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Help for some bosom buddies on Astini News

BARABOO — Our nation stands on the brink of a health crisis, and it's time for immediate action. This scourge has reached epidemic proportions and must go unchecked no longer. I refer, of course, to the proliferation of man boobs.

I had no idea of the severity of the crisis until I received a news release promoting Cliff Manchester's book, "The Secret to Concealing your Man Boobs." Manchester's regimen relies upon a fat-burning diet and targeted exercise "that helps encourage men to achieve what they thought was impossible." Forget about curing cancer for a minute: Guys across America are lugging around hooters! Somebody set up a telethon!

The author says his "Chest Coach System" yields results in as little as three weeks, thanks to a steady diet (fat-free, no doubt) of encouragement and enthusiasm. There's no word on whether they'll throw in a set of Ginsu knives, or perhaps The Clapper.

Some online research — and yes, I swear this is the first time I've typed "boobs" into my search engine at the office — revealed many products and services aimed at deflating the oversized male breasts of America. Some are predictable, such as an column advising guys to eat less and exercise more. What can we say, ladies? We need things spelled out for us. That's why you need to give us your Christmas wish list — otherwise we'll come home with udder balm and a half-eaten box of Jujyfruit.

Other services available on the Web were real eye-openers. For example, did you know they're offering breast reduction surgery for men? Beverlyhills reports that the procedure isn't only for weightlifters any more: It's for all kinds of men in their 20s and 30s suffering from gynecomastia, a condition more commonly known as man boobs.

On another website whose name I swear I am not making up,, a drug company called Gynexin honors its breast reduction pill — "the most powerful man boobs pill" on the market — for winning Product of the Year.

Somehow, I was ignorant about this development in male over-development. Sure, I've noticed that some guys out there have cleavage, but I had no idea a cottage industry had sprung up to combat this plague. Apparently when Frank Costanza and Kramer were developing competing male support undergarments — the "Mansierre" and the "Bro" — on "Seinfeld," they were years ahead of their time.

Not everyone is looking to eradicate the overgrown male breast, however. One website,, celebrates the husky man and his bosom buddies. Its motto: "The site that says, 'We're fat and we're proud' and then quickly puts its T-shirt back on." It features a photo gallery honoring the current Man Boobs of the Month champion, and an article celebrating its 100th complaint from visitors.

With that exception, most websites dedicated to this topic are bent on fighting the spread of man boobs. One site,, encourages guys to fight the battle of the bust with supplements and plastic surgery. Another,, promotes low-fat diets and workout regimens that include weight lifting and cardiovascular exercise.

Sure, our nation faces other health care challenges, but those get plenty of attention. Lurking just beneath the surface, like Grandpa's buoyant man-knockers as he wades neck-deep into the pool, is an epidemic unknown even to some of us in the news media. This is not surprising, because we in the news media tend not to be aware of the location of our car keys, much less the emergence of the latest health care scare. But now that we're aware of the man boobs crisis, you can rely on us to whip the nation into a paranoid frenzy. (See also: Hurricane Irene, swine flu and anything ending in "-gate.")

Together we will strive to rid our nation of unwanted male chest flesh. It's time for America to flex its collective muscle — preferably in an upper-body conditioning exercise designed to shape our flabby pectorals.

Follow columnist Ben Bromley on Twitter @ben_bromley.

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