Sleeveless shirt nipple exposure

A look we do not endorse: the gaping armhole, nipple-exposing, homemade muscle shirt. You can't go shirtless at a gym, so why is this look acceptable?

While we care about fashion, in general, we don’t care about gym fashion — if you want to drop a few hundred dollars on Lululemon attire, go for it, but we don’t think it’s necessary. However, we do advocate good gym etiquette. From time to time, we’ll write about this subject. This is one of those times.

Exercising regularly at a gym is also an exercise in compromise: you get to look fit, even though there are other places you’d rather be, other things you’d rather be doing, and other people you’d rather see naked than the midlife-crisis guy who struts around locker room. Thankfully, there are ways to minimize gym annoyances. You get in and out of the locker room briskly. You wear headphones to block out the cacophony of bench-press grunts and sped-up dance versions of pop songs. You hold your breath when a phantom fart pollutes the air in the cardio area.

sleeveless shirt dude side boob

Dude side boob: WTF?

But there is one breach of gym etiquette that can’t be tolerated anymore: men who expose their nipples outside the locker room. More specifically, men who turn into a narcissistic male version of Martha Stewart, and make their own sleeveless shirts made to showcase their ribs, pecs and man nipples.

If you workout at a gym in Chicago, you’ve probably encountered guys wearing these shirts, and you’ve probably encountered some gym nipples. Make no mistake, these are no nip slips. When you wear a shirt with armholes that are only appropriate for Ganesha and “The Man Whose Arms Exploded,” nipple exposure is far from incidental. It’s an open invitation to scope a bare upper body. Nobody wants to RSVP, and yet, we’re all forced to, at least for a brief, nightmare inducing second.

If you wear these shirts and think its impressive or sexy, you’re wrong. You look like a fool trying too hard, like someone who hasn’t grasped how to function around adults, like a Facebook user who’s never found a shirtless photo of himself not worth posting online. And please don’t make the argument that this is a comfort issue, or an “I need to see my muscles in the mirror to ensure proper workout form” issue. If a properly fitted tank top doesn’t give you the comfort and visual aids you need, may we suggest using P90X at your home, where you can showcase your nipples to Tony Horton and no one else (please close the blinds and pull down the shades).

Just to be fair: we might find this sexy, but it's so not appropriate for the gym. Unless your gym is in the American Apparel headquarters.

Do not mistake this as a screed against legitimate bodybuilders, who’ve been known to wear a string tank top from time to time. Much respect to those dedicated dudes who are big enough to fill out tank tops in a way that doesn’t result in nipple protrusion. The guys we are singling out rarely wear actual string tank tops. These guys take a normal t-shirt, and don’t just cutoff the sleeves (which is totally fine), but cut out a gaping hole on the side of the shirt that extends to about the waistline (which is totally not fine). This is intentional. This is moronic. There should be a two-day waiting period and wardrobe audit before men can buy a pair of scissors.

We presume that no matter what we say on this subject, and no matter how much we urge our fellow men keep their nipples under wraps, the best weapon in the fight against gym nipples is women. So ladies, in the comment section below, feel free to explain how dumb you find these shirts, and how unappealing it is to look at male nipples during your workouts. If for some reason you’re in favor of a little male sideboob at the gym, well, you can voice your opinion in that direction as well. But if you start seeing hairy, flabby dude boob at your local fitness center, don’t blame us. Your words are powerful enough to cause a nipple effect.

 

 

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24 Comments
  1. Eli

    April 2, 2011

    I think guys who wear those shirts are f*cking sexy.

    • Erik

      September 11, 2013

      Author is an asshat. After reading this, I’m going to cut out the nipples in all my shirts. Gym shirts, tee shirts, button-ups, dress shirts. Just little circles for the nipples. Nipple pride!

  2. taylor

    April 7, 2011

    That shirt is a complete fail. I’m not fond of guys who rip the sleeves off their shirts like that in the first place, but that one just looks tacky.

  3. alex

    April 12, 2011

    1. dont hate on toned, muscular guys just cus you’re chubby and dont know how to make a halfway decent cutoff shirt.
    2. i do make my own cutoffs. why? because they are comfy, i can see my progress, and the most important reason, CUS I LIKE TO. i dont train in the gym for anyone but myself. im not there to keep up appearences or compare clothing. im there to TRAIN and push myself that much closer to my goal. if u can see my whole bare uppper body and you dont like it then u can exercise facing the other way for all i care.
    3. who gives a shit!? if you’re actually focused on someone elses attire at the gym more than your own workout then you can talk shit all you want cus all you are ever gunna be is some average joe taking up space in the squat rack. train for yourself

  4. fitness blog

    May 11, 2011

    Enjoyable read!

