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Professor Quippy: Bringing ridiculous value to navel gazing

Professor QuippySome may claim his research is so much fluff, but Georg Steinhauser of the Vienna University of Technology has plumbed the depths of a question that has vexed humans for millennia — why are men subjected to the humiliation of navel lint, but women are spared this mortifying phenomenon?

Now, if you had asked me yesterday what causes regular deposits of down in the male belly-button , I would have said that it’s because men have abdominal hair, and women do not. And now, after four years of research, Steinhauser has the scientific answer:

Men have abdominal hair, and women do not.

According to the New Scientist:

Since March 2005, Steinhauser has collected 503 pieces of navel fluff from his own belly button. The fluff was usually the same colour as the shirt he was wearing, which led him to suspect that it was derived from his clothing.

I would just like to take this opportunity to thank Steinhauser for blowing the lid off this taboo subject. With any luck, we will soon have a charity devoted to helping those male “innies” stigmatized by the tragedy of navel lint. We could bring ridiculous value to the first fundraiser by carding, combing and spinning the navel-wool, and then having a team of crack knitters turn out “self-actualization scarves” for sale.

I can hear you saying, this is an April Fool’s joke, right? No, the paper’s here.

Alltop is an innie, and is an outie. Weird, eh? More at the New Scientist. A HT to the other gents at The Emily Chesley Reading Circle for giving me an excuse to use the phrase “bringing ridiculous value” in a headline.