The New Crack Epidemic
focus on "plumber’s butt" throughout the Ages
by m. brimstone
Flying a flag of solidarity, the plumber was, is, and will always
be the forbearer and silent father of an important movement in the history
of our nation;
Rights. Many an angry suffragette or feminist has cast a proverbial stone or
disgusted glance at a sloppy, slovenly plumber. But what she could not and may
not want to know is that his exposed coin-slot, ass crack, plumber’s butt,
is her flag flying proudly. No one knew. Not even the earliest Roman plumber,
in a show of righteous lazy indignation would bring about such a scandal in the
centuries to come. Christendom in the Middle Ages changed the very root of the
word plumber in Latin, plumbum, to Plummer. That crack had been filled, but it
would leave a fault line. Little could they know that it was this silent show
of abject loyalty to the cause of self-expression that would smolder in the flames
of a conquered Rome, surviving religious persecution and cover-ups until finally
the flames were again fanned or, fannyed, if you will, in the Americas.
In recent years, we’ve been exposed to a lot of ass crack. Not just the “point
and laugh” ass crack. Sure, there’s plenty of that, but with the
low rise trend on women’s jeans and men’s low waisted Hip Hop fashions
of the 90’s, the long hidden coin slot has made a startling appearance
in mainstream fashion. With all the staying power of a fat guy at an all you
can eat buffet, this trend has hit Paris runways and infiltrated pop culture,
as mall icons like Avril Lavigne, notorious for that wry vertical smile that’s
always creeping out of her jeans, and gazillion dollar heiress Paris Hilton,
who is more content to reveal her derriére’s ditch then her holdings,
have helped cement the can’s open air status. So just when did it become
fashionable for one to show ass crack? Traditionally, this simultaneously inappropriate
and entertaining, but a faux pas nevertheless, slip of the drawers seemed to
be strictly a blue collar signature. But it’s not just for the Norge
repairmen of this world anymore. The purpose of this article is to probe this
fascinating transformation. The goal is to open a discourse that explores the
nether regions of fashion and its new moon.
What’s acceptable in one culture may be shameful to another. So, while
some are offended by the sight of another’s ass crack, some are entertained
and/or titillated. Modesty and shame often dictate what is appropriate, however,
the fact remains that these are constructs that are grounded in one’s subjective,
relative reality. Thus, there’s no shame for some where others would dare
not tread. Taboos serve to dictate acceptable behavior and reinforce this relative
reality. Yet taboos are highly unstable, as a principle rigidly upheld today
is abandoned tomorrow and soon forgotten. Reality is a flux; it evolves and each
new era ushers in a new perspective. Aptly, as Grandpa Simpson once related to
a young Homer & Barney, “I used to be with it, but then they changed
what it was. Now what I’m with isn’t it, and what’s it seems
weird and scary to me. It’ll happen to you...”
Free your mind and your ass will follow
In the West, the over-exposed glute has long been a class specific oddity,
generally associated with the working class laborer and specifically the plumber.
association no doubt has its roots in the fact that plumbers must bend down
to get to the pipes under sinks, which inevitably causes the pants, often encumbered
with a heavy utility belt, to sag and reveal more than a clogged drain (Side
note: the most popular brand name of work pants is Dickies and one cannot help
but wonder why they weren’t called Assies). Interestingly enough, the word “plumber” comes
from the latin plumbum. It’s no wonder why plumbers have received
But not all male ass crack is shunned by society. Some men have highlighted
their buns to great success. Iggy Pop has been flashing both his ass and his
years during his live performances. Hell, we all know that is the only reason
Bowie wanted to work with him in the first place. Not just superstars but local
heros get in on the exposure too. The striped stocking wearing Brookline, Mass
bad boys, Tunnel of Love, have resorted to ass-crack showing antics. And let’s
not forget Brooklyn’s most over-exposed buns, that clown from the Shemps
who is always begging for a slap on the ass.
Crack the bare truth behind the crack
Chris Larry asks, “I wanna know why there is a double standard? All ass
crack is hilarious, but what’s with this good crack / bad crack?”
Well Chris, most people polled agreed: women crack good; men crack bad. The
idea that women dress to attract a mate has been around since the crack of
of man. The female (intentional) display of coin slot is alluring and fashionable.
This is diametrically opposed to the notion of plumbers butt, with its uncouth
reputation. There are social principles to consider when contemplating this
male / female dichotomy. Women’s clothes are governed by what might be called
the Seduction Principle, that is, they are sex-conscious clothes. Men’s
clothes, on the other hand, are governed by the Hierarchical Principle, that
is, they are class-conscious clothes. The purpose of clothes for women is to
make them more sexually attractive, whereas men’s clothes function is to
reflect social status. These principles developed thru time as a way of communicating
and displaying to potential mates the desirable qualities one possesses. Adhering
to this logic, it becomes crystal clear what each sex seeks in a mate. Women
desire money while men are just lookin’ for a nice piece of ass.
