Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Ten Meditations on sitting

1. On 16 June 1904 before leaving his home at 78 Eccles Street, Dublin, Leopold Bloom sat and took one of most momentous and leisurely shits in literature. Joyce reported: “Asquat on the cuckstool he folded out his paper.” Bloom browsed a while, then “midway, his last resistance, yielding he allowed his bowels to ease themselves quietly, as he read.” A significant portion of those people from whom I recently solicited information on their favorite sitting places side with Bloom on this one. They confide this seated pleasure as if it was their secret alone. My father, in contrast, claims his favorite place to sit was beside the Minister for Education in the Irish Dail (parliament) during question time. My mother’s sitting drinking coffee in front of The Colosseum. Mine is on the Old Kenmare Road, near Killarney, my back against a rock, facing the mountains, bog cotton fidgeting,a stream murmuring in the middle distance.
8. In a 2004 study six aesthetic plastic surgeons impartially examined 1320 photographs of nude women in “different postures and actions” and examined the buttocks of 132 female patients to assess for “signs” of buttock beauty. They reported four independent characteristics in the gluteal region that indicated excellently attractive buttocks: a lateral depression, infragluteal fold, supragluteal fossettes, and a V-shaped crease. The results, reported in the journal Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (28:340-347), were published with a helpful photograph illustrating the consistent features of the perfect ass. The role of the buttocks in sitting is neglected in this otherwise comprehensive work, but helpfully surgeons are recommended to mark where the buttocks rest while sitting to avoid injury to vessels and nerves.

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