Contemplating your navel

As a language expert afficionado, you get asked all sorts of odd questions.

My editor wrote to ask me a vital question: What do we call that stuff that collects in the filter of a clothes dryer? I immediately told her the exact scientific word: fluff.

She then mailed me back and wanted to know what you call the stuff that collects in your belly button.

I know, I know… my day is filled with tasks of startling importance!

Naturally, I told her that we call this stuff ‘belly button fluff’, but then decided to dazzle her with the extent of my knowledge and let her know that the real term for these kind of ‘fluffs’ is, in fact, lint.

Yes – you get pocket lint, clothes dryer lint and – wait for it – navel lint!

I’ll wait while you applaud me for making your day.

Now, navel lint is truly fascinating to many, it seems. In fact, a Dr. Karl Kruszelniki from Australia even went as far as to delve into the in and outs (pun intended) of belly button fluff. He was awarded an Ig Nobel Prize in 2002 for ‘achievements that cannot or should not be repeated’.

Thanks Wikipedia for this disturbing image!

This stuff defies the laws of gravity and – contrary to popular belief – it doesn’t migrate downwards from your armpits but upwards from your underwear.

One thing I wonder though is this: if your belly button sticks out does that mean you collect less fluff than if you’re an ‘innie’ and your belly button is sunk into your tummy?

I’ll just tiptoe away now and leave you to contemplate your navel – or maybe even someone else’s!

26 thoughts on “Contemplating your navel

  1. that image is quite disturbing….ick. I bet the hair around that belly button acts as another kind of trap for foreign objects. lol


  2. yuck! I suppose: thank you for showing me this because I didn’t believe in navel lint. Never had it myself. I thought it was some sort of code word meaning something else and that I was the only one who didn’t understand.


  3. Yuk!! Hate the stuff and have a husband who seems to collect it frequently and as Sir Pe said – why is it always blue! I could nearly divorce over this – I hate it so much!!!


  4. Okay In between dry wretching over the subject I will add that hairy bellied people do seem to be the collectors of Button belly fluff! *heave<chuck gag*
    I have always had a thing about it and have'nt acumualted any…..But trust me if any one has lint as that photo I would question if they wash at all!
    Lovely Morning tea time topic


  5. Not the prettiest bunch of navel lint.. I used to have a real problem with stuff in my belly was a deep inni..and it would get wet deep down in there and get I would have to take a cotton swab and clean it out.. and then lotion it up really good! Then I had my Gall Bladder removed and they used my belly button as an enterance or exit for their button has never been the same since..but it no longer is as deep as the Grand Canyon either. Just in case you needed any more belly button need to thank me for sharing:)


  6. Hahaha…I discovered the world of fluff just a couple of years ago, thought it was a myth before that. So, I asked around at work – only to find out that only men had it. I was flabbergasted!

    But up to this day, I’ve never seen it on any of “my men”…I guess that means they are lucky, or that I’m not slutty – who hasn’t seen enough belly buttons?


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