We have deduced two theories of why this professional signature has migrated
from the geek to the chic. One being the main streaming of pornography, the
other the “new cleavage”.
The Old Codger asks: Why do young folk now-a-days walk around with their ass
hanging out and why are they as hairless as a baby squirrel? Any connection?
I don’t think it’s an accident that both trends happened simultaneously. Young
people will always follow trends in an effort to attract the attention of the
opposite sex. That will never change. However, with the mainstreaming of pornography,
it’s our nation’s tastemakers that have changed. The internet has
made pornography easier then ever to access, and porno tapes have elevated Pamela
Anderson and Paris Hilton’s celebrity status. Widespread viewing has
changed the notion of what young people find alluring. Trimming the hedges
is now de
rigueur the way only legs and arm pits once were. And with todays knuckle heads
raised on a steady diet of oiled up celebrities in Maxim, it takes quite a
bit more flesh to turn heads. Low-rise jeans are the perfect way to show off
crack of the ass, sexy undergarments and over shaved nether regions. Pornography
has quite literally lowered the bar on waist bands.
The New Cleavage: sexuality vs. repression.
A brief History of Line
The exposure of the ‘relevant fashion line’ started in the 15th century.
The neckline is the first example of this line. Cleavage was an obvious result
as the relevant fashion line plunged ever deeper. Obviously, as the trends changed,
relevant fashion lines migrated south. The 16th century marked the enhancement
of the bust line by corset. The corset evolved with society’s idea of sexuality
as flirtatious. Hence cleavage became a taste of sin in an ever more religious
society. In 1820 we see the invention of the mechanical corset and might note
the metaphorical similarities between a woman constrained in a burgeoning industrial
age and the puritanical society in which it was developed. Like a geyser
or hill that sprouts up when two opposing tectonic plates collide.
Montana Brimstone provides:
The corset enhanced the look of the breast to make a woman more desirable.
Oddly enough, this enhancement occurred during a period of subjugation on the
of church, state and society which has since been unprecedented. As the idyllic
enhancement of sexuality grew, so did societal constraints. The most obvious
metaphor of the opposing forces of sexuality and religion is the corset. It
was the Christians of the middle ages who demonized the flesh as sinful, changing
ideas about the body all-together. The psychological implications of this repression
are represented in the flirtatious concept of cleavage, anal or inter-mammary.
These areas were deemed bad or immoral or at the very least, connected with
inherent sexuality that was considered conceptually alluring and quite manifestly
sinful. These areas were so rife with desire that the very exposure of its
intersection evoked carnal instincts, which Christians saw as calamitous.
New Dawn Sagging
Such restraints remained firmly in place until the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Bra burning. No bra. The casting off of the fashion line and the enhancement
of the “sinful” cleavage. This new, free society manifested itself
and took hold in every form, including sex, drugs and rock and roll (yeah!).
Hippies explored the notion of the ownership of one’s body and the
classic hip huggers are probably the first obvious example of knowledgeable exposure
of anal cleft. And who said the hippies were self-righteous good-for-nothings?
Ten years after women are running around topless it’s not hard to see
why the next shocking step of fashion would be to expose such an asset.
When did it creep to fashion forward?
High: fashion forward
In recent history the exposed bum was shown by English Designer Amanda Wakeley,
who designed a halter neck dress with a deeply cut back in crocodile satin
devore. That same year, Alexander Mc Queen introduced the Bumsters, a pair
of pants which
revealed a great part of the behind. The “Brazilination” of the posterior
continued in South America, reappearing in 2003 on runways in Brazil
Astonishingly, when investigating this fashion phenomena, our crack FANCY research
team found a glut of examples reveling in the reveal of the rear, beginning
with antiquity. The ass crack can be seen on Roman sculptures of women in Diaphanous
gowns, the most famous being the “Venus De Milo” in the Louvre. Another
illustration found in the “History of Costume” published 1902 shows
a roman solider with the top of his bottom uncovered. It seems it was commonplace
among French craftsmen of the late middle ages to expose a little crack, referred
to as la fente du cul. In the 18th c., an adorned Italian king exposed his upper
gluteus maximus when fighting a waring faction. His Heininess, Emperor Guido “El
Culo” Culini defeated the insurrectors not knowing his ass was hanging
out. It spurned a feverish fashion trend among his paison, as both sexes and
all classes donned the assless look. It seems to have all but disappeared only
to return in the 1960’s with the introduction of Ungaro’s open back
pantsuit, which was followed by the “hip hugger” a year later.
