- Because clearly we want to get knocked up every time we have sex.
To be fair, “anthropologists are casting doubts on the findings” because they’re dumb and also because “the measurements used aren’t a good indication of a woman’s likelihood of having difficult giving birth,” but still: there are people out there who feel like this is valid research based on the fact that the study found that of the women they recruited, the ones with “narrow hips had fewer sexual partners, and most of those were within the context of a relationship.”
The women with wider hips though? And wider, by the way, is quantified as more than 14 inches across -- those women had more “one-night stands and hookups in their past.”
That’s because the wide-hipped women amongst us are allegedly gauging our “own personal danger from childbirth and adjusting [our] sexual behavior accordingly.”
And here I thought I just liked to have a few cocktails and screw.
I wonder what “Science” would say about that. Actually, nevermind. I don’t.
*That’s sarcasm. I think women should have as many or as few sexual partners as their birthin’ hips desire. No judgment here.