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A Brief History of the Dick Slip

When a penis accidentally emerges on camera, it turns out the exposed dude rarely stays embarrassed for long

It’s been 12 years since Janet Jackson had her nipple freed at the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show, launching “Nipplegate” and a million deeply nipple-gazing think pieces about “accidental” nudity (including a memorable Chris Rock bit). Though at the time Jackson’s partial nudity was seen as a publicity stunt, it’s since been revealed as a true accident. No matter: It was the nipple that changed the world, with epic fines, epic internet searches and epic complaints — the FCC received 544,000 after the incident. Nipple-exposer Justin Timberlake’s career skyrocketed; nipple-haver Janet Jackson’s next record tanked, and she pulled out of the Grammys.

The backlash against Jackson might suggest that all such indiscretions would result in career kryptonite. But what happens when a dude lets his dick slip? A lot, lot less, it would seem — more gawking, glee and voyeurism, and no shame. If anything, unmitigated awe. Behold, a brief history of the dick slip.

Kelly Tripucka (1987)

Though just unearthed by Deadspin earlier this month, Tripucka’s dick slip is as vintage as his uniform’s short shorts. A highlight of the NBA player’s 10-year career might be his 1986–87 collector’s card for the Detroit Pistons, where a closer look suggests a scrotum peaking out from the shadow of his groin. More than 100,000 readers gazed at the post headlined with the casually curious “Is This Tripucka’s Scrote or What?” with hundreds more voting thumbs up on the spotting. This is probably not the first dick slip ever documented, but certainly one of the earliest.

LeBron James (June 2015)

During Game 4 of the NBA Finals, the NBA player adjusted himself before tipoff just as ABC zoomed in for a close-up. Some 18.5 million viewers reportedly caught sight of his member. Celebrity blogs and news outlets covered it breathlessly, though most went for the easy pun. TMZ wrote that James didn’t go “balls out”; he “went dong out instead.” Perez Hilton wrote that “King James” had “flashed his royal jewels.” Even the Associated Press covered it, noting that perhaps James “may need to call Janet Jackson to get some advice on how to handle wardrobe malfunctions.”

But her advice wasn’t necessary. Viewers and tweeters were mostly interested in celebrating his junk, and James suffered no long-term fallout.

Lenny Kravitz (August 2015)

While rocking out at a festival performance in Stockholm, Kravitz squatted down, ripping his leather pants and revealing his penis. Headlines like the one at Dlisted noted jovially that his “dick came out to play,” thanking “whoever decided that us humans should have knees which give us the ability to squat,” and “Lenny’s stylist for giving him too-tight leather pants” that were not “indestructible.” The term “rock out with your cock out” was deployed.

Other sites savored the chance to gawk at the package and reflect on its presumed prowess, with Jezebel asking, “Is it a beautiful thing? Who knows.” Later, the site explored the aesthetics and function of Kravitz’s pubic piercing, citing an interview with the maker of the jewelry, who said it means that Kravitz is a “a giver” during sex.

Soccer Player Penis Compilation (2013)

This is a two-minute montage of the exposed penises of a variety of unidentified soccer players, set to vigorous rock music, viewed nearly 12 million times. There are 1,500 comments, largely of shock and/or glee.

Anonymous Guy (2016)

While dancing to the Rihanna/Drake song “Work,” an anonymous wedding guest in a suit pulls a skilled combination of suave hand gestures that gracefully adapt to address his pants splitting open to reveal his full package when he squats. Though this is the only normie to make the list in this dick slip history, VICE expresses pure admiration:

Really get up inside the crevices of this Vine. There are raw human emotions on display, here. It is a six-second, three-act play. There is humility and redemption. There is joy and there is pain. This Vine of a man popping his dick and bollocks out the front of his suit has everything.

Chris Jones (February 2016)

Mississippi State defensive lineman Chris Jones sprinted into an NFL 40-yard dash at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indiana when his penis fell loose from his shorts. The video, currently at more than 90,000 plays, features multiple iterations of the incident, increasingly slowed down to capture the reveal, his laugh, the commentators’ chuckle and the flash of embarrassment on Jones’ face after he adjusts himself.

Tracy Moore is a L.A. based writer. She previously wrote about paternity leave for MEL.