Gang, something serious has come up. I'm talking an A1 issue that needs to be addressed ASAP. I'm not talking about new insider trading allegations of a major hedge fund. I'm not talking about the Citi's projected $40 billion Q4 writedown. I'm not talking about Lloyd Blankfein visiting pet cemeteries, digging up parakeet carcasses and suck out their essence, much to Hank Paulson's chagrin. I'm talking about something much more important. I'm talking about chest hair and pecs, and whether or not you're showing yours off. Think I'm joking? I'm pretty sure the Wall Street Journal doesn't a) put laughing matters on Page One and b) commission headcut-esque drawings of John Travolta's torso circa "Saturday Night Fever" just to fuck with its readership. Now that you're on board with the gravity of this issue, let's examine the facts and figure out how everyone's going to move forward.
According to the Journal, "man cleavage -- plunging necklines slit open to reveal chest hair, pectoral muscles, maybe more -- is back." And not just on effete European men, or anorexic hipsters but "regular Joes," like actors and reality TV contestants.
New York designer Mr. Bastian said his show's vibe was inspired in part by "Latin guys" he noticed wearing their shirts unbuttoned, as well as the unabashed machismo of Latin American men in general. "We wanted to go back to a more natural body, a more '70s body with the models, getting away from the super skinny," says Mr. Bastian.
Plenty of men, from regular Joes to "Dancing With the Stars" contestants, have loosened to the trend. On HBO's hit series "True Blood," 29-year-old ex-model Mehcad Brooks rarely went an episode without removing his shirt. Mr. Brooks also frequently displays his perfect pecs off-screen, wearing rib-hugging T's with deep V-necks or shirts with the top buttons suggestively undone. "Even if people were making fun of me, calling me 'Miami Vice' like they used to in college, I would still wear it," says the 6-foot-4, 215-pound actor. "It feels comfortable and I like the way it looks. If you can pull off three buttons undone, then do it." Other fans of the look include actors Jude Law and Ed Westwick.
This is not recommended for those of you who spends hours in front of the mirror grabbing flab, or on your knees in front of the toilet.
Vik Mohindra, a 27-year-old graduate student from Toronto, confesses that his guy friends sometimes tease him about his heavage. "I would not recommend it to someone who isn't confident with their body and overall sense of style," says Mr. Mohindra, who says he works out three to four days a week and has a "defined" chest.
For those seriously considering this, put down the razor. Besides the fact that you're just not supposed to poke around down there, experts say you need to have a little grass sticking out for this to work.
The latest resurrection of man cleavage does raise a not-so insignificant issue: to wax or not? For a number of years, any male chest hair was considered a fashion don't, but very recently a thin thatch has become quite acceptable. The low-cut look "is better if you have a little chest hair," says Tyler Thoreson, a New York-based men's style consultant. "It's not about showing off chest hair, it's about it peeking out a little bit."
So who's going to start (or continue) doing this? While the look definitely has some detractors, like college student Ketty Colom, who wrote that heavage should be "left to the bedroom," it also already claims some big name fans, who walk among us. Basically, what you need to ask yourself in forming an opinion on the matter, is, do you want to be a billionaire? Do you want to own your own ice smoother? Do you want to display the sort of raw sexuality that makes women go wild, and makes men so desperate to do you that they turn themselves into women? If none of that interests you, keep it buttoned and walk on. But if you answered yes to any of the above, follow us.
I don't think anything else needs to be said. Next week: Murdoch tackles nether regions. Is Wall Street filled with overgrown cock-bushes, or could one eat pudding off your balls without catching a curly q? We'll have that debate.