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BLESSED CHEST

The Men Who Made Themselves Moobilicious

And the woman who taught them how

Photo by Luke Stacey on Flickr

We are saddened to announce the death of the woman who showed buxom men how to choose bras which improved their self-image, and also how to control under-moob odor.

Miss Dagmar Undergard owned a bar on the Leelanau, a peninsula in Michigan’s Up North known for its vast cherry orchards, Lake Michigan beaches, and blue-collar guys who sing show tunes in drag.

The singing and dragging began in 1980, when Dagmar, hoping to attract customers on slow Winter nights, started showing movies on her bar’s back wall. She chose popular musicals, such as Mary Poppins, Bye Bye Birdie, Funny Girl, My Fair Lady, and the like. To make it more fun, she encouraged people to sing along by displaying the lyrics on an adjacent screen. And dress up like their favorite characters.

Even more than the women, Leelanau men enjoyed it immensely. Only, they didn’t like wearing the male characters’ outfits. In the The Wizard of Oz, for instance, the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, and Scarecrow costumes were dull. The Munchkins’ were too small. The Winged Monkey outfits were complicated. And no one wanted to be a Winkie. To them, the only costumes worth wearing were worn by Glinda and Elphaba, the good and bad witches.

Likewise, female characters had the best songs. In West Side Story, Maria got to sing

“I feel pretty

Oh so pretty

I feel pretty and witty and gay.”

Well dammit, the guys wanted to be pretty, too.

So, the men decided to sing the women’s songs. And to make it plausible, do it in drag.

Trouble was, they’d never done drag before. And they wanted to get it right. Then as now, Leelanau men took pride in their appearance. They were only farmers, carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, roofers, truckers, and such. But their Carhartts, though scuffed, were clean. And they wore their only suit, though ill-fitting and old, with dignity at every family affair, be it a worship service, wedding, baptism, graduation, funeral, arraignment, or parole hearing.

Likewise, the men were determined to do drag in ways which would be deemed proper by their friends, coworkers, and fellow parishioners. Set an example for the kids. And do their wives proud.

Their first time out, they dressed for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. It was a ballsy move. Lesser men would have started with The Sound of Music, where they could get by with dirndls and nun’s habits. But the boys wanted to go big. As in Marilyn Monroe big — 37–23–36 — and Jane Russell big — 38D-24–36.

Fortunately, Dagmar was there to help. She borrowed gowns for them from the community theater. Ones like Russell’s midnight-blue dress with the keyhole neckline and sequins, and her strapless black taffeta corset dress with the plunging neckline. Also Monroe’s gold halter-neck with the daring open V to the waist, and her iconic hot pink peau d’ange strapless.

Then Dagmar helped them gown up. The men worried about the curves created by their spare tires and saggy asses. Dagmar told them not to worry. The only curves that counted were their boobs. And she’d make them look boobilicious.

First, the men had to choose the right bra. Never mind cup and band sizes, she said. They’d have better luck mastering the metric system. Instead, she gave them the “Fruit System” (which they continue to use to this day). Visualize an actress, she said, whose chest they want to emulate. Imagine what pairs of fruit are that size. If a guy wanted a chest like Audrey Hepburn’s, it was lemons, if Katherine Hepburn’s, oranges. Grapefruits would give him a Rita Hayworth rack. Cantaloupes would give him Marilyn Monroe melons. Then ask a lingerie retailer for those kinds of “fruit cups,” provide a chest measurement, and they’ll receive the right-sized bra.

The men could fill it with the related fruit. Or traditional stuffings — tissues, socks, mini-marshmallows, packing peanuts — depending on how much jiggle they wanted. “Just don’t overstuff it,” she said. “Remember what Mr. Parton told his daughter Dolly, ‘Never put ten pounds of mud into five-pound bags.’”

Only the young and middle-aged guys needed artificial stuffing. Men sixty and up had their own. But of course! Men and women both “blossom.” That Women do it in their teens, guys do it near retirement. Before that, men’s pecs are full and firm from years of manual labor. But around sixty, the pecs atrophy and sag, fat accumulates, and guys develop man-boobs, or “moobs.” They come in a variety of forms — round, tear-dropped, close set, sagging to the sides. The nipples change, too. They become flat or protruding, bumpy or puffy, and exerted or inverted.

Normally, men didn’t do anything with their moobs. That is, besides naming them. On the Leelanau, the most common are Jake and Elwood, Butch and Sundance, Kirk and Spock, Wayne and Garth, and Bert and Ernie.

