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The Battle of the Bulge

The fashion's industry's escalating feminization of masculinity is usually Michelle's beat, but this morning I encountered an example of truly remarkable proportions (a pun, as you'll see). I don't typically read men's magazines, but the fellow next to me on the Metro had one open and I could not help but notice a particularly aggressive full-page ad for the "Shock Jock Extreme," with "Frontal Enhancing Technology." The accompanying photo was of a surly-looking young man in his underwear, his hands taped like a boxer's.

Made by Andrew Christian, the Shock Jock Extreme is, as you may fear (I know I did), underwear designed to increase the prominence of the package, a push-up bra for man parts. I did not, and will not, investigate the "technology" responsible for the "frontal enhancing," but I like to imagine it involves cantilevers and buttresses of some kind. (I'm also declining to link, though the curious can google it easily enough.)

Now, I could see something along these lines selling as a kind of gag gift for longtime couples, but that is clearly not its intended market. This product is for young guys eager to make, shall we say, a strong first impression on a potential romantic partner--I assume generally female, though that may be wrong. (I suppose it is also conceivable that it's for straight men eager to impress other men in the dorm or locker room, though this possibility is simply too sad for me to pursue further.)

In any case, it's hard to think of any product more likely to achieve the exact opposite of its intended purpose than this one, a totem of manly confidence that is in fact about the most explicit advertisement of sexual insecurity that one could imagine. And what happens when--as, again, seems to be the point--they come off? Disappointment? Hilarity?