Cameltoe alert!

A new hip-hop trio warns you to watch out for your frontal wedgie, but why not wear it with pride?

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“Hmmm, hmm! that’s right, uh huh, oh no! Fix yourself girl! You got a cameltoe!”

Thus runs the chorus of the schoolyard taunt cum new hit single “Cameltoe” by Fannypack, an up-and-coming all-girl hip-hop trio from Brooklyn. The girls have been rescued from obscurity by Matt Goas, 25, and Fancy, 30, two coolhunting New York DJs, and now robbed of their underground credibility forever by a loving profile in today’s Times’ Arts section. The august Times illuminated the title’s etymology with characteristic tact and delicacy, defining it as “slang for a fashion faux pas caused by women wearing snug pants; the term suggests a visual analogy.” It would have been delicate, that is, if the words weren’t permanently emblazoned on the consciousness of anyone who ever suffered through eighth grade. As the writer, Kelefa Sanneh, writes in his appreciation of the song’s retro exuberance, “You could be eavesdropping on a junior high school playground.”

Well, yes, but junior high school playgrounds have never been very fun places to be. In fact, they were where the explosions of your changing adolescent body were most likely to erupt in shame, in that nightmare twilight zone when the relative innocence of grade school twitters — “Your epidermis is showing!” “Are you afraid of heights? Because your zipper is!” — gave way to new, much more terrifying insults, ones that singled you out for mockery before you even know what they meant. Remember not needing a bra yet, but already having nipples — witchy titties, bullets or, as we called them in New Jersey, a place never known for subtlety or euphemism, THOs, or titty hard-ons?

My first encounter with the horrors of the labial lapse hit right on cue. I was 12 years old, living in a desolate town outside of Fort Dix, where no coolhunter has ever set foot. And the first day I wore my new Sergio Valentes, dark blue, astronomically expensive at $32, and so tight that I couldn’t fit my hot-pink hair brush into the back pocket and had to store it in my LeSportsac knockoff, I sauntered into Ms. Nadolny’s class expecting to inspire envy and awe. But instead I got slapped with hushed whispers and giggles, which culminated in an anonymous note in my locker reading “cameltoe alert!” When I finally figured out what it meant, I was so mortified that I started wearing two pairs of underwear.



But why should the debut of my first pair of designer jeans have been such a walk of shame? And why, 20 years later, should it be so again? Is it not time to dump the epithet “cameltoe” in the trash can of history, next to “plumber butt” and “THOs”? In an age when J.Lo hires nipple tweakers to stand by on the sets of her videos, and butt cleavage is no longer a humiliating revelation but a virtual precondition for getting signed to a major label, why should the cameltoe carry any shame or stigma? Just visit The Camel-Toe Report, and click through its loving (if not quite respectful) photo gallery and tribute to a cameltoes of yore — from Daisy Duke’s early ’80s short-short pinup to Jennifer Capriati’s sweat-drenched tennis shorts, to Britney’s famous red leather pantsuit.

Forget the hecklings of the Fannypack girls, who at ages 16, 18 and 21 ought to know better. Bury the memory of schoolyard taunts behind the swing set of your old junior high, and flaunt your nether lips with pride!

Sheerly Avni is a freelance writer living in Oakland.

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