Like many women, I’ve long harbored nagging body hang-ups. I’ve heard we all have at least one thing we wish we could change—weight, breast size, hip width, nose length, belly roll, ass curve, etc., etc. I’ve certainly had my fair share of these “one things,” things I either wished to vanquish or worked ridiculously hard to at least adjust somehow. I remember a multi-year stint as a child convinced I would get a nose job when I was 18, but it turns out, I was destined to grow into the full-sized nose I had from birth. I hated my hips for the longest time because I was born with those, too (really), and I spent a lot of my teen years with bruises on them from bumping into things since I somehow didn’t grasp how wide they were. Both these features have since balanced out, and while they’re no longer issues, certain “one things” have persisted over the years. The big one, no matter how fit I am or what I do, is the hereditary trait most of the women in my family share: the “dreaded apple thighs.”
Apple thighs, I’m sure you’re thinking. What in the hell are those?
Apple thighs, you see, are very distinct in shape. They’re not quite like their oft-dwelled upon cousin, thunder thighs, but a round, fleshy version that tapers at the knee. This taper is what resembles—in some odd way that my mother explained to me when I was a wee little girl—an apple. And we of the women in my family are doomed (yes, doomed) to have these cursed apple thighs, no matter if we are thick or thin, short or tall, curvy or straight. Those fuckers just happen, and despite this, in my family, they get a lot of negative attention and commentary. As I have learned, apple thighs are bemoaned and bad, and as beautiful as one of us may be, we’ve still missed out somehow by having these big ass curvy thighs.
Now, I’m going to be extremely straight with you today: I’ve worked with some real body image issues over the years, which ebb and flow and for which I’ve even sought a little counseling to better deal on occasion. I’m all over the #allbodiesarebeautiful movement because I believe in it through and through, and though I have my wavers in spells, deep in my heart, I know these apple thighs are part of me and something that, most of the time, I’m okay with. But when I have my doubts—about them, or any other part—I have to think about the whole picture. I have to come to terms with who I am and love me just as I am.
That’s why, of all the stories I’ve released into the world, “Apple Thighs” is one of my most cherished pieces. It’s out now in Rachel Kramer Bussel’s Begging For It: Erotic Fantasies for Women. I wrote it one night after a particularly grueling day having heard another family member snigger at those “pesky apple thighs”; I’d come home and taken a peek at them in passing, and I thought the poor things needed a break, once and for all. I’d already had a few years in the circus, where I loved to dress up wearing leotards, tights, and thigh-high stockings—which I intentionally used to flash my thighs—so I’d had a good wave of embracing them. I’d even discovered how handy they were in my pole classes (because grip, hello). Still, I felt like this positive acknowledgement of their existence needed to be more drastic.
I needed to write a character who recognized her body for what it was and not only accepted it, but learned to love it, right there in the course of the story.
From that, Cassie and her post-counseling bus ride was born…and I went one step further, too, not dooming her with my apple thighs—but giving them to her as a gift.
Cassie is a bit down on her luck when we meet her, but on her bus ride—with the perfect co-passenger—she has that moment I think all women with that “one thing” need: the epiphany in which we realize that yes, we are who we are, and yes, we are just perfect as is.
So without further adieu, I’m delighted to share an excerpt of “Apple Thighs” with you:
Cassie pressed her palms onto her thighs. She’d been blessed with smooth, unblemished skin most of her life, so even stocky as they were, her thighs had the consistent, unmarred fair coloring that covered the rest of her body. As the bus continued its roll down the city streets, the flesh of her thighs shook. She had thin calves and narrow knees, but above them her legs curved out to a substantial width. In truth, she had a lot of muscle in those thighs from years of dancing and running, but they were definitely the outliers from the rest of her body.
She pursed her lips and ran her hands back and forth, grazing her skin. She could rest on her tiptoes to keep her legs up so that her thighs didn’t appear so wide, like two sturdy pancakes smashed out on the seat. But she kind of liked the way they looked. They carried her. They made her womanly. Plus, she was able to outrun all the women in her former running group—big, strong apple thighs and all.
