Letting It All Hang Out

AROUND THE RIM

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With the precipitationless winter of 06 winding down and the juniper pollen cascading around us like the snowfall we finally had, we might as well turn our focus to that earliest rite of spring -- the bare midriff.

Or as one Payson Roundup reader recently put it: "unclothed abdomens." In her letter, headlined "Bare midriffs alarming," this reader expressed her shock at finding a "naked stomach" displayed on the front page.

The photo she was referring to was of a pregnant woman's enlarged belly. It accompanied a story about how to avoid birth defects.

Shocking. But what sent our gentle reader over the edge was the appearance of yet another "naked stomach" on the front page soon thereafter. This time it was a much more svelte belly illustrating a story about a new belly dancing class.

Allow me to be the first to agree with our concerned reader. Bare midriff's are an outlandish fashion statement.

But I must qualify my objection, because, let's face it, bare midriff's are also extremely sexy. If, that is, you've got the midriff to bare.

Or, as our reader would probably put it, if you have the abdomen to unclothe. Because there are a lot of women out there flashing the flesh who have a little too much flesh to flash. And, in some cases, way too much.

Some people say old people shouldn't go around with their midriffs bared, but I say it's just as likely -- nay, more likely -- to be young people who really need to take a good, long, hard look at their exposed bellies in their respective mirrors.

Because what I've noticed is that teenagers are more often than not on the chunky side these days. Probably a lifestyle issue related to junk food, lack of exercise, and the general demise of civilization.

It's not like the good old days when my generation walked to and from school in two feet of snow uphill both ways with our rock-solid midriffs exposed to blizzard-force winds gusting to hurricane-strength. And that was in the summer.

You didn't know we went bare midriffed in the good old days? Actually, according to bikiniscience.com, bare midriffs have been around since the 1920s.

While they were only seen on "dance-house girls, jungle Janes and cinema queens" until the 1930s, by the mid-1940s the stomach had become "universally exposed on the American beach."

Go to a Web site called gurl.com and you can find out what today's young people think about bare midriffs. In fact, the Web site features the thoughts of those who favor or "dig" bare midriff fashions side-by-side with those who dislike or "diss" them.

A typical, unedited comment:

"there sexy. i were them all the time even in school show your body off if they say anything ignore them there just jeouls"

In the interest of fairness and truth in journalism, here is an unedited comment from the anti-midriff side:

"If and only if you have the right body built and size should you even think about wearing something that shows your tummy. It's most unflattering if it doesn't work for you, same with low rider jeans, please people if you have the body you can wear it, if not it can look really gross and folks will prolly talk about you behind your back."

Which is "prolly" what we're doing here. Talking behind the backs of bare midriff people, I mean. But if the midriff is bare so is the backdriff. So we're really not.

You know what strikes me about these fine ladies is that what they should be worried about exposing to the light of day is their brains -- not their midriffs.

Anyway, another Web site I ran across (satirium.com) talks of a suspected terrorist group that goes by the acronym NCAEDBMP for National Committee Against Excessive Display of Bare Midriffs in Public. The way they open their meetings is probably all you need to confirm your worst fears:

"Although the NCAEDBMP meetings were held in a local church ... there was no overtly religious tone to the meetings, other than all in attendance chanting, ‘No bare midriffs. No bare midriffs,' several times as a sort of opening ceremony and general icebreaker."

There are few things uglier than a bare-midriffed woman who doesn't have the stomach for it, if you get my "driff." One thing that is uglier, however, would be people who try to dictate what others can and cannot wear. And what others can and cannot put on the front pages of their newspapers.

Rather than attempt to impose their values on others, it seems that a far better solution would be to simply cancel their subscriptions and vow to never read our slutty newspaper again. I'm pretty sure that's the way God would prefer to see it handled, too. At least if he or she is the one who renders the ultimate judgment on each of us, as we've been led to believe.

Those who need to judge the behavior of others have too much time on their hands. Either that or they're "prolly" just "jeouls."

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