When my sister Lucy and I were little, around 6 and 3 or thereabouts, we used to moon people. I have no idea where the inspiration for this came from, but we got it from somewhere (this was, after all, the late 1960s), and we exercised this vaguely inspired right to moon on our front lawn in New Preston, Conn., for all the world to see. Or maybe not all the world; maybe just passing cars.
At the time I never wondered what the drivers and passengers of these vehicles might have thought, tooling around Lake Waramaug on their leisurely summer drives, approaching this fairly standard-looking white colonial with its fairly standard-looking lawn. Or it might have been standard-looking, had my parents mowed the bottom half of it — they kept the grass high to prevent their darling children from rolling their tricycles into the road, so it looked perpetually unshaved, like Yasser Arafat, Josh Groban or a goat — and had these same parents prevented these same darling children from bending over and dropping trou for unsuspecting tourists.
But they didn’t know, and they didn’t prevent us, and so we had our fun. It consisted of this:
Lucy: Let’s go outside!
Lucy: Let’s wait for cars!
(A car rounds the bend)
Lucy: Let’s drop our pants and shake our butts!
(Dropping our pants and shaking our butts)
Lucy: Ha ha ha ha ha!
Me: Ha ha ha ha ha!
Sometimes, for even more fun, we would perform this dropping of the pants and shaking of the butts while chanting DAY, D-D-DAY, D-D-DAY, and don’t ask why because I don’t remember.
At this point, cough cough, I would like to assure people that I have not mooned anyone since, neither in Connecticut nor Albany nor anywhere else I’ve lived, on any other lawn, be it standard- or non-standard-looking, mowed or unmowed. I do wonder, however, whether my urge to write memoirs and blog about personal matters — such as, for instance, my childhood de-pantsing habits — themselves classify as a sort of mooning, a way of saying, LOOKIE HERE, PEOPLE! I HAVE ALL SORTS OF HIGHLY PERSONAL BID-NESS TO SHOW YOU!! I DARE YOU TO LOOK!
So, really, I can roll my eyes all I want at instances of dumbass celebrity mooning (Justin Bieber instagrammed his lustrous pop-god tushy just a few days ago), but I’m not sure that what I’m doing is all that different. To moon is to show your hidden self to the world — to seek attention, tempt rejection, find acceptance, and maybe engage in a little defensive mockery, just in case. Because you never know, until you stick it out and shake it, how your rear will be received.
Day, D-D-Day, D-D-Day.