Dear Crabby,

I saw a 4-year-old kid today who showed his plumber’s butt, if you know what I mean. I am totally grossed out by seeing butt cracks, tramp stamps, muffin tops and unmentionables. I used to think it was the fault of classless people. But when I saw that kid today, I realized he could not have been at fault. It is totally due to the manufacturer that make pants so low-rise. Can you please put a word in for those of us who want normal-rise pants, not only on ourselves but everyone around us. Don’t people know how bad it looks?

I did not wake up this morning with the intention of checking out some butt crack, but there it was in my line of sight as I turned to back out of my parking space. Please help, Crabby! How can the public be educated to demand some standards from designers for their clothing?


Fashion Police Wannabee

Dear Wannabee,

Here’s you: “My word! What has become of society? Boys with long hair, girls with short hair. And all of them listening to that rock ’n’ roll music. Next thing you know, they’ll allow rubber-soled shoes to be worn out of doors. I blame this on the pernicious influence of Charles Evans Hughes. America dodged a bullet when Woodrow Wilson beat him in ’16.”

Which is to say, you’re a little too worked up over a harmless toddler butt crack. (“Ahhhh! I’ve seen a toddler’s butt crack! My eyes! They burn! They burn! Somebody get me a fork with which to gouge them out.”) And you’re way too worked up over low-rise pants, which I’m surprised you didn’t refer to as “trousers” or “slacks.”

And, look, sure, fine, OK, whatever, you have a point in saying that low-rise pants have gotten a bit ridiculous. They occupy a larger share of the total pants market and a smaller share of the human body than they probably should. It’s just that I can’t understand being “totally grossed out” by it. You see a tramp stamp (the delightful colloquialism for a lower-back tattoo) or a muffintop (the actually quite descriptive term for that bit of gut that hangs over the side of someone’s pants) and it really drives you crazy? Why not just laugh it off? I mean, it’s not going to hurt you. And it is kind of funny that someone thinks he or she looks good like that.

With regard to the idea of banding together as a pants-buying public and demanding higher waists, I just don’t think that movement is going to gather much steam. The “mom jeans” epidemic of the ’80s and early ’90s is still too fresh in everyone’s minds. That horror could return if we’re not vigilant, you know. High waists lead to belly-button-high waists, which lead to those jeans that come up to your armpits and have, like, pleats in them or ruffles or whatever. I remember that era, and I’ll take the low-risers any day.

I’m not sure whether that really answers your question. Frankly, I’ve kind of forgotten what it was. Something about plumbing?

Hope that helps.



• If you have a question for Dear Crabby, email it with the subject line “Dear Crabby” to On magazine lead writer Pat Muir at We’ll keep your name anonymous and do our best to give you some truly horrible advice.