When I was young, much younger than I am now, guys would habitually make unsolicited, albeit most satisfying, compliments about my posterior (admittedly shapely and well-honed in those days). “You have beautiful buns, man,” a passing Jim, Ricardo, Mikhail, or Abdul would say as I strolled through a park, down a sidewalk, or along a beach.
While attending college, I worked a variety of jobs, usually behind the desk of a hotel, and it was no unusual occurrence to feel an exploring hand on the curves of my rump. Then the male switchboard operator named Garcia or the bellboy named Stein would flatter me with “nice ass.”
These compliments and random gropings happened in other places besides the workplace, most commonly in the grocery store. Of course, the grocery butt gropers were more often the female of the species. Nice to hear the compliment, but the gender role was not to my taste.
Lest any reader think I’m bragging, let me own up, with a sad heart, that the days when men would worship my rump are behind me (pathetic pun intended). In the absence of compliments on my butt curves, I compensate by turning pen to paper (a metaphor for pounding finger pads upon a keyboard). I attract not, so now I write.
However, the human gluteal region—especially the bum of the male of the species—provides particular problems for the gay author: what to call it, and how to make it sound enticing.
Some of the names for the rear end are depressingly technical: gluteal region, glutes, buttocks, gluteus maximus. In these words, the thrill is lacking.
Some have a crude sound, as if this delightful body part were unattractive. No sane author is going to write “your tuchas drives me wild with lust,” because the Yiddish word tuchas implies “ever widening,” which is perhaps not the intended compliment. Can, keister or keester, nates, hams, bum, and wazoo just don’t sound enticing. An author writing, “I was hot for his wazoo” or “I want to get into your keister” is more likely to provoke a laugh than an arousal.
Other names are cutesy, but not erotic, such as haunches, hunkies, hunkers, prat, heiney or heinie. Some words are neutral in themselves; nonetheless, fundament, posterior, backside, behind, hind end, tail end, rear end, hind part, and hinder part, can be made more erotic with adjectives.
“Nice posterior, guy.”
“I love your sexy rear end.”
The alternatives bootie or booty, buns, and cheeks aren’t so bad.
“Hot looking cheeks.”
Neither are seat, seater, stern, hips, curves, breech, tush or tooshie, breech, caboose, cheeks, duff, fanny.
Ass, butt, rump, rear, bottom are okay but not so erotic. Ass is an Americanism for the British arse and generally works well. For example, in my novel The Moon’s Deep Circle, my character Tip is aroused sexually by a mere glance at his teammate’s ass: “The curves of Jeep’s ass were enticing, and my cock was soaring.” In another passage in The Moon’s Deep Circle, I write, “Lyle’s eyes were transfixed on Tizzy’s curvy buttocks,” evoking the power of the human posterior to hold another person in thrall.
From my novel The Raptures of Time: “He caressed my ass as if he were worshiping it. His hands massaged my buttocks gently, sliding slowly into the crack.” I have to believe that the description works.
Butts are nice to ogle, but difficult to write about. In the end, call this divine form what you will, its delightful curves and sweet invitations deserve a comfortable seat in gay fiction.