what the hell is apollo’s belt?
The big-hitters have dozens, if not hundreds of names—breasts, vulvas, penises, and buttocks have endless names, ranging from the clinical to the childish to the obscene. Some—ta-tas, badonkadonks, and so on—border on the gibberish but get the idea across. And there’s always pointing.
But what about less-heralded parts? Until Beyonce spoke of loving her FUPA (fatty upper pubic area) a few years ago, many people had never heard that term. Are there body parts we openly admire and enjoy but simply don’t know the names of?
Dimples of Venus
The symmetrical dimples sometimes seen in the lower back are known as “dimples of Venus”, named after the Roman goddess of beauty. They can also be referred to by their fully Latin name, ossae lumbales laterales, but that is significantly less catchy. The dimples of Venus sometimes form the outer sides of the rhombus of Michaelis, a diamond shape formed between them, the top of the butt crack and the bottom of the spinal crease. The Michaelis named in this was, rather than a deity, a German obstetrician and amateur marine microbiologist.
On someone with very low body fat, a V-shape is sometimes formed by the inguinal muscles that run from the hip to the groin. This goes by several names: the transversus abdominis, the deep-V, “sex lines” and either Apollo or Adonis’ belt. Apollo was considered the most beautiful male Greek god, while Adonis was a mortal so handsome that goddesses fought over him. Within the art world, it is sometimes referred to as the ‘iliac furrow’. Rather than being a sign of great strength, a particularly prominent Apollo’s belt is a sign of extremely low body fat, which is why it is less commonly seen on women, for whom a higher body fat percentage is medically advisable.
Glands of Montgomery
There was probably a time when areola was a relatively obscure medical term, but a combination of Nipplegate, Not Another Teen Movie, and injuries caused by purple nurples made it part of the common lexicon. But what about the little bumps found on the areola? These are known as the glands of Montgomery, named again not after a god but a scientist, the Irish obstetrician, and breast expert William Fetherstone Montgomery. Some people’s are more prominent than others, and they provide a minor role during breastfeeding, but mostly they’re just kind of… there. And now you know their name.
The vein that runs vertically down the upper arm on top of the biceps of people who work hard in the gym is called the cephalic vein. Not a sexy name, but part of many a sexy arm, to the extent that people spend enormous amounts of time and effort making them as prominent as possible (in both healthy and unhealthy ways—dehydrating your body to make your veins pop is deeply inadvisable). Below the elbow, on the forearm (or brachioradialis), the two most prominent are the median cubical and the basilic. (Also, not that anyone asked, the Snickers-esque blood vessel running along the dick is known as the penile dorsal vein.)
Look, nobody is ever going to describe someone as having a particularly sexy sternocleidomastoid, or beg their partner to kiss them on the sternocleidomastoid, because (a) you wouldn't be understood in the slightest; (b) you’d sound like a robot and/or alien, and (c) by the time you’ve wrestled through six unwieldy syllables the moment will have passed, the person you're with will have gone home and you’ll be late for work. But it’s the side of your neck, the muscle between your clavicle (collar bone) and your skull, joining it behind the ear. BTW, if anyone is particularly admiring of the indentation between the clavicles and below the chin, what you are looking at is called the suprasternal notch. You never know when these things might come in useful.