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June 06, 2005

The nubs of the issue

Echidne points to an article in the Ottawa Citizen: Nipple-negating technology declares war on female breasts.

When I read the headline, I was afraid I was about to hear about a plastic surgery trend. Thankfully, the nipple negation is digital.

Enough about female nipples. This is a question I've been meaning to put to the collective hivemind for some time.

I'm a big fan of Chappelle's Show. In season 2, there are a couple of shots of men stimulating their own nipples as a form of public sexual display. For example, in the everything looks better in slow motion sketch, the slo-mo reveals Dave rubbing his nipple as part of his "sexy laundry" sequence.

As I recall, the Chappelle nipple play shows up in parodies of hip hop videos. I'm not familiar with that genre. I have no idea whether this is a running gag unique to Chappelle, or whether hip hop videos actually show men carressing their own nipples, or what.

I wish Paul Mooney was still doing "Ask a Black Dude" because I really want to know: "Do het black men have fewer hangups about playing with their own nipples than their white counterparts? Or is that just wishful thinking?"


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» The Answer from Pandagon
First, there isn't much nipple play in rap videos, and I'd imagine Dave Chappelle has fewer hangups about everything, not just nipple play. It is a frequent comedic prop in conversations with my male friends, though. Serious nipple play? They're... [Read More]

» Things I Have In Common With Black Guys from A Beautiful Soul
That got me to thinking about my own frequent public displays of nipple tweaking. And that got me thinking about the things I have in common with black people. So I [Read More]

» Attack of the killer nipples from It's Recess-time Somewhere
via Majikthise, we have an intriguing article on the evils of nipples and the technology used to get rid of them....Oh my God! Save us from the nipples!!!! Help!! Grab the kids! They're coming to get us! What ever will we do?....If our culture here i... [Read More]


Well if you want a HET black man, Paul Mooney, genius that he is, is not that man.

I think any man will play with his nipples if you dare him to do it.

I think most men just play with them as part of an overriding "How stupid do I look now?" joke.

I play with my nipples all the time. Publicly. Usually for comedic purposes.

My friends do it as well. It's not yet cliche, but nonetheless I'm surprised you don't know anyone who does this.

When I lived in Japan a friend of mine was asked to tape down her nipples or wear a thickly padded bra before working in a school. She wasn't dressed provocatively at all. Was a bit weird really. I really oppose any notion that people need to pretend their bodies are a different shape to how they really are. Only makes everybody who isn't taping up feel self-conscious. Probably a plot by the nipple-tape manufacturers...!

What kind of joke is it?

"How stupid do I look now?" is a pretty broad category of joke. That could cover anything from "How gay do I look now?" to "How much of a pretentious preening SOB do I look like now?" or "How surreal do I look now?" or "How Ron Jeremey do I look now?"

In Dave Chappelle's laundromat sketch, the joke was part of his strutting slow-mo hetero sex god persona . The joke is that if you slow down boring footage it starts to look really cool--like in music videos.

I think it's actually playing on the women in the hip-hop videos and the porn movies they are tamer version of (though not by much, it seems). So I think it's actually the male internalizing his lust for the female in a comedic way, or some such. My point being, I don't think Chappelle is copying rap artists so much as making fun of the faux sensuality of their videos.

I am a white male (last time I checked), and I do, in fact, "play" with my nipples. And not always for comedic purposes.

There I said, I feel so much better now.

I am a white male (last time I checked), and I do, in fact, "play" with my nipples. And not always for comedic purposes.

There I said, I feel so much better now.

So do, I believe, plenty of other white males. Though they might not admit it.

If I think about explaining the humor of rubbing my nipples, which I had never thought about before. I think it gets down to the incongruity of a male adopting a sort of female sensuality. Not that a man would not erotically enjoy having his nipples rubbed, (though I doubt any guy out there rubs his own nipples while say masterbating or having sex) but the image of rubbing your hands slowly and sensuously over your own body is an image in our culture associated with female sensuality or seductiveness. You just don't see men acting this way, except in comedies. And I think what is humorous about it is that it is a man adopting a seductive sensuality that we associate with women. When I think about it, everytime Ive seen a guy rub his nipples, he adopts one of those come hither facial expressions associated with a woman seducing a man. But dissecting a joke is like killing a frog or something...