But if a guy was gonna wear a gown, he had to holster his moobs. Dagmar taught them the fine points. First, the bras needed to be the right cut and fit. Not too large: the moobs would flop around inside the cups. Not too small: the cups would runneth over. Not too stiff: contain the moobs, not cage them.

Second, don’t go cheap. That was a hard concept for guys to grasp. “Good enough” is normally all a man needs. But that doesn’t work with bras. An ill-fitting one can ruin a gown’s appearance. Pokey underwires can feel worse than catching one’s weiner in his zipper. Back pain and migraines can make the underwires feel good by comparison. So try ten bras, she urged, if that’s what it takes to find one that fits.

Third, bras are ridiculously expensive. Get over it.

Dagmar also advised the men to give their moobs TLC. That wasn’t important when the “boys ran wild.” But when wearing bras, men had to deal with prickly heat, rashes, and under-moob sweat. Dagmar advised them to make a paste of corn starch, shea butter, ground arrowroot, vitamin E, coconut, lavender and tree tea oils. When spread on one’s moobs, it softened the skin. And also eliminated under-moob odor.

The men quickly got handy with their bras. Previously, they were routinely called out while trying to reach second base because they couldn’t unclasp a girlfriend’s bra. Now, they fastened their own with ease. Slide the band to move the cups ‘round back, fasten the clasp, then return the cups to “front and center.” But they did one thing different from women. Ladies twist their bras at their waists. Since most guys have ample bellies, they did the twisting up on their rib cages.

Once the men learned how to corral their moobs, they were ready to make them moobilicious. To do that, Dagmar put the guys through a bust-enhancing workout.

She had them start with moob warm-ups so the muscles wouldn’t tear. The men would stand straight, place their hands palm to palm at shoulder height, and inhale deeply to open their chests and shoulders. Then they clasped their hands behind them, extended their arms backwards, and slowly rotated right and left to limber up “the boys.”

Next, they firmed up the moobs with weights and resistance. Fifteen reps of dumbbell chest presses and pullovers, then the same number of cable oblique twists and crossovers.

Dagmar also taught them a few tricks. If their moobs didn’t hang right in a dress, set them in place with double-sided tape. Dagmar called it “a roll of moob-lift.” If a guy wanted to look more bosomy, darken the area between his moobs with a dusting of bronzer. If he was embarrassed by his nipples, as men often are, hide them with adhesive pink nipple covers.

Over the next forty years, Dagmar guided busty men’s efforts to be moobilicious. In the process, Leelanau guys learned to embrace their moobs. To see bras as more than moob comforters: to view them as ways to express the men’s personalities.

Farmers, for instance, prefer longline bras. They lift the moobs and suck in the waist. And though retro, they signal the wearer’s willingness to spice things up.

Loggers like steel-boned overbust corsets. They just want to reshape their figures and shed a few inches.

Truckers wear demi bras. No frills, just something simple and easy to wear for the long haul.

Snow plow drivers wear Racerbacks, a bra which, like them, works hard from morning ’til night.

Cops prefer push-up bras. They control how much cleavage is exposed, but also show that the wearer is confident, outgoing, and not afraid to be flirty.

Drywallers like strapless bras. They signal that the guy knows how to have a good time, and also how to be one.

Street sweepers like plunge bras. The communicate that their wearers are gentlemen in the streets, but freaks ‘tween the sheets.

Thanks to Dagmar, Leelanau men are renowned throughout Michigan’s Up North for being bold and bosomy when they want to. For being the kinds of guys who’ll show up at the bar for a screening of Oklahoma, wearing an 1890 pioneer dress with lots of décolletage on display, and, with their wives, kids and parents noshing nearby, singing,

“I’m jist a girl who cain’t say no.

I’m in a turrible fix.

I always say “Come on, let’s go”,

Jist when I orta say nix!”

Or come for a screening of Chorus Line, wearing a low-cut blue leotard, black leg warmers, and white sneakers, and with friends and fellow parishioners looking on, proudly pointing to their bongos and singing,

“Tits and ass.

Bought myself a fancy pair.

Didn’t cost a fortune neither.

Didn’t hurt my sex life either.”

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Bootleg Humor Since 1720. The premier place for, and fastest growing humor publication on Medium. Experience the MuddyUm difference. We support all types of humor and comedy writing and illustrations. We publish fast. We edit well. Run by a ship full of Pastafarian Pirates.

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Miss Catherine La Grange, spinster

Miss Catherine La Grange, spinster

Retired high school social studies teacher in Michigan’s Up North. I’m a Presbyterian spinster, but I’m no Angel.

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