Jack Nicholson’s had them for years. The Hoff has an enormous pair. Tom Cruise is just getting them. They’ve launched a thousand memes and even inspired a Seinfeld episode. Do we want them? No. No, we don’t, because we’re talking man boobs here. Moobs, mitties, whatever you call them – nobody wants them. But lots of us are stuck with them. So the question is: how to get rid of man boobs?
Sometimes they’re seen as an inevitable part of weight gain as you get older. I’m resigned to most of what is going to happen in the ageing process. I can live with my hair disappearing from its former home and setting up shop in my ears and nostrils. I can even look on the daily 3am trek to the loo as an extra bit of exercise, but man boobs are more difficult to come to terms with.
Medical reasons for man boobs
Of course, some moobs have nothing to do with your weight and are the result of a hormonal imbalance. They can be caused by a drop in testosterone levels, which allows oestrogen to become dominant and then, hey presto, you got breasts. This happens to some teenage boys in those years when the hormones start raging. It’s called gynaecomastia and mostly disappears when boys get a bit older and spend only seventy-five percent of their lives thinking about sex rather than the previous ninety-nine.
But the moobs I’m talking about are the more familiar ones caused by pseudo gynaecomastia. See, it even sounds worse. Basically, you’ve piled on the pounds and now you’ve got breasts: deal with it. That’s the hard bit. Blokes can muster a bit of bravado about most of our deviations from the perfect body norm, but we’re all wondering how to get rid of man boobs. We’ve all seen someone affectionately pat his beer gut and joke about how much time and money he’s invested in creating it. Double chins can be prodded and laughed at with impunity. But nobody ever pulls up his shirt and jokingly asks you to have a feel of his tits.
Why do we dread man boobs more than beer guts?
The short answer is that a beer gut doesn’t make you feel any less of a man. Man boobs do, or at least it feels like that. There is a certain irony in the fact that so many men fantasise about breasts when women have them but are horrified by the sight of them on a man. Some say it’s a form of misogyny but it’s really more about self-image. Whatever the reason it’s probably a waste of time encouraging men to love their moobs. They’re notoriously hard to get rid of so how can we learn to live with them?
The first thing to say is that most of us who are past a certain age, no longer really need to take our tops off in public. It might be a bit limiting when you go on holiday or want to go for a swim, but mostly you can keep them covered up. Every pub beer garden might be full of blokes ripping off their Man Utd. shirts and letting it all hang out at the first hint of sun but there’s no need to follow suit.
How to get rid of man boobs
If your moobs are very prominent you can take steps to minimise them. We can all learn a few things from women here; after all, they’ve got a bit of experience dealing with breasts. So, steer clear of horizontal stripes for a start; they just make you look…. well, more horizontal. Go for vertical stripes instead. Avoid white or very light colours and turn down the contrast. If you wear a white shirt and dark trousers you’re basically just saying look at my enormous heaving bosoms.
Don’t be tempted to drape yourself in baggy clothes in a vain attempt to hide it all; too loose is just as bad as too tight. And don’t forget about those nipples; tape over them if you have to. If all that doesn’t work you might have to do a bit of compression. You don’t have to go the full mansiere route. You can buy compression t-shirts to hold things in place. Just remember that if it cuts off the blood flow to your brain it’s too tight.
Diet and exercise can help to shift them of course, but moobs are stubborn. When you’ve got rid of the beer gut and have reverted to one chin, chances are they might still be hanging around, literally. If they’re making your life a misery have a think about surgery. It’s very effective. Nobody gives a second thought to a woman having a boob job and neither should you. Then you can go back to admiring breasts in their proper place – on someone else.