Years ago, decades? I was at my local YWCA where I exercised, and the locker room was humming with voices. The old ladies fresh from their a water aerobics class adorably called "Twinges in the Hinges," comfortable with their bodies, comfortably showering and dressing with their beautiful aging bodies, middle-aged women like me, gasping and flushed after "Body Pump," an energizing weight lifting class.
But another sound crystallized over all of the grown-up voices: little, excited girls. A daycare class was coming in for a swim lesson, and there were about 8 small ones wide-eyed at all the women surrounding them. The girls were a lovely mix of very pale red-heads, Asian kids, and very dark-skinned African American girls. For one tiny moment, I was apprehensive about changing with the preschoolers around, but then I caught a snippet of their conversation.
They were gathered in a little circle, tiny T-shirts pulled up, little bellies all stuck out. All these girls of different ethnicities, red braids, Afro-puffs, straight dark Asian hair. And they were comparing their belly buttons. "Are you an innie or an outie?" was the compelling question. The main difference they saw was if they had an innie or outie.
As I passed, they giggled (an adult caught them!) and then outright laughed when I pulled up my sweater a bit and showed them mine. "INNIE!" I proclaimed. Their laughter tinkled and rang like bells.