Moobs be Gone!

Moobs be Gone!
Moobs be Gone!

By Richard Murphy

“Moobs,” (AKA “Man Boobs” or - for the clinically inclined, Gynecomastia), have been in and out of my life like an annoying ex-wife.

As a fairly chubby little boy, I recall when a girl came up to me on the beach one day, pointed at me and said, “Aren’t you kind-of old to not be wearing a top?” It took a while for my 12 year-old brain to compute that she thought I was a girl, until I heard my older brother snickering in the background.

Fast forward to high school… swim team, track, growth spurts and raging testosterone finally kicked in to make a man out of me - or at least a flatter-chested teenager. It was the sixties, and between the long hair, flat chest and propensity to shuck my shirt at the least provocation, there was no mistaking what I was – androgynous. But at least the moobs were gone.

In the subsequent years, weight training and rowing resulted in what I always wanted to be… a perfectly ordinary, pleasant looking young man. Again, no moobs! I was a regular Joe-Next-Door, taxpaying American… right down to the khaki pants and blue button-downs.

But, as my 30s and 40s turned into my 50s, something started to happen. Three-mile runs four times a week morphed into once a day around the block with the dog. I was still eating whatever I wanted and likewise began to notice that ‘whatever I wanted’ was starting to outstay its welcome. My perfectly respectable 160 pounds became 170…then 180….then 200…then 210. I now had an overall roundness that made me look a bit like a cross between Poppin’ Fresh and Rodney Dangerfield – and to boot, the moobs had reappeared.

The onset of panic, a personal trainer, a low-carb high-protein diet and burpees, (a truly sadistic exercise) can do wonders for a man. It didn’t happen overnight, but gradually I started returning from my self-imposed shell of puff pastry. 200. 195. 190… until finally I was a comfortable 165 pounds.

Waist size? 34 inches. Shirt? 15 ½ by 33. Moobs? Still there. Yup, smaller for sure but a rack any 14 year-old girl would be proud of.

There are many great things about living in Southern California. Los Angeles is a vibrant and exciting city. The access to nature is fantastic. The weather is just about perfect. And there is a high concentration of board-certified plastic surgeons.

One of these is my friend Dr. Dan Mills, who practices and lives in one of the most beautiful places on earth - Laguna Beach, California.

“You know Ricky…” he said, “you’ve lost a lot of weight, and you’re not a kid anymore. The skin doesn’t bounce back like it would if you were 20.” I was sitting on an exam table moobs pointing downward. “I read a study the other day that said at least one in four men between 50 and 80 are affected by gynecomastia,” Dr. Mills continued.

I thought back to my golf-playing, martini-drinking dad at my age. Tan and trim, with a bushy, manly chest. Or was it actually a bushy gynecomastic rack of his own? The mind, as Dan Quayle said, is a terrible thing to lose.

So thinking the rest of my life would be subjected to a seemingly endless wardrobe of black shirts and suit coats, my friend Dr. Mills held out hope for me. “We can take care of this pretty easily buddy,” he said. Gynecomastia surgery is done all the time.”

So, he laid out my options which include the following:
• Liposuction, which will remove breast fat, but not the breast gland tissue itself
• Mastectomy (Yes, mastectomy). This type of surgery removes the actual breast gland tissue. The surgery is often done endoscopically, meaning only small incisions are used. This less invasive type of surgery involves less recovery time
• Non-invasive treatments such as CoolSculpting
Instead of asking for his particular recommendation, I went home to weigh my options.

To be continued…