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Hey, Faggot:

I am a 36-year-old male, approximately 30 pounds overweight. I have always battled with my weight and have learned to live with the ups and downs. However, no matter how much weight I lose or how often I work out I always have a big flabby chest--a source of discomfort and shame to me that I have not learned to accept. In a word, I hate my tits. I envy flat-chested guys who stay that way, fat or skinny.

I know there are surgical procedures to correct this problem. What do you know about these? What do your readers know? How expensive is it, and what, if any, are the side effects? --Ashamed of My Tits

Hey, AMT:

This may or may not have anything to do with your boobs, but according to a long scary piece in a recent New Yorker and a medium scary piece in a recent Esquire, everything we eat, drink, and wear is slathered in estrogen (female hormones) and/or industrial chemicals that mimic estrogen in our bodies. Con-sequently, girls are hitting puberty earlier, and boys aren't pumping out sperm on anything approaching the scale we once did: all over the industrialized world, sperm counts are dropping like Chechnyans. If it keeps up at this rate, there won't be a fertile human male left on the planet in two generations.

Scientists studying the effects of all this estrogen exposure on human beings have noted other kinda spooky, potentially estrogen-exposure-linked phenomena: increased rates of testicular cancer, higher rates of breast cancer in men and women, increasing numbers of young boys with malfunctioning testicles, and men with enlarged breasts. Chemical companies, taking a page from tobacco's playbook, are assembling troops of PR flacks and scientists for hire (prof-titutes) to cast doubt on the growing pile of evidence that sprinkling estrogen on our cornflakes in the morning is bad for us. If the scientists studying dropping sperm counts are correct, the extinction of the human race is two generations off. We can cross that bridge when we come to it--if we haven't all died of lung cancer, courtesy of Philip Morris, before we're all rendered sterile, courtesy of Du Pont (maybe Terry Gilliam can make a movie about it). Meanwhile, what are we going to do about your tits?

Most men with large boobies are suffering from either pseudogynecomastia or actual gynecomastia. The pseudo variety is merely a concentration of fat in the chest, and a little liposuction goes a long way toward taking care of the prob. Men who have gynecomastia, on the other hand, suffer from an imbalance of hormones. In other words: TOO MUCH ESTROGEN (see above) (!!!), resulting in a buildup of "glandular breast tissue."

If your large titties are at all sore or tender to the touch, see a doc! Gynecomastia has been linked to several kinds of cancer (testicular, lung, adrenal, liver, kidney) and mostly afflicts men over age 50. But 30 percent of all gynecomastia cases have no apparent cause--which of course points right back to all that creepy estrogen in the environment! Yikes! More than 5,000 American men get breast-reduction surgery every year. A cosmetic surgeon I spoke with--who did not wish to be identified, bock, bock, bock--told me the cost varies from state to state, practitioner to practitioner, but you can expect to pay anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000 for a good boob job. If the brainiacs are right about this estrogen-poisoning thing, the numbers of men going in for boob jobs may rise sharply. This increased demand could very well drive up the price--so don't delay! Get your boob job now!

Hey, Faggot:

I'm a 50-year-old female (hetero) who recently discovered an interest in leather gear and pictures depicting humiliation, submission, bondage. Mostly I like to look, but I enjoy a good spanking (receiving), and had a great time getting my first golden shower from my accommodating husband. He's been very open and supportive. The trouble is me: I'm afraid I'm a freak or a pervert. I know I'm not hurting anyone, but I'm ashamed. Reassure me?

This all came up after years of abuse recovery (incest). I don't feel there's some kind of sick connection to the abuse--more like dealing with the abuse kept me too busy to know what latent tendencies I had buried inside--but it all confuses the issue some. Your views? --Late Leather Bloomer

Hey, LLB:

Are you a pervert? I'd say so. But what, I ask you, is so wrong with being a pervert? You like what you like, and so long as you're liking the things you like with other people who like them too, you're not hurting anybody, are you? If you're not doing yourself any serious physical or psychological damage, and you and your partner keep things safe, sane, and consensual, why waste five fucking seconds worrying about the labels? (Unless, of course, you're fucking your mother, in which case I think you're a freak.) Fuck 'em. The label "pervert" only wounds to the extent that we allow it to. "Yeah, I'm a pervert," you need to say to yourself and to anyone who so labels you, "and I'm having a grand time."

As for the abuse: you hit the nail on the head, girlfriend--there is no connection. Plenty of people into SM sex were sexually abused at some point in their lives, plenty of people who aren't into SM were abused, and plenty of people into SM were never so much as spanked as children. There is no correlation, no cause-and-effect. If folks who've been abused censor their erotic lives because the power play that attracts them to SM sex resembles or echoes the abuse of power they suffered as children, they're compounding their victimization, perpetuating the power of their abusers to harm them. Don't allow whoever abused you as a child to deprive you of whatever pleasures tickle your fancy as an adult. Why become your own victim?

Hey, Faggot:

I am writing to you after reading the letter from LH. I appreciate your measured approach to advising LH regarding her assault by a boyfriend. I want to encourage you to go over the top in advising LH to split the scene ASAP.

As an attorney working in divorce and antiharassment protection, I see violence from an odd perspective. I am usually involved in protecting a client's rights after the violence has worn a path through the relationship. I am writing to offer this bottom-line perspective: LH will be assaulted again by her boyfriend. It's just a matter of time. I know that sounds jaded and hopeless, but the contrary is true. I have hope that victims of violence will find a relationship with a boyfriend/girlfriend who is not violent. Get out of a relationship where you have been treated violently. No matter what.

I am not saying your measured approach was bad advice. I am saying that your first impulse to tell LH to "leave his sorry ass" was better advice. Keep up the good work.

--Brett P. Williams, Attorney at Law

Hey, BPWAL:

Thanks for writing.

And hey, LH, if you're reading this, please drop us a note. I'm sure everyone would like to know what you decided to do.

Send questions to Savage Love, Chicago Reader, 11 E. Illinois, Chicago 60611.

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