There’s a chapter in 1984 in which Winston is strapped in a chair in a torture chamber and made to experience his personal “worst thing in the world.” For him, it’s rats; for me, it’s being naked and examined under bright lights (fine, and also snakes). I’m comfortable with my body, I accept my body, I just have completely irrational anxiety when someone else is focused on my nude body. For this reason, I avoid massages and spray tans and, you’d think, butt facials. Only when I heard about the latter, I couldn’t resist: My desire for a perfect ass far outweighs my neuroses-I was already fantasizing about my very own oiled-up Paper magazine cover.
The medical-grade butt facial (formally named Tip Top Tush, but I can’t call it that and keep a straight face) was developed last year by Dr. Matthew Schulman, a New York plastic surgeon who specializes in Brazilian butt lifts, and Amanda Sanzone, the medical aesthetician who-thank god-performs it. The idea was to get the skin looking as smooth as possible pre-and-post-surgery, as well as pre-beach, using a targeted combination of laser cellulite reduction, IPL skin rejuvenation and a chemical peel. Each customized treatment costs between $350 and $450.
When I went in for my appointment before work-airy dress, check; extra pair of underwear in my bag, check-I sort of expected to feel awkward and ridiculous, but by acting like butt facials are a normal, matter-of-fact thing, the staff put me totally at ease within minutes. I undressed, put on a robe and stood in front of a mirror, where Amanda asked me to point out my areas of concern. Clearly, I’d like my 18-year-old ass back without having to kill myself at spin class each week, but being as this is non-surgical, I pointed out a few spots of discoloration that bother me and some little bumps along the sides. Amanda decided to skip the cellulite laser (which couldn’t have hurt but I was flattered she didn’t deem it a necessity) and do an IPL photo-facial to lighten dark spots and even skin texture followed by an exfoliating chemical peel.
The whole thing took about 45 minutes and during it, I Snapchatted, caught up on emails and read the news (er, Page Six); by the end, I was so comfortable having my bare butt out on the table that I wasn’t even rushing to cover up. I checked myself out from behind as I was getting dressed and didn’t notice a difference, but I blame office lighting for that. Once I got home that night, I was able to fully appreciate the facial. If you think (which I thought I did) you’ve experienced baby soft after using a body scrub and applying moisturizer, you have no idea-this was next-level smooth. And though Amanda warned me that dark spots will sometimes get darker before flaking off or fading away, that hasn’t been the case; in fact, they’re barely noticeable now. But perhaps the most important advancement of all is that I’ve come to realize clinical nakedness really isn’t such a big deal. So not only did I conquer a fear, but I ended up with a better butt to boot…or, dare I say, a Tip Top Tush.