A prior post considered the cultural significance of the visible bra apparati, so I suppose that it should not be a total surprise that my mind wandered south and started to ruminate on underdrawers, and specifically consider the social messages sent by either conventional underwear, the thong or a visible crack.  This was in part prompted by my daughter, home from college, who bent over to retrieve the lettuce from the bottom shelf of the fridge, revealing 0.5 inches of visible crack from her snug fitting jeans.  I thought that she would be grateful that I would be saving her from social embarrassment, but when I pointed this out, she nonchalantly said, “What is the big deal, it’s just a crack.”

Once again in unfamiliar territory.  Certainly when I was growing up, the crack was certainly underwraps, as was any direct visibility of underpants.  Hip huggers were the style in the 1960s and I remember cutting off the waistband of blue jeans and trimming the jeans to a lower daring “waist” line.  We would take the waistband, soak it in warm water and drape it over a ceiling pipe in the basement.  Then we would hang from the pipe, hoping to stretch the waistband so that we could sew it back on to the new low cut jeans.  I had some pants where the zipper probably measured less than 3 inches.  The outfit was then topped off with a wide and thick leather belt with a huge brass buckle.   But no matter how diminutive the zipper, I would have never tolerated visible underwear extending above the pants.  In the 1980s there was a short lived solution to this problem – the body suit, where the front and back of the shirt were snapped together under the crotch like a toddler’s onesie, eliminating any possibility of delamination when you bent over.

So based on my daughter’s comment, the visible crack (more scientifically known as the intergluteal cleft) was now considered no more significant than, say, an elbow.  The visible crack probably achieved its greatest publicity in an early Saturday Night Live skit, where Lisa Loobner and her boyfriend Todd could barely contain themselves when Dan Ackroyd, as the plumber, bent over to reveal a good 2-3 inches of crack, in fact “plumber’s crack” became part of the vernacular.  However, I suspect that concepts of gluteal quality – i.e. color, consistency and contour – determined the social acceptability of the visible crack.  There is certainly a difference between a taut teenage body and a big ole’ flabby, mottled pale white and slightly hairy crack.

What was the social message of a visible crack, was it really no big deal, or was it sending a flirty and naughty message?  And if flirtation was part of the message, why was I receiving this message at breakfast on a weekday morning?  It made me ponder on whether I would rather see a crack or a protruding thong, and I think that I am voting for the crack.   The crack is an error of omission – I could imagine my daughter testing out jeans in the dressing room, bending over in several ways and then craning her neck over her should to see if her cleft showed, but there was no way that she could anticipate every circumstance and a simulated bend and reach into the salad drawer was not part of the repertoire.  Now you might test thongs in the same way, but the thong seems riskier since it is not snugged in under the gluteal fold (distinguished from the cleft by its shallower depth and the fact that it runs horizontally compared to the “where the sun don’t shine” vertical cleft.)  Furthermore, there are times when the visible thong seems entirely intentional, i.e. a high rise thong combined with low rise jeans.  You might don a thong for a date night when you want to send out a sexual message, but for routine activities, the visible thong straddles that fine line between sexy confidence and skanky trampiness.  I once saw a mother changing her child’s diaper on the carpet at the airport gate, and as she bent over, out popped the thong.  Was she trying to send the message that even though she was a mother she still “had it” and was going to flaunt it?  Well if so, good for her, but I didn’t want to see it.  Here is my personal preference list from bad to better on the visual scale (all other things being equal):  intentional thong, unintentional thong, granny pannies, inadvertent crack.

Internet commentary describes thongs as the solution to a visible panty line, apparently a situation so horrifying that it is known simply as VPL.  So based on this logic, the thong becomes a risk benefit decision regarding the consequence of seeing the underwear outline vs. the thong itself.  Taking a page for Law and Order, I would say, “that’s bootstrapping your honor,” i.e. creating a contrived nonsexual rationale for a basically sexual agenda, and of course there is the issue of visible thong line, VTL, or “vittle.”  However, I will say that I have seen women in white pants who have made disastrous underwear choices.  When I was working at the hospital, there was a certain nurse who had no clue that her patterned underwear were clearly visible through her tight polyester pants.  One day, I noticed that she was wearing underwear that clearly said “Thursday” across the back, but since it was Friday, I wondered if she had forgotten to change up.  Another day, she was wearing underwear that depicted the Chicago skyline, where the tall erect Sears tower was perfectly aligned with her cleft.

Now if you are truly concerned about VPL, I would think that the best solution would be to go commando.  Marilyn Monroe did this with great success as she was sewn into a gold sequined gown she wore to serenade President Kennedy on his birthday.  The commando option does beg the question why we are wearing underwear in the first place.  I can imagine a variety of reasons: protection, reshaping the contour of the anatomy, modesty, basic mopping up action, habit and sexuality.  Now protection is more of a male issue where there appears to be no clear winner in the boxers vs. tidy whiteys  vs. the banana hammock debate.  Reshaping the contour refers more to bras, which typically try to enhance and showcase a modest endowment.  In contrast, reshaping the buttocks is the exact opposite – an attempt to discretely compress over-endowments using something along the lines of a girdle or stout “granny pannies.”  Clearly the thong does not fit this role.  Modesty applies to skirts where there is a possibility of a peek-a-boo.  Commando-loving Marilyn apparently wore two pairs of underwear to keep the crowds at bay when she famously stood over the subway grate and coyly tried to control her billowing skirt.  I can identify.  In kindergarten I always had to wear a skirt, and I was grateful for my underwear since my classmate Eddie Friedlander always stood under the jungle gym to sneak a peek.

The mop up requires some absorbing action.  Now the female anatomy has three outlets down there, two have sphincters, one does not, and thus its contents are more subject to the effects of gravity, if you catch my drift.  In fact there is a whole industry around the panty liner, as a sort of belt and suspenders approach to the mop up.  In my mind this is the clearest function of underwear and a role that cannot be achieved by the slender thong, even with a panty liner.  Thong aficionados claim that they are comfortable once you get used to them, but that is an attribute only if there is some other function.  That leaves habit and sexuality as the only rationales for thongs; neither of these roles is hostage to practicality or logic, and both are fueled by an entire industry devoted to decorating the derriere, so my plan for a nation wide commando action is doomed to failure.

The missing words in the following poems are anagrams (i.e. spot, stop, post) and the number of dashes indicates the number of words.  One of the missing words will rhyme with either the preceding or following line.  Your job is to solve the missing words based on the context of the poem.   Scroll down for the answers.

Underwear has an important role that is sanitary

It ***** stuff that succumbs to forces that are gravitary

But the thong is only equipped with a tiny little *****

That might not be up to the task in case of mishap.

And then it ***** the gluteal cleft both dark and deep,

Frankly, I would prefer panties that occasionally creep.







Answers:  strap, traps, parts

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