90’s saw men getting in on this trend by challenging the waistline in hip
hop fashion with the urban penchant of showing off tighty whities, boxers or
both. It has been recently reported that ass crack is making quite an appearance
at mess halls and the exercise yard. Plumber’s butt may have been receding
back into obscurity for a brief time in 20th c. fashions, but it continued
to be the muse of some great artists including Cezanne, Dali, Norman Rockwell
ad men (see the Coppertone Girl, who interestingly enough recently lost her
But what about teenage girls? The low rise jeans are so ubiquitous that it
is difficult to find anything but. Kathy S. of NJ confessed her perplexity
trend. “It’s ludicrous. I was in church just last week and a 12 year-old
girl has it hanging out. Her back business. The top part of her ass crack was
visible. It’s church!” Well Kathy, we’ve seen the Stations
of the Cross reliefs adorning church walls. Surely Christ, clad only in a loincloth
as he dragged that big-ass cross uphill, must’ve flashed his business many
times. Lo, he did not freak out, he merely turned the other cheek. Another mother,
Anne, of Brooklyn, tells us that her 12 year-old daughter has a lovely, small
derriere so nothing bulges out of even her lowest risers, but she doesn’t
get the lowest ones out there. Bridgett and Ian, both 15 and from NJ, inform
us that girls don’t wear low rise jeans to look hot. They wear them because
it’s in fashion. “It’s pretty trashy”, they conclude.
Low: Fashion Faux Pas
The negative connotation or low class stigma goes way back. In Egypt, slaves
wore little, while Pharaohs were heavily adorned, reinforcing the idea that
less flesh being shown equates to high social status. It is customary in some
societies to remove articles of dress as a mark of respect. This is because,
in such societies, nakedness is often a sign of inferior social status, subserviency
or submission. There tends to be a positive correspondence between social rank
and quantity of garment worn. So here we seem to be getting at the root of
bad ass crack. In Barbara Tuchman’s excellent read “A Distant Mirror,
the Calamitous 14th c.” it was reported in 1378 that a maiden, while in
public, mistakenly revealed her upper crack region and was ridiculed for being
a woman of loose morals. In Europe, non-clerical men in the 14th c. abandoned
the gown for divided legs clad in tights. Knights and courtiers had adopted the
excessively short tunic which, one chronicler complained, “revealed the
buttocks and other parts of the body that should be hidden”, exciting
the mockery of the common people. The latter example sees the lower class mocking
the upper class, demonstrating the stigma of ass crack has no class. Simply
Is there good ass-crack? Most men interviewed claimed to be somewhere in the
middle while admitting that a little butt exposed on an attractive woman has
a pleasing aesthetic so long as it was not too much and incidental. Women interviewed
had mixed reactions. Jenni Tull, 37, of NYC says there’s no such thing
as good ass crack, but then reveals that it is always shockingly funny. Our Nana,
82, of AZ says “No good. All these young woman should not be exposing themselves.
Don’t they know that they are attracting unwanted attention. It’s
em-bare-assing. They should think more of themselves.” When asked about
men, she replied “ Oh! it’s gross, but you can’t help but laugh.
It’s frightfully entertaining.”
And what is bad ass crack? Too much exposure on any sex. A man with lots of
hair who just doesn’t care was sighted as the number one culprit. “It’s
just wrong” “ugh, put that away” and “gross’ were
the most common responses we heard.
For or against?
98% of the people interviewed for this article agreed that the unexpected and
unknown exposure of one’s crack is hilarious. Some folk don’t find
this celebration of anal cleavage at all fashionable or laughable. Lawmakers
in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Florida have all tried but failed to impose their
ideas of acceptable derriéres dress.
“Louisiana state legislators will soon have an opportunity to get a grip
on one of those really serious issues. Not health care. Not jobs. Not criminal
justice. Not education. If freshman State Rep. Derrick Shepherd (D-LA) gets his
way, the state will soon criminalize — yup, criminalize — the wearing
of pants too low. Shepherd filed a bill this past week that would make it illegal
for a person to wear “his pants below his waist and thereby exposing his
skin or intimate clothing.” If the bill is adopted, violators would face
a fine of up to $500 and/or up to six months in jail. “I’m sick of
seeing it ... The community’s outraged. And if parents can’t do their
job, if parents can’t regulate what their children wear, then there should
be a law,” explained Shepherd.
New Orleans Times-Picayune Apr. 2004
Overall, people agreed that intentional plumber’s butt is trashy, but many
found the trends that stemmed from the low rise craze more offensive. For example,
the tramp stamp, a tattoo in the lower back area just above the tush, was frequently
cited as the least attractive. The thong, or T-back, and its constant over-exposure
also raises the ire of our readers. Thong underwear, although around since the
80’s, rarely saw the light of day until the low rise takeover. Hold on,
there seems to be another toxic coccyx craze sweeping the cellar. This newest
attempt to improve on nature, the Butt-dazzler, allows one to be-jewel his or
her fault line. It is really quite similar to the brow and nose ring. The company
revealed that the product was developed from professional trade secrets, such
as the plumber’s pencil holder, AKA the plumber’s pocket.