It brings me no pleasure to announce that I have solved the mystery of Andrew Cuomo’s nipples.
Believe me, there are far more important things happening in the world and far more pleasant topics I’d rather be thinking about. But almost a week after a Reddit user first suggested that New York’s governor might have pierced nipples, people are continuing to entertain preposterous theories—in complete ignorance of evidence, reason, and basic inquiry.
On Wednesday, even Late Show host Stephen Colbert got in on the action, addressing the gubernatorial nips on-air. He made no attempt to uncover the truth. Well, you’ve forced my hand, here is the answer: Andrew Cuomo had tape or adhesive bandages on his nipples that bunched up. I know this because I tested it myself—and have the photos to back it up.
First, let’s address some of the most popular hypotheses regarding the odd appearance of Cuomo’s nipples on Friday. The initial supposition, that Cuomo had jewelry hanging from one or both of his nipples, is the easiest to rebut. In the highest resolution photos, the abnormality looks like two large X’s on his chest. Even if each nipple was pierced twice, these shapes are too long and too crooked to be barbells.
The photo above suggests a third possibility: Governor Andrew Cuomo (or his handlers), aware of previous occasions where he wore the white polo shirt and nipped out, taped up his nipples. This proved to be a serious miscalculation. While it may have looked okay at first, tape wrinkling only made the nipple problem worse.
To some, “nipple tape” might sound preposterous, but in certain circles, it is not uncommon. Runners, for instance, often cover their nips in tape or adhesive bandages to prevent painful chafing. There are also a variety of products specifically designed to stop nipples from being visible through clothing. A telling Amazon review of one nipple cover marketed to men states: “They are ok but wrinkles show.”
Another photo from Friday’s event shows what appears to be perspiration dampening the governor’s underarm. It’s easy to imagine sweat loosening the adhesion of Cuomo’s nipple covers, leading to bunching. It’s almost as easy to test.
To finally put this subject to rest, I performed five trials with an (undersized) white t-shirt this morning: One where I wore no nipple covers, one where I covered them with masking tape, one where I covered them extra-large adhesive bandages, and two where I wetted the nipple covers with simulated sweat (water).
With no covers, there was definite nipping out. And dry, both the tape and the bandages did a fine job hiding my nipples. Once dampened, however, the bandages created a chillingly familiar shape:
So there you have it, folks. Mystery solved. If I were to give one piece of advice to the governor’s office, it’s this: Nipples are nothing to be ashamed of. Why try to hide them?