  5. keef

    May 13, 2011

    F*CK OFF! The human body is lovely. Get over it. Anyone who is disturbed by a nipple (male or female) does only have issues — they have the lifetime subscription.

  6. Michael

    June 24, 2011

    If you think the people who go to your gym are too trashy, you should up your budget and go to a nicer one.

  7. Kaden

    July 19, 2011

    The author obviously has too much time on his hands and is most likely very out of shape and jealous.

  8. Dustin

    July 19, 2011

    Already wear two of these homemade shirts, although my muscle shirts are better cut than the one in the picture, but now after reading this bull-sh** article I’m going home to rip up a few more shirts!

  9. Karl Marxxx

    July 19, 2011

    this isn’t even a real example. no one who wears these would be as donkey as to screw it up like that. completely intentional to look stupid. you proved your point with the equivalent of photoshop. find an ACTUAL example that you dislike and we’ll talk.

  10. Joel

    August 10, 2011

    I was a runner so I had a leaner build, but because of a knee injury I’ve stopped doing much cardio and was able to put on some muscle. As I’m getting bigger my t-shirts (which are mostly from races I’ve participated in) are too small. My biceps, chest, and shoulders make the shirts bunch up hence the need to cut a wider hole in the sides. Instead of buying workout shirts (which can be expensive) I rather save a tree (not to mention some green) and rip up old race shirts.

    I get that some guys do it to show off but its actually very practical.

  11. Jaden

    August 30, 2011

    Watching your muscles while you work out because you “want to see progress” is probably the poorest excuse I’ve seen. You’re not going to see a significant difference in the size of your arms by the end of your daily workout, and you fall into the “I have to bask my the beauty of my own muscles in public in order to work out properly” category. If you truly want to track your progress, do it at your time at your own place where no one can see.

    I myself an a fairly muscular person. I run often, and lift occasionally, but I don’t go around pretending that I’m the shit and wear the most hideous cut-off shirt possible. For a majority of the ladies, it’s a turn-off, yes you will repel more than you will attract (you’ll, in most cases, attract homosexuals instead :P ).

    The people claiming to dislike this article, what the odds that they are exactly the ones this article was targeting? They’ll use whatever excuse to continue acting stuck-up.

  12. Tony

    September 30, 2011

    You guys who are hating on cut-off T-shirts are lame as hell. You guys must suffer from a lack of testosterone or something. It doesn’t matter what the fuck somebody wears in the gym unless it’s totally obscene. I don’t have a problem with cut-off shirts. …if you saw me and started talkin’ shit about my cut-off then I’d just assume you were a bitch ass hater.

  13. Gym Smith

    February 12, 2012

    Author is a doooosh-baaaag. Just for that, I will go home and cut out just the nipple area of all my shirts and go to his lame-A$$ gym only to annoy him.

  14. WTF

    March 9, 2012

    All I’m getting from this is the author is semi-homophobic. Men’s nipples disgust you!?!? Are you kidding me?

    1) A proper muscle shirt is a normal shirt with no sleeves. The only thing exposed in a proper muscle shirt is the arms. So unless you have x-ray vision, or are severely straining to see them… you can’t! In a tank top.. sure. But a tank top and a muscle shirt are not the same thing.

    2) To Jaden and anyone else who doesn’t get the entire “seeing your arms while you work them out” clearly doesn’t understand the function. Watching your muscle flex or contract during a curl or extension is key to proper form. It shows you what muscles you’re actually using, and the ones you’re not specifically targeting and thus should not be using. It has nothing to do with admiring ones body. Stop hating.

    3) If you’re at the gym and are checking other men out… that place is not for you. If you’re not focused on yourself & on what you’re doing, you clearly shouldn’t be going to the gym. All you’re doing is wasting your money. And heaven forbid your delicate sensibilities get in the way of continuing to improve yourself because you got a flash of another guy’s nipples. What’s next? Are you gonna want people to be fully clothed in the locker room at all times now?

