Monday, April 06, 2009

A crack crackdown

I am tired of looking at butt cracks.

Sorry to shock you with that opening sentence but Richard Haney, my first Northwestern journalism instructor, was adamant about the “strong lead.” Haney, rest his cantankerous soul, would have been proud of that one. I can almost hear him now.

Nice job Greg. (COUGH, WHEEZE, GASP) Short and to the point. Makes me want to read on.

Fact is, the exposed butt crack is everywhere. And I’m sick of it.

My breaking point occurred recently at a neighborhood ski outing. Four families sharing a cabin in Northwest Illinois. Kids of various ages running through the house dressed in their fashion of the day, which means plaid sweatpants and t-shirts for the girls. I didn’t really notice what the boys were wearing because I don’t have boys. But boy’s fashions haven’t really changed since the days of the Roman Empire, have they? If photos existed back then, you would have seen boys wearing Tom Brady jerseys and jeans under their armor.

Girls, on the other hand, change their styles as often as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie change their family makeup. The hair gets more colorful, the shirts get tighter and the pants get lower. I try not to notice, except when it’s my own daughter, but I couldn’t take it any longer when I observed one of my daughter’s friends, also 12, eating a bowl of cereal one morning while standing in the kitchen. Her back was to me and the aforementioned plaid sweatpants were creeping down lower and lower until I saw it. Her butt crack.

I tried to avert my eyes, as there is definitely something wrong with a 46-year-old man staring at a 12-year-old’s butt. I wanted this nightmare to be over. “Please, please cover that up,” I thought. “Pull up your pants. I mean it.”

As if my thoughts had been relayed to her by psychic powers, she put her cereal bowl down and nonchalantly reached around to the back of her waist.

“Thank God,” I thought. “She must have felt the breeze.”

With both hands now firmly in place, she gave a yank and pulled her sweatpants…DOWN! That’s right, she went in the OPPOSITE direction, pulling south instead of north. Apparently she realized that her crack was about to be COVERED UP. Oh, the horror!

She resumed eating her breakfast while I went into the bathroom to regurgitate mine.

Why is this happening? Why is the butt crack suddenly a fashion statement? I thought exposing your butt crack meant you had to have a plumbing license. Now butt cracks are as visible as the crack of dawn. My most recent encounter came only yesterday when a 40-something woman was re-tying her shoes after retrieving them from the airport security scanner. As numerous passengers reached over her to get their belongings, she casually bent down and …HELLOOOO!

Whenever something puzzles me, I turn to the two most accurate sources of information in today’s society: Wikipedia and Google.

I typed “butt crack” into Google, unsure whether or not to insert a space between “butt” and “crack.” I believe two words are correct because “butt crack” resulted in 2,450,000 hits while “buttcrack” netted only 661,000. Also, the Microsoft spell checker feels a space is necessary so now I’m convinced.

The first hit led me to Flickr, the photo sharing service, which actually contains a folder called “buttcrack clusters.” Have a picture of a crack? Send it to Flickr and share it with the world! Note: You can also put it in the “butt,” “booty,” “arse” and “crack” groups if you are so inclined.

Other hits lead me to photos of what were purported to be various celebrity butt cracks including Britney Spears’ and Kim Kardashian’s. Sandwiched in the middle was a hit for a 1998 film called simply, “Buttcrack.” A comedy horror story, according to the Internet Movie Database, it tells the tale of a “gun-totin', Bible-thumpin' Preacher Man Bob (who) must right the universal karma accidentally set wrong when Brian inadvertently kills his obnoxious butt-cleavaged roommate, Wade.”

Must have missed that one at the multiplex.

Speaking of cinema, I did click on a semi-funny YouTube video that spoofed Google Earth by showing the technology honing in on a man’s butt crack as he worked in his backyard garden. While humorous, it still forced me to look at a butt crack.

Wikipedia takes a more clinical approach. Type “butt crack” into its search engine and an entry for gluteal cleft appears along with the following definition: “the groove or crack between the buttocks that runs from just below the sacrum to the perineum, so named because it forms the visible between the external rounded protrusions of the gluteus maximus muscles.”

But you probably knew that, didn’t you?

The gluteal cleft entry also contained a photo of an anonymous butt crack. Just think, right now somebody is walking around completely unaware that his or her (from the photo, it looks to be “his”) crack is on display in the world’s largest free encyclopedia.

Many of you probably feel I am overreacting. After all, everyone is born with a cr- er gluteal cleft. Television commercials for diapers and baby powder routinely show naked toddlers romping before the camera, cracks fully exposed.

I’m okay with that but only because baby’s cracks look the same. Face it, when you’re born, the playing field is level.

But like everything else in this world, cracks eventually turn into the “haves” and the “have nots.” My brother-in-law’s home contains a black and white poster of a woman stepping out of a shower, back to the camera. Her butt, if I may be so bold, is PERFECT. And when I say perfect, I mean everything, including the crack. Small, shallow and indiscrete, almost as if God had said, “Oh yeah, I almost forgot to add this. Here you go.”

But even if I encountered this woman’s crack at airport security, I would still want her to cover it simply because it encourages others who think they have good looking cracks to expose them. Some women have great breasts. But you don’t see fully exposed breasts in airports, do you?

It appears I am not alone in my skittishness with the crack. I expanded my Google inquiry by typing “but crack fashion statement” and was greeted with the following discussion thread from Yahoo Answers:

Question: If I’m gonna show butt crack via low rise jeans, how much should I show?

Answer: I really hope this is a joke. You shouldn't get pants that are low enough to show your crack. I don't know of anyone that considers it sexy, so please try to avoid it!

Answer: None.

Answer: You are a stupid slut.

You know who else shares my anti-crack sentiment? Tennessee state Representative Joe Towns, D-Memphis, who recently introduced a bill outlawing pants that fall below the waist.

“I call it the anti-crack bill,” Towns told the Knoxville News.

Specifically, the bill states it is “an offense for any person to knowingly wear pants below the person's waistline, in a public place, in a manner that exposes the person's underwear or bare buttocks.”

Still want to show your crack in Tennessee? If Towns’ bill becomes law, it could cost you $200 and 40 hours of community service. Hopefully that community service will be something other than picking up trash, as that would require bending over, thereby defeating the entire purpose.

I applaud Rep. Towns for taking the crack issue to the state level. I doubt it will get any higher as it appears President Obama has enough on his plate right now. But at least it’s a start. I’d be happy to spend some time in Tennessee if it meant I didn’t have to look at cracks during the entire visit. Heck, I might even purchase some fireworks and bootleg whiskey, both of which are readily available in that state.

Until we hear if Towns’ law is even constitutional, I suggest everybody conduct a “self crack” test, much like women do self breast exams and men feel their private areas for any sign of testicular cancer. It’s very simple and takes only a few seconds:

1) Put on your favorite pair of pants
2) Bend at the knees while reaching a finger around to your gluteal cleft area
3) Now bend at the waist and do the same thing
4) If you felt anything other than skin while performing steps two and three, get some new pants

Thank you. In the meantime, my daughter is having a sleepover this weekend with 15 of her friends.

I won’t be there.

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