I was lying in bed, with the comforter draped toga-like around my body. Curled up on one side, the flannel covered my breasts and my butt, but left my bare back exposed to the elements—which included Paco’s soft fur as he tried to get comfortable and the soft air coming from a fan.

Pregnant Sister #3 begs most everyone she knows to rub her back—the sister club, our mom, her husband, my niece and nephew, everyone. She always wants someone to rub her back. The more I thought about it, the more I realized all my sisters ask for constant back rubs. I don’t blame them, who doesn’t love having their back rubbed?

I do, I love it. But I don’t ask anymore, not even lovers. I blame this all on Glenn, one man I dated briefly. I used to ask him to rub my back all the time, and in that first early-glow of relationship he acquiesced without complaint and I would purr with satisfaction. Eventually he grew tired of it and complained that my back was too long to rub. There was just too much of it and he didn’t want to do it anymore. It shut me up immediately and permanently. I would never dream of asking someone to do something so tedious.

Now that I look back on this, it’s probably one of the worst things anyone could say to me. I have body hang-ups like most women, most of them centering on my extraordinary height, even more than my weight. To hear that my back was too long was devastating. This has plagued me with every man I’ve been with since. My back is too long, he thinks my back is too long, I bet he hates that my back is so long. Enough, I know.

So as I was lying there tonight, I decided I didn’t care if my back was too long. It’s my back and it needs to be long and strong. I have burdens to carry, not the least of which is worrying about my back being too long. When you are a 6’5″ girl, you need a long strong back, more than you need long shapely legs (which is a rant of a totally different length). When you are a 6’5″ your back has to be long to hold your head up above the crowd, to show that you are not ashamed of your unusual height. It has to be long so you can rise above the stares and the points and the comments and the fear that you aren’t quite girl enough. Your back needs to be long and strong so you can shoulder the burden of figuring out just how you fit into such a narrow idea of femininity.

I’ve decided that I need all 37 inches of this back (yeah, I measured from the hollow at the back of my skull to the place below my hips where my tail would be if it hadn’t been removed). I’ve also decided that the next man who is lucky enough to get close to my naked back is going to be asked to rub it. And he should be damn grateful that he’s got 37 inches of long, strong back made of pure steel to touch.

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  1. B 23.Oct.03 at 11:15 pm

    Jodi, you are the most amazing writer I have ever read. You make me cry, you make me laugh, you make me feel such strong emotions…and I’m so jealous of you. I wish I had only one millionth of your talent. You without a doubt have the most amazing blog I’ve ever read.!.

  2. jodi 23.Oct.03 at 11:54 pm

    gee B, thanks so much. i love hearing that. poor, poor bittersweetheart has been much ignored as of late. i owe it a story about passion, i just haven’t done it. yet.

  3. maggie 24.Oct.03 at 6:28 pm

    Truly amazing. Found your narratives while searching for something else entirely (which I have promptly forgotten upon reading Heartbreak in Three Acts). The laughing, the crying… I just forwarded these links to my own “barbecue lady” and friends. You say what we cannot, either because we are too afraid, or we just don’t know the words.