Cassie fanned her fingers over her thighs and rubbed her palms along their length again, sighing. Her skirt caught on her wrists as she glided her hands up, crumpling it at the top of her thighs. She peeked at the seat across from her. Two older women sat there, the one by the window staring out and the one on the aisle reading a book. They didn’t notice her. No one in front of her would see what she was doing, either. She turned her head, checking out the seat behind her at a diagonal. No one there.
But the man behind her cleared his throat.
Cassie flattened her skirt and shoved her hands to her knees, her face burning as she whipped it forward.
Had he seen what she was doing, mindlessly stroking her thighs?
More importantly, was she insane, rubbing her thighs like that in public?
As if in answer, the man lifted himself in his seat. Cassie held her breath. The entire bus was frozen in time, the driver watching the road, and the other occupants reading books, listening to iPods, or chattering about the news. But this man slid around the seat and sat beside her, not a word coming from his mouth as he peered forward.
She turned her head slightly, examining him from the corner of her eye and realizing she’d seen this guy before. She’d even smiled at him once, the last time she’d been stuck on this bus. He was handsome, his face peppered with the tiny hairs of one who didn’t shave everyday, and he had hazel eyes that shimmered thanks to the sun streaming through the window beside her. When she saw him a few days ago, he’d been wearing a baseball cap—but now his sandy blond hair was loose around his ears, making him look a tad older than he once had. Mid-thirty, late thirties…Cassie couldn’t tell. But she could tell that he was some sort of painter, his tee shirt and jeans always speckled with dried paint. Today he wore a spot of fuchsia on his right thumb and a streak of red along his left wrist.
She straightened her head again, her nerves on high. Had he seen what she was doing?
She felt his scrutiny on her then, and a chill fogged her body. When he spoke, his voice came out a deep bass that prickled her skin.
“Do you mind if I sit here?”
Cassie shook her head, her fingers latched around her knees. Her legs suddenly felt hugely exposed, though she did choose to wear this skirt in public, and apparently had no problem touching her thighs a minute before.
“It’s a better view,” he said.
Cassie bit down on her tongue.
Maybe he meant the window. Or being one seat closer to the front of the bus.
Or maybe she really was an idiot.
“Yeah,” she said, her heart racing. “Sunny outside today, isn’t it?”
The man raised an eyebrow and smiled. Cassie broke out in goose bumps. She hadn’t made an ass of herself on this bus, had she?
She willed herself to look back at him, wondering if her thighs had turned as crimson as her face—because wow, was she blushing, her cheeks burning with embarrassment. The sensation ran the entire length of her body in under a second.
“It is. But that’s not what I was talking about.” He gazed directly at her thighs, then back to her face. “Please don’t stop on my account.”
Cassie didn’t move.
The man kept grinning at her. She was surprised she didn’t find it uncomfortable, or awkward. In fact, she shifted slightly on the bench, keenly aware of how hot it was at the apex of her apple thighs.
Cassie pinched her lips together. Great, now she sounded like an idiot, too.
The man scooted forward in the seat, enough to block her from the view of any other passengers. He was tall, and with the muscles in his arms alone, it was clear he was strong beneath his jeans and tee shirt. She could do whatever she wanted right here in this seat, and no one would be the wiser.
Cassie shook herself. Was she actually thinking about this?
The man put both hands on his thighs, then tilted his head toward her legs before dragging his hands in an upward motion.
He was modeling what he wanted from her.
Her stomach knotted but her heart thumped in her ears. His smile was so sweet, so warm. So encouraging.
She slid her hands up her legs, halting them mid-thigh. Her fingers were shaking.
Now the man cupped his thighs, and Cassie did the same.
Beneath her panties, her groin swelled with heat. The flush running through her body was like a teasing caress, and she gripped her thighs again. He met her eyes and nodded.
“May I?” he asked.
I hope you enjoyed that teaser of “Apple Thighs,” included in Begging For It, Erotic Fantasies for Women. You can find out more about this anthology from Cleis Press on its Tumblr Page. It’s edited by the fabulous Rachel Kramer Bussel, and is available now in paperback and in a few more days on Kindle. I hope you’ll please check it out!
Happy reading, and may you love your apple thighs, too. 🙂