It's the spring semester, and I've got belly buttons on the brain. The navel has traditionally been considered an important body part, central in more than just a physical sense. The ancient Greeks considered Delphi the omphalos, the navel and sprirtual center of the world, and 1950's television censors decreed that Barbara Eden's bellybutton could not peek out of her harem out fit on the otherwise ground-breaking show I Dream of Jeannie. But it's not the navel as a historical concept or source of titillation that has been occupying the dusty corners of my fevered brain, haunting my dreams and every waking moment. There's a specific belly button on my mind, and it has been a central figure in my Wednesday rights; if I live to be a hundred, I will never forget the rounded contours of Tori Spelling's navel.
Hers is a navel which troubles and annoys me. For the past season of Wednesdays, my carefully chosen hour of TV-viewing has centered on that orifice. In the fall, when all the 90210 kids started their semester at California U., Tori's navel peeked out from under Barbie-style T-shirts that said things like "Hey Baby" or "Cool" on them. Then, as winter came and I trudged around in my waterproof boots, Tori switched to red angora sweaters that had long sleeves and waistline that ended right under her (some say surgicallyenhanced) bustline. Am I alone in finding this display of skin excessive? I don't know about you, but there's a short list of people who have seen my naked bellybutton, and Tori is not on it. If we should happen to meet someday (like if she comes to Harvard to visit her junior prom date), she will be at a definite disadvantage. After all, who am I to know whether she has an innie or an outie (it's an innie, for those of you who are culturally illiterate)?
For a while I consoled myself with the thought that this bellybutton-exhibitionism would stay in Hollywood, that it was not a look regular people would cultivate. Sure, I saw subtle signs, like the mohair sports-bras available at Urban Outfitters' basement, but I don't think anyone would ever really buy those contraptions. And then it happened. A girl in my section showed up, in mid-December, wearing a tight, longsleeved up, in mid-December, wearing a tight, long sleeved shirt with a mohair sports-bra over it. A pink one. OverI her actual shirt. One thought sprang to mind--"Why?" Was she not experiencing the depths of winter like the rest of us? This little fuzzy strip couldn't have been making her any warmer, and it certainly wasn't offering any measure of support, if that's what you're thinking (you perv). No, I'm afraid there's only one possible conclusion: Tori and her navel have penetrated our ivory tower.
This is a sad state of affairs, indeed. If you must expose your bellybutton to strangers, for heaven's sake, pierce it. That'll give people something to think about when they look at your navel, like whether or not the piercing hurt, if you got it done at Hubba-Hubba or not, and where the ring goes when you wear a tight shirt. I'm all for body-piercing--sadomasochism can be fun. But please don't leave me staring at an empty void in the middle of your gut, particularly if it has lint in it. In the midst of a Cantabrigian winter, an exposed bellybutton belongs in only one place--the abdomen of little Tori as she lights up her daddy's show, educating all of us on what college life is really like.