  15. Ur brah

    April 28, 2012

    Whats wrong with u brah? I got 3 cutoff shirts from old Ts for my Mon Wed and Fri beast workouts. My nipples be exposing. U mad?

  16. Wil

    May 9, 2012

    I started wearing these shirts lately after almost a year of working out and i have been getting compliments, so i dont see whats wrong with it as long as you look good in it

  17. Jim

    July 31, 2012

    What is this guy’s problem? Totally homophobic, IMO. Nothing wrong at all with string tanks. They’re really comfortable, allow you to breathe, and expose enough of your body so that you can actually see what’s going on when you lift. Who the f*ck cares if a guy’s nips are showing. Get over yourself, dude!

  18. jg

    November 17, 2012

    Jaden:
    Why must wearing cut-off shirts be “stuck-up”?
    Actually, the people that care about what they wear -and moreover, about what OTHERS wear- would seem far more stuck-up.
    Who gives a sh*t, really?

    Ideally, I’d be able to work out shirtless and nobody would care, just like I jog shirtless in the park and nobody seems to care, I swim shirtless in the pool (and that’s pretty much the accepted norm -you’d probably think I’m a “weirdo” if I swam with a shirt on! HA!), I walk shirtless at the beach, and I shower shirtless (naked, actually) in the showers in the locker rooms of any sports facility I go to.

    So, you too see people naked -and plenty of nipples for that matter; fit or not, flabby or not- in the locker room and the showers anyway; and for sure lots of nipples in the swimming pool or the sauna, or at the beach, or just randomly walking outside in any nice city with good weather.

    Why would more skin -more nakedness-, a few nipples, result offensive while lifting weights? Why would it seem “stuck up”?
    It’s not.
    Why would anyone care?
    Why would anyone waste their time CRITICIZING and REPRESSING others for what they choose to do with their own clothing, body and their life?

    I can understand this article only as it being comical. There’s nothing reasonable in it that could be taken seriously.

    People that are offended and disturbed by any little innocuous thing others do are the sociopaths who ought to stay at home doing P90X!
    They are the intolerant, judging beings who have no respect for others.
    People with cutout shirts are harmless and they should be free to do as they please. And those shirts for sure look f*king comfortable (very breathable…; very close to being shirtless…).

    I’ve NEVER worn one of these cut-out shirts, but I have been dying to buy one, and that’s how a little research on Google led to this site, where I found out that people actually make these themselves (so now I’ll start making mine!).
    I’m not beefy-muscular or anything, but I still find the sleeves in shirts (in particular, the seams under my armpits) pretty uncomfortable.

    Being shirtless (and naked, for that matter) *IS* very comfortable, and that’s how we came into the world to begin with. Nobody should be IMPOSING clothing (or a specific type of clothing that they approve of) on me or anyone else.

  19. keef

    February 22, 2013

    Completely homophobic. The human body is beautiful Nipples are delicious. Leave them on display.

  20. Chris

    April 18, 2013

    First of all if you are an overweight guy by all means cover up or lose weight. As long as you are slim or muscular not fat then I say go for it. I purposely buy shirts and cut of the sleeves down to my waistline and have them stitched up nice so they don’t unravel. They are soo comfy when the temps outside reach 80+ as long as boobs and dicks and fat blubber are covered I won’t be complaining. In fact in the summer I don’t even wear shirts unless I am out in public where I am forced to or winter of course. I have yet to get any weird stairs. If I could would only wear shirts in cold weather when the temps hit 90+ as they do in Dallas you sweat and your shirt soaks it up. Result is a nasty barnyard smell. Solution don’t wear one. Yes I wear deoderent. As long as you are slender you should not be ashamed of your body. After all we were created in the bible naked just like all other mammals.

  21. Daniel

    April 22, 2013

    I’m sorry but I’m really struggling to understand. What do you find wrong about a man revealing his nipples?

  22. Jay

    August 11, 2013

    Totally agree this looks dumb!

  23. Daniel

    December 27, 2013

    Sorry, but what exactly is wrong with male nipples? They are just a part of our chests. It seems like you’re oppressing the male gender. Are you a feminist? You don’t get to decide how we dress. We don’t force women to wear burqas in a free country so I don’t think you have any business attempting to force men to cover up either. You’ve also used the worst representation as a photo. Most guys actually look great in a muscle shirt with large armholes.

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