- Posted March 7, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
My advice to men like me
My Advice to Men Like Me "Living With and Through Gynecomastia
Having a medical name for my condition has made it easier to cope internally, but it's done nothing for the external shame and body issues. When people notice, they rarely mention it, except to offer what they think of as helpful advice. Most people stare and quickly look away, offering no casual conversational chance for me to to correct or alter their impression. People without noticeable physical issues have the luxury of not wondering what people on the subway, bus, or in restaurants think of them.
"Have you tried push ups?"
"Maybe if you bulked up, they (my breasts) wouldn't be as noticeable"
Imagine being told to become overweight in order to look better. It sounds crazy, right? The fact is that for men like me with clinical gynecomastia, there is no easy solution. A woman could not completely eliminate her breasts through exercise, the suggestion would seem ridiculous, and yet I've heard that advice more times than I can count.
There is, unfortunately, no easy fix for men suffering from this condition. Another aspect of the condition is that because it isn't life threatening, it sometimes isn't seen as anything more than a comical deformity. Mortality and pain aren't the only things that can threaten a life, however. This condition has colored my adolescence and every dating experience I've ever had with a near paralyzing apologetic shame. Puberty and adolescence are difficult enough without the strain of having to explain breast tissue to friends. At best, I was an oddity, "The boy with boobs", at worst I was a laughingstock. The near daily humiliation of living as a male with what appear to be breasts is a bane to self esteem and comfort, and consequently happiness.
Male breast reduction is one option for men with enlarged breasts, and in the end it was the only option that was able to completely relieve my shame and allow me to make a fresh start. Sadly, cosmetic surgery for men is often looked at with derision and can feel nearly as humiliating as suffering with the breasts. It's important to understand that this isn't an issue of vanity, and that cosmetic surgery is a perfectly normal option for anyone with a physical abnormality desiring to live a less stressful life, one devoid of stares and awkward explanations.
After all, everyone deserves to be noticed for their accomplishments and personality, not some physical imperfection.