When Justin Timberlake helped Janet Jackson flash millions of people all over the world right in the middle of Super Bowl XXXVIII, little did they know that they had launched a new catch phrase into the American slang: “wardrobe malfunction.”
Actually wardrobe malfunctions go back to Biblical times. Adam and Eve had the first recorded wardrobe malfunction caused by not even having a wardrobe and never noticing until Eve bit into an apple. Then she pointed at Adam and shrieked, “Uh Oh….a naked man!”
Television showed a blurred picture of Janet’s breast 15,799 times in replays all over the airwaves, burning it into our brains for eternity.
Years from now we will forget who played in that Super Bowl, let alone what the score was. But we will always imagine that Janet’s breast looks like a pixelated blur.
This leads to a burning question: Can a wardrobe malfunction actually happen if nobody sees it? Are wardrobe malfunctions really the new spectator sport?
A couple of months ago, I was in my neighborhood Laundromat washing bedspreads and rugs.
It was a cool, gloomy Sunday afternoon.
The place was a jam-packed, multi-cultural laundry fest. People were perched on washers and dryers, standing around talking on cell phones, reading the newspaper. Kids were running everywhere.
Decked out in my running gear, I had just finished a few miles.
As I reached up high to put a load in an upper dryer and bent over to put a load in a bottom dryer, a woman approached me and tapped me on the shoulder.
“Excuse me,” she said in a soft voice.
Then she went on to say (verbatim):
“Your shorts is stuck in your underpants, and your bottom is showing.”
I imagined a hundred sets of eyeballs focused like lasers on my bright bleached backside. I looked around for an “eject” button or at least an escape route. Finding neither, and mustering up as much dignity as one can muster when one’s bottom is bare in a crowded Laundromat, I reached around, pulled my shorts out of my underpants and slinked out of the place. Backwards.