Introducing the Man Bra, the brassiere for dudes (Lord, why? Why?!)

When Shine managing editor Annette sent this Metro story my way this morning, I really, really thought it was a hoax. But nope, it's way true: A Japanese company called WishRoom is making bras for men and lots and lots of men are buying them. From the Metro:

"A growing number of Japanese men are opting to secretly wear bras underneath their suits in the latest fad to sweep the nation.

WishRoom, the underwear company, has sold more than 6,000 'man bras' to stressed salarymen as a means of relaxation since launching late last year.

In its online store, the company sells a range of pink, white and black bras called 'Men's Premiere Brassiere' complete with detachable straps which at first sight appear to bear no difference from female versions."

It turns the man bra (the "bran"? "mansierre"? "moob sling"?) was launched last fall, and became increasingly popular in Japan from the moment of its debut. At the time, one optimistic salesperson told the Telegraph: "[The bra] make you feel more gentle" and "give you a sense of relief - because that is a very important feeling to have."

I really can't decide what part of this story is the most confounding. For starters, what kind of magic bras are these dudes wearing? Would you ever, ever describe any of your underwire devices as a "means of relaxation"? I mean, they're horribly constricting and make us feel, if anything, violent, not gentle. Second, I wonder how you would react if you actually came across one, say during a hot hook up. Third, why are they made of plastic? Fourth, don't they show under your shirt? Fifth, do men pad their man bras like we padded our training bras--is the idea to have bigger boobs? Sixth, do they want someone to notice and maybe (please, please) snap their bra strap so that everyone knows that they've reached the age where they can wear a bra? Is it like that? Or is it a super secret?

And, my last question: Is the man bra worse than manties? Or better? I just can't decide.