The BBC reports today that despite the recession, breast reduction for men is booming-so much so that it's the fastest growing part of the cosmetic surgery industry. According to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the number of breast reductions for men has grown 80% since 2008.
Who's to blame? According to plastic surgeon Rajiv Grover, while men may not have been happy with their man boobs before, now they are " feeling the pressure from men's magazines that weren't even being published five or six years ago." That's right, all those perfect pecs on the cover of Men's Health have gone down like Cosmos, rattling the psyches of the mammary-challenged.
While plenty of women out there might rejoice at the idea that men can now understand what it's like to feel at the mercy of a photoshopped ideal, something about this just makes me sad. I'd be lying if I said I was a big lover of man boobs-I'm not-but while great pecs speak to the part of me that is ready to appropriate Darwinism if it means I should get busy with David Beckham, I also find it incredibly sad that we, as a society, are finding real human bodies less and less sexy. Where will this end?
The truth is, as much as I always resented the fact that men could move through the world without being obsessive about their own looks, I was also secretly glad for them. I imagined that this was indicative of some sort of inherent balance being played out between the sexes, that soon enough, order would be restored in the form of mass sanity, (or barring that, that in my next life, I'd be the kind of guy who looks in the mirror once a week while shaving). The possibility that I might be staring forlornly at my man boobs is, well, depressing.
The good news, if we can call it that, is that even BAAPS' finest seem to understand that surgery for man boobs shouldn't be the first line of attack.
"Quite a few cases are caused by obesity," Grover told the BBC. "We often say to men to look at their lifestyles before thinking about the scalpel."
At least we haven't evolved to the point where common sense is no longer attractive.