You’d have to ask the belly button fluff. ‘Why you look so sad, belly button fluff?’
I just had a look, I don’t have any right now. I was thinking of leaving it resting on my laptop, just by the screen, as a little friendly mascot. I’ve always found belly button fluff reassuring, if incredibly unsexy. I never want anyone else to find it, and I chuck it in the bin when I pop it out, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have a tiny place in my heart.
Which is a little odd.
I once watched an abysmal observational comic wonder aloud why bellybutton fluff was always blue. I think his thesis was related to the idea that it was generated internally and no part of the body is that blue, so it doesn’t make much sense.
Of course, I suspect bellybutton fluff comes from a wick effect from the pants, which for men tend towards the blue and the black (which averages to blue, because black is often actually a really dark blue). I just assume that the little trickle of hair that creeps up from the pubic region collates fluff and it drifts up. Possibly it just comes from t-shirts, but I like to think of it as the tiny pieces of fabric that could.
Sometimes, I talk about things I have thought about out loud (or on paper in this case, except not on actual paper) and realise that I’m more than a little insane. I have no evidence for the above, I just think it makes sense.
But fuck it. Even if it’s T-shirts, it’s just the dark colours overwhelming the light. It’s just fluff.
When I was little I used to believe that if you poked and scraped into your belly button then you could reach into your belly. I realised this was probably dangerous, but couldn’t resist, and so bath time would be a tentative ‘push my luck’ scraping and clawing at my own navel in search of gory enlightenment.
I never made it in, I always got the fear before I even started bleeding. Occasionally though, I would imagine pulling it open and climbing inside.
If I ever make a horror film, it’s going to start with a naked hero picking apart their belly button in a bath and getting in. It’s not a pleasant image, but it should set the tone about right.
If I knew where it went next, I would’ve written it already. The best solution I came up with so far was a hideous Dan Brown style conspiracy theory. It was terrible. Proper bellybutton fluff stuff.
Not worth a second look.
I don’t know why belly buttons fluff, but it’s blatantly just our clothes. It’s one of those mysteries that isn’t really a mystery.
But the stuff itself, always makes me smile. It’s a secret happiness. I don’t want people to know I take comfort in the warm, cosy, slow accrual.
Illustration by Emma.
Emma notes that my childhood navel gazing was probably somewhat influenced by this. She may be right.