January 13, 2010, - 2:31 am

“Heavage”: Most Annoying New Trend of the Decade

By Debbie Schlussel

I probably should have labeled this as one of my “Girlie-Man Nation:  Men–the New Women–Alerts.”


Heavage: Please Make It Stop

Heavage“–male cleavage and guys with unbuttoned shirts, showing their chest hair– is yet another one of those trends from the ’70s that should never make a comeback.  Sadly, it has.  And technically, it started toward the end of last year.  Either way, blechhhhhhh. Chewbacca called. He wants his look back.

Oh, and another thing: the words “male” and “decolletage” should never be placed together as respective adjective and noun. Sadly, now they are. I have a theory about this: as the gender lines are blurred more and more, as women continue to make up the majority of student bodies and graduates at colleges and grad schools, as men continue to bear the brunt of most recession job losses and lay-offs, and as men continue to adopt the social attributes of women, while women adopt the social attributes of men, men’s display of cleavage is for women to see, an emulation of women showing cleavage. It might have been macho and a sign of virility in the ’70s. But now, it’s just downright feminine, as are the “guys” who display it.

The guys who do this can work out at the gym all they want and have the most solid pectoral muscles, but in displaying their “man cleavage,” they’re acting like chicks. Remember, the guys who chose this “fashion” trend (and most fashion trends) are the men who “date” (euphemism) men, not the ones who date women.

Man cleavage — plunging necklines slit open to reveal chest hair, pectoral muscles, maybe more — is back.

Until recently, male décolletage was an androgynous fashion affectation limited mainly to sporadic appearances on European runways. But the look, including deep V-necks and scoop-neck tops, hit the U.S. in full force at New York’s September Fashion Week, turning up at shows by Duckie Brown, Michael Bastian and Yigal Azrouël.

This time around, the styles were more blatantly sexual and the models had a more studly swagger. 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.

“Latin guys”? What is this–“Scarface Chic”? I think when Tony Montana said, “Say hello to my little friend,” he didn’t mean his “chest cleavage.”

Plenty of men . . . have loosened to the trend.

On HBO’s hit series “True Blood,” 29-year-old ex-model Mehcad Brooks . . . frequently displays . . . rib-hugging T’s with deep V-necks or shirts with the top buttons suggestively undone.

Hmmm . . . sounds like gay disco garb. Andy Warhol, Studio 54, and the ’80s called. They said you can keep it. . . .

“Harper’s Bazaar’s Stephen Gan is working the new male cleavage in a low-cut T-shirt; it’s called ‘heavage,'” tweeted Hilary Alexander, fashion director of Britain’s Daily Telegraph newspaper, in early October while at a runway show in Paris. . . .

The last time man cleavage was so prevalent in the U.S. was in the 1970s — “the golden age of male chest hair,” says Mr. Bryan. Epitomized by John Travolta in 1977’s “Saturday Night Fever,” the convention back then was to skip enough shirt buttons to show off a thick forest of hair, perhaps topped with a gold medallion as a sign of virility.

Um, is it just me . . . or is there something terribly wrong with using the term “golden age” about male chest hair?


Uh, No

For those who don’t have the goods naturally, cosmetic surgery offers an increasingly popular solution. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that pectoral implants more than tripled in 2008, to 1,335 procedures up from 440 in 2007.

Brad Wieners, editor-in-chief of Men’s Journal magazine, believes that the magazine has made guys feel more comfortable about wearing more fitted clothes and styles that show that they work out. Mr. Wieners notes that for a recent cover shoot, actor Alec Baldwin donned a shirt open at the collar, subtly revealing chest hair. “He’s not Burt Reynolds,” says the editor. “But he’s letting you know he’s got a chest.”

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little. Alec Baldwin? No thanks. I already saw his man-boobs “heavage” in “It’s Complicated” (read my review). And it wasn’t pretty.  Eeuuw.

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.”

OMG, these “men” really are the new women. Please, spare me this sartorially non-splendorous “vision.”

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12 Responses

OMG; I, too, thought of throwing up when I saw the term ‘heavage’. I had never seen it before. I don’t think I was missing very much.

Little Al on January 13, 2010 at 6:37 am

Some guys can pull it off because they are real men. Some quasi-men should just cover up.

CaliforniaScreaming on January 13, 2010 at 8:19 am

One of my sons would tell you that you have to distinguish between 2-button heavage, versus 3 or 4 button heavage. 🙂

Shy Guy on January 13, 2010 at 9:50 am

This is just wrong. Heavage? Please. Stop it now.

John Hamer on January 13, 2010 at 10:01 am

Little Al I think the term you were thinking was hurlage…

meredith on January 13, 2010 at 10:10 am

If a man needs to show off like a woman, it isn’t flattering and it isn’t masculine. This is one fashion fad from the late 70s that should stay dead and buried… for good!

NormanF on January 13, 2010 at 11:28 am

The revolting Donnie Deutsch who has an audience of ten people on MSLSD also likes to show off his chest and wear purple unbuttoned shirts, showing his true inclination. He also wears his bifocals on the tip of his nose. Must be a lib thing.

Julian on January 13, 2010 at 11:40 am

What about my 2 inch deep back hair? The hair on the tops of my feet? Should I air it out?

T: You can always wear a low-cut wife-beater tank top or a women’s halter top and have “back heavage.” (Sad I gotta add this disclaimer, but to anyone who thinks I’m serious, I’m joking.) DS

Truth on January 13, 2010 at 12:35 pm

What scares me about this silliness is that we are in a dangerous world and our enemies men AND women are very tough and viscious.

Somehow I doubt metrosexual men in the West with their “heavage” scare the Islamofascist men.

All that I can say is Thank God for our Country Boys and Southerners who are still men and can fight.

jimmyPx on January 13, 2010 at 2:08 pm

in many cases women are reaching back to build up the next generation of women, where as men are more into themselves and their own ego, looking to make it with as many women possible as they acquire as many toys as possible to show off.

Sic Semper Tyrannus on January 13, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Women’s pants are cut so low, anymore, that I’m sure it’s cheaper to cut them like men’s pants without darts and tucks so women don’t have to have a waist to wear them. What about the women who do have waists? Tailors are going to be busy.

Perry on January 14, 2010 at 1:30 am

in many cases its not about showing off its about feeling comfortable with your body, its just hair I like to wear tanktops in the summet and I have chest hair. Vs purposely wear my shirt unbottoned

Jay on August 12, 2011 at 1:17 am

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