I received this email from the shapewear company Spanx yesterday, under the subject line “Introducing the Perfect Pick-Me-Up”:
“Manage their assets.” Geddit?
It’s not every woman who wants to augment her derriere, but I’m happy to learn there’s now a name for the little tushy-embiggeners that will do the job: butt-lets.
Here’s Spanx’s web copy:
SPANX introduces its cheekiest product yet—the Booty-Booster Short. This style, which gives a whole new meaning to the phrase fanny pack, is best for those who want more junk in their trunk! Now you can achieve the look of a naturally round rump thanks to this highly constructed, booty-enhancing design with optional butt-lets that add a cheek size!
(Another line on the Spanx website reads “Free shipping . . . no butts about it!”)
“Butt-lets” is almost certainly a pun on another bit of industry jargon: “cutlets,” or even more explicitly—as in the case of a product from Miss Oops—“chicken cutlets.”*
Here’s what that product’s web copy says:
Feeling down? Here’s something to perk you up….Chicken Cutlets by Miss Oops! These silicone breast inserts are perfect to perk your girls up and add some cleavage without going under the knife. Each pair comes in a plastic travel case. Chicken Cutlets will increase your bosom by 1 full cup size.
I haven’t been able to determine when “cutlets” replaced “falsies” in the lexicon of nonsurgical breast enhancement, but when the New York Times addressed the topic in a May 2009 story about the Miss California beauty pageant (“The Beauty of Chicken Cutlets”), writer Tara Parker-Pope adopted a wide-eyed tone:
“There’s plenty of ways of getting to more proportion without doing breast implants,” [pageant director Keith] Lewis said. “Many of the girls use chicken cutlets.”
“You use chicken cutlets,” he said. “You use tape. You use anything that you can to enhance the line. There’s lots of tricks of the trade.”
I was surprised the show’s co-anchor Maggie Rodriguez didn’t ask for a clarification of the chicken cutlet line. Is it widely known that pageant contestants stuff their bras with raw poultry? Wouldn’t this place them at higher risk for salmonella infection?
As it turns out, a “chicken cutlet” is the common term used for a silicone bra insert that is used to create the illusion of larger breasts. Apparently they get their name from the fact that they look like cuts of boneless chicken.
More about Spanx here, here, and here. Bonus link: If you’re a New Yorker subscriber, or can cozy up to one, Alexandra Jacobs’s story about Spanx, from the March 28, 2011, issue, is a riot and a revelation. To take just one example: It was in this article that I learned that “apex” is industry jargon for “nipple.”
* Did you think yesterday’s chik’n post was the last you’d hear about chickens for a while? Hah!