A while ago, I developed a rather large zit between my right butt cheek and upper leg. There, I said it. Gross, I know. But a fact of life, I guess.
It started out as an irritation, but it slowly grew into something so painful that I had to really think twice before sitting down. I was in graduate school at the time, and most days I sat on a hard, uncomfortable wooden desk chair. I don’t know if this behemoth was sitting a nerve or what, but sometimes, when I sat down, I’d get that annoying pins and needles feeling in my leg.
I tried to pop it several times but couldn’t get two fingers on it. The angle was always wrong. I wasn’t limber enough. I’d love to blame this on my short arms, but even with longer ones, I’d probably have needed a couple extra joints to bend that way.
For several days, I simply hoped it would go away, but instead it just got bigger. Needless to say, a pimple on my butt — a painful one at that — was embarrassing as hell. It might have been just a pimple — something I’d been dealing with since puberty — but this massive bastard simply wouldn’t pop, and wouldn’t die, and every time I sat down it felt like there was a doll’s head in my back pocket.
I tried a few kitchen utensils and an old coat hanger. I considered going to the doctor, but I was in grad school with two kids, so we didn’t really have pimple-doctor money.
I lived with the monster for about two weeks until I gave up all hope of handling it on my own, and did something I never thought I’d ever have to do — I asked my wife, Mel, if she’d have a look at my butt zit.
Yep, I went there. Because nothing says true love like asking your bride to pop a butt zit.
It was evening, and our two kids were in bed. I angled my body on the sofa, one cheek on the cushion, the other off, my back against the arm rest, grunting a little with discomfort.
“Are you seriously asking me to pop a zit on your butt?” she asked.
“No, no. I just want you to have a look at it. Make sure it’s not a bug living inside my skin, or a deadly tumor. It’s really painful.”
Mel gave me a straight mouth look, her eyes moving side to side, and I felt confident that she was conflicted. She loved me, I knew that much. And yet, she 100 percent, no doubt about it, didn’t want to be in this situation. I mean, who does?
I went on, trying to make light of the situation, but failing, “If you happen to look at it and decide that it’s something you could, with your skill set, handle yourself, I would be eternally grateful.”
I smiled, awkwardly, and expected Mel to smile back.
She was no fool. She knew that I was asking her to pop a butt zit, and there’s no turning back from that. You’ll see things you can’t unsee. I’ve never put zits into some sort of comparative order, but when I think about this particular situation, if I were to try and apply a ranking to zits, a butt zit has to be the nastiest zit imaginable, though this might be up for debate.
“Yeah…that’s what you’re asking,” Mel said. Her voice was one of love and compassion. It had a tone of reluctant willingness that showed she would do this, not because she wanted to, but because she loved me.
“Drop your pants,” she said.
I stood in the living room, pants around my ankles, hands flat on the back of our recliner, my wife of six years hunching down, glasses hiked up, her face inches from my butt. She mentioned that the lighting was bad, and as she did, I wondered if this was a deal breaker. I wondered if I’d gone too far. I imagined us in a courtroom, her lawyer describing this moment, the judge’s face twisted with disgust, already agreeing to side with all of my future ex-wife’s demands.
“Holy cow!” Mel said. “How have you been walking? It’s like a silver dollar.”
“I know,” I said. “It’s horrible.”
She let out a deep breath, reached in with two fingers, and with a little bit of pressure—POP! It was all over.
“Ugh…” she said. “It smells!”
“I’m so sorry,” I said.
“It got on my shirt,” She said with half a gag.
“Oh no. I’m so, so sorry.”
“I hope you realize how much I love you,” she said.
Though this was said with sarcasm and frustration, I couldn’t help but think of the situation and realize that she did, indeed, love me. Sometimes marriage doesn’t look like Hollywood acts of valor or sacrifice, but rather doing something nasty to relieve the one you love the most of discomfort. No one enjoys these moments, but it’s difficult not out reflect on how much love it takes to handle something really nasty for the one you love.
I let out a sigh of relief. “You are the most amazing person I know. Yes, I love you.”
Mel went into the bathroom to wash her hands while I got dressed.
“I’m going to need a shower,” she said. “And some chocolate… lot’s of chocolate,” she said. “I need something sweet to help me forget about this.”
I kissed her forehead and ran to the store.