I am not a crusader. I am no one’s idea of a champion. After reading my thoughts some of you might feel the need to call me a hero. Please don’t. No, I am no hero. I’m just a man. Like all men. With nipples.
The quickest way to a man’s heart is through his nipples. Or his left nipple, if you want to be efficient and less messy. Unless he’s one of those people with that jacked-up, flipped anatomy and his heart is on the right side of his body. They’re out there. It’s freaky, but it happens. Never assume. But this piece isn’t about dextrocardia (#flipthescriptondextrocardia2016). It’s about the fun buttons on a man’s chest.
Never heard them referred to as “fun buttons” before? Oh, I’m sorry for blowing your mind.
If you place your ear to a man’s nipple, can you not hear his heart? Can you not?
Have it your way. Run from the fact all you want, but men have nipples too. We don’t know why. It’s a mystery right up there with the identity of the person (or beings!) who painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Were they even from this planet? What were they after? We’ll probably never know.
For some reason, men have nipples. We’ve wrestled with this truth. We can throw money and science at it all day and never move closer to enlightenment. Are they evolutionary leftovers from the days when men used to joust with erect nipples for the breeding rights to sexually mature females? Who knows.
I’ve personally grappled with the role of my nipples in this world. As a young man, I struggled. In the search for some meaning, I pierced both of my chest eyes. I turned them into fleshy door knockers. It hurt a lot. It brought me no closer to the truth–or a healthy relationship with the opposite sex.
Years later, holding my infant son against my bare chest, looking down at his gaze. Unspoken, but clearly communicated, his thoughts: Dick. Why the fuck do you even have nipples? Either start with the milk or hand me to mom. I’m hungry. You are useless to me. Dead to me. Be gone.
I raged up at the ceiling “WHY? WHY MUST MY NIPPLES RUN DRY? WHY DO THEY REFUSE TO PROVIDE FOR MY SON?”
Hand me to mom.
Every day, they mock me in the mirror. Two unblinking, pert eyes. Daring me to discover them. To know them. Knowing I can never know them.
The answers I’ve found talking with others offer no comfort. Male nipples are a source of torment. Bullies twist them. They itch unbearably in the winter. They get in the way of full chest tattoos–you have to work around them or factor them into the design which is a real pain in the ass. They’re uncompromising. Unnecessary. Unappealing.
They’re repulsive. If I took a pic of my nip, and posted it here, I’d lose subscribers. Simple fact. I’m not even mad.
America has an unhealthy relationship with nipples. All nipples. Even though they provide a life-sustaining service, women are still trying to free their nipples. Instagram and Facebook always censor them. Breastfeeding moms are pilloried. The moment a nipple appears marks the last time a “gentleman’s club” can serve alcohol.
I guess men can’t be gentlemen around exposed female nipples. Apparently they wield power that men are unable to resist, forcing ladies to conceal carry their boobs in double holsters. And let’s not fool ourselves–those holsters only have to hide the nipples. Boobs are not the issue. The nipple is the breaking point. Really. There’s a whole lot of boobage that can be shown via side boob or under boob or boob boob. But lord help them, if that nip doth slip then everybody trips. A guaranteed trip to PANICLAND with a stopover in the city of SHAMETOWN on the way to the capitol city of ARRESTOPOLIS. Even if that nipple is providing vital nutrients to a newborn infant baby child.
So wait, how did we end up talking about the female nipple?
These problems are intertwined. I think we can fix both of these problems if everybody will just shut up and listen to me.
On the one hand, the male nipple has gone unnoticed and unappreciated. On the other, the female nipple has been vilified and weaponized. I think we can fix both of these problems if you will just stop reading Kanye tweets and listen to me. For once.
The problem is that the culture is entrenched in its war against the female nipple, while totally disregarding the male nipple. If you push against that resistance, you’ll only get more resistance. I think it’s time to employ some mental judo and use the efforts of the puritanical maniacs against the puritanical maniacs.
So, here’s my brilliantly simple plan. It’s both brilliant and simple. We create equality by forcing men to conceal their nipples.
Men will have to buy new swimwear and we’ll have to adjust movie ratings to reflect these new cultural norms (if a movie is PG or PG-13, we’ll have to make it R rated if it features men who are topless and nippleful).
Men will have new tan lines. Men will be seen adjusting their tops out of fear of showing a nipple. Men will wear camisoles.
Since most men won’t need the support of a bra, the yet-to-be-named nipple covers for men can take on a variety of designs. Designers will create bold, gravity-defying fashions for men. The male nipple will come into contact with luxurious fabrics never before experienced by men. Nipple-soothing linens and satins.
And it will piss everyone off. It will highlight the absurdity of it all. People will cut that shit out and finally realize total nipple liberation. Mostly at the beach. Or pools. Really, kind of small potatoes, actually.
When you think about it, criminalizing the nipple is CRAZY. We all have them. Everyone. You can look at a nipple any time you want. Why are they so taboo?
Consider the belly button. We all have belly buttons. (Except for my uncle who picked at his, causing an infection that led to the loss of his belly button.) And we are all free to show ours in the States. Like it ain’t no big deal. “Cause it ain’t.
Unfortunately, there’s history there, too. There was a time people freaked the fuck out over the belly button. Barbara Eden couldn’t show hers on television. If she had, then communism would have won. Fact.
But we got over that. And we can get over this. LET US STAND NIPPLE TO NIPPLE AND END THIS MADNESS.
Superman has taught us that in order to unleash our superpowers, we need to embrace our nipples. When Clark Kent becomes Superman, he tears open his shirt, exposing his chest–the home of his nipples! You don’t see them, but you know they’re there. Hard and bullet-proof. Superman was telling us that nipples = personal empowerment all along.
Tear open your shirt. End the hurt.
I’ll leave it to the better organized to set up the GoFundMe and create the hashtag. I’m already over it.
I’ve moved on. I’m now active in the male leg-shaving movement.