As far as Dave Chappelle goes, I don't think he was saying anything about rap videos there. He was just going for the funniest thing he could think to do in the context of being in a sensual slow-motion moment.

I don't think this is particularly new. I live in the cultural backwater of Detroit and I remember a bunch of white guys at a wedding incorporating some nipple manipulation as part of their pseuto-hip hop dance at least six years ago. Someone at another site attributes the orgin of this display to the gay community. Another source might be the mainstreaming of "moves" previously seen exclusively is strip dance.

Here's another white man checking the "Yes" box to "Plays with nipples?" The wife finds them to be quite acceptable as well. I personally think the nation as a whole should celebrate (female) nipples, they being central to the whole Culture of Life and all. Nipples and babies go hand in...uh...hand, in my view, and so should not be treated as something shameful, but rather as beautiful and natural. We don't see enough nipples in daily life, which is a national disgrace. If God didn't want us to see nipples then he wouldn't have put them on us.

Uh, Millsapian87, do you think God gave us other body parts that should be seen by all? Perhaps we should all be nudists, get skin cancer all over, and freeze to death every winter? Thanks, but no thanks.

When I hear "comedic male nipple play," I immediately think of Mike Myers as Austin Powers seducing the Fembots with a striptease. When I first saw that, I literally fell on the floor laughing -- in a movie theater, no less.

I have to say, it creeps me out every time I page through the Victoria's Secret catalog and see all of the nipple-free androids in the pictures. I still buy their bras, but it's just weird.

Lindsay, I'm beginning to worry that nipple removal might be the hot new must-have plastic surgery. Doctors who do breast implants would love it, since it would take a lot of guesswork out of what they do.

I don't play with my nipples much on my own, but I do quite enjoy it when my nipples are played with. For what that's worth.

To add to what Jedmunds said, I notice that usually when a woman is rubbing her own body in such a context, she's using her whole hand. But the typical male comedic nipple-fondling maneuver is generally with only an extended finger, or at most multiple fingers. There's something bizarrely funny about a guy doing this to himself. I think it's part that it's a ridiculous exaggeration of the female version, and part that no serious guy would EVER be holding his elbows and fingers in such a ridiculous position, effectively pointing to himself with both hands. The macho way is to call attention to your body indirectly, like by lifting something heavy (e.g., this could be one reason some girls fetishize the UPS guy).

"When I lived in Japan a friend of mine was asked to tape down her nipples"

I was surprised last month when one of my friends did this on her own accord for a job. She was working as a photographer's assistant doing an outdoor shoot on a cold day. She did it to hide her nipples, which she worried would show through her clothes. I don't think she normally wears bras. I asked if it hurt and she said, "Only when I take off the tape."

Keith Johnstone, in his book Impro, suggests that a very large percent of humor derives from inversions of social status - either the low acting high or the forced to be low. The homeless guy who accidently acquires a Lexus and picks up his date in it is funny. Likewise, guys playing with their nipples in public are funny because in real life such behavior would merit very low social ranking.

I can not recommend the book strongly enough. People I know who do improvisational street theater swear by it:

You mean I can rub my own nipples in public? Yes! (Damn things itch like hell.)

Re, taping down the nipples: when I discovered breast petals for my ex, she was thrilled. It allowed her a much larger choice of tops. (She has rather stout nips.) You can get them in good lingerie shops as well.

With respect to taping down nipples, I've done that too. Training for a marathon.

I must confess, my first thought was, "Hey, I'm all in favor of covering nipples digitally. ... oh, you mean with computers." Different thing entirely.

(though I doubt any guy out there rubs his own nipples while say masterbating or having sex)

um, seriously? Whatever else might be said here, you have clearly never seen any gay porn.

Only magazines

I remember having my attention turned to my nipples while standing around shivering on a log landing, with wet clothes under my rain gear, getting ready to plant another bagful of doug-fir seedlings. My nipples were sticking into my shirt- and being chafed by my suspenders. It was very stimulating, in an abrasive, unpleasant way.
Around the same time I let my freshly-born daughter "nurse" a little... which really felt satisfying. She actually got a drop of something out of the left side- really- I'm not making this up. I squeezed out another drop, myself, just to see if it really happened; but it felt better when she did it... ^..^

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