It’s Time To Talk About It

I know that I rarely post on Sundays, but for the last 24 hours there’s been an issue that I haven’t been able to get out of my head or off of my heart, so I figured I’d take a few minutes and blog about it. Maybe the process of writing will bring me a little clarity. Or at least it’ll help me vent.

Last summer I started to realize that there was a tendency – a trend, if you will – that was troubling to me on a lot of levels. I thought maybe it was a short-term deal, something that would run its course in a couple of months, but I’m realizing that this trend isn’t going anywhere. And I feel like I need to speak up about it.

Here we go. I’ll say this as plainly as I know how.

*deep breath*

Dear Grown Men of the Universe,

You’re gonna need to put away the tank tops.



And please understand. I’m not talking about undershirts. I’m not talking about work-out shirts, though I’m a little EWWW in that category, too. I’m not even talking about a loose-fitting something-or-other that a man throws on before he goes to the pool or the beach.

I’m talking about, well, stylish tank top options. I’m talking about what Peach says that her sons refer to as “bro tops.” I’m talking about Cool! Let’s go to the movies! Hold on while I throw on some shorts and a tank top!

I’m talking about this.

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And listen. I get it. The weather gets hot. Tank tops can be comfortable. Plus, if you’re a man who works out a lot, you may see wearing a tank top as an excellent opportunity to invite the general public to your own personal gun show.


Because here’s the bottom line, at least for me: what’s going on underneath a guy’s arms is his own personal business. I don’t need to be privy to ANY OF THAT.

I brought up this issue on Twitter yesterday, and I appreciate what Amanda had to say about the male tank top trend.

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That’s a hard word. But it’s a good word.

And clearly I’m (mostly) kidding about this whole thing, but the kidding doesn’t change the fact that I’m not really a fan of grown men going sleeveless.

So what do y’all think about the bro tops? Yay or nay?

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  1. Oh my word, YES. Sleeveless tops on men are just all kinds of wrong. And I’ve never even seen men wearing tank tops like the ones you posted – but yuck, ick, and no thank you! Seriously though, isn’t it sad that our culture is feminizing men in so many ways? Tank tops, what’s next??

  2. Casey Springer says:

    Nay!!!! And also sweat pants

  3. I have absolutely no appreciation for the male tank top. Or the male sleeveless of any sort. I say if we’re going to have to see the underarm show we may as well offset it with a little amazing abs and/or pecs (and oh, this is more than a little precarious isn’t it). So I say either choose a pleasant sleeve or go all out in a swimsuit. At the beach. Or pool. With a tan. Before age 40 or so (give or take a few sit-ups).

    • I should add that I am middle aged with none-too-toned arms myself and obviously have some rather deep personal issues when dealing with the sleeveless issue.
      No judgement intended.

  4. I was gripping my computer wondering what on earth was causing you to take such a serious stance and then…

    I’m going with Nay. Nay. and Nay again.

  5. Down with the man tank as well as sandals on men. I don’t think there is a one of you with pleasant feet so stop already. Suffer in a tennis shoe, please (with appropriate socks).

  6. Too funny! We were actually just talking about this at lunch- the little poofs of chest hair that peek out over the top, and the pit hair… EWWWW!!! Keep it to yourself, please! Thanks for being the brave one to speak the truth. It’s a hard job, but someone’s gotta do it. Amy

  7. Sad part, they really think they look good!

  8. FINALLY!! Someone has said something!

    You are a true pioneer for blazing this trail. God bless your courage!

    The Mank Top needs to take the mankini, sweatpants, popped collars, and skinny jeans and drive off a cliff together. YUCK!!

    What folks have going on in their pittal regions is their business! Folks, do not put it on display, please and thank you!

    FYI, over here a lot of men shave there armpits! And some even shave their arms! Triple YUCK!

  9. Kendall says:

    Maybe it is just my monitor… please, please tell me that first tank top is not glittery!

  10. Jeanie says:

    Not too crazy about the tank tops, but what really bugs are men wearing too-short shorts. My preference is that they be knee length, or at least longer than mid-thigh. Cccckkkk.

  11. Not fond of men in tank tops. Especially reaching over the buffet offerings. Seriously??

  12. Big. Fat. NAY.

    Now, having said that, my husband and I were in Old Navy last summer when this business started and I told him, “Don’t do it, it’ll be gone next summer.” They were back again this year and I finally told him the truth, “Don’t do it because they look dumb…and also you’re 29.”

    The next day we saw a hipster wearing one and he looked at me and said, “Thank you for telling me no.”

    True Story.

  13. Here, Here!!!!!!! (cheering from upon my soap box)
    Thanks so much, Sophie, for being brave enough to take this on. Not many women could do it, but I stand with you, come what may.
    And a lot may come.

  14. I 100% agree with you! In fact, I almost didn’t buy my 8 month old son a sleeveless shirt because it just seems so wrong! (And since we’re being honest here, white trash!) I gave in a bought a couple because its Texas and 105 degree summers need it, but thankfully his sweet arm rolls make it pretty darn cute! (Once the arm rolls are gone, it’s time for sleeves!)

  15. I think unless you are Tim McGraw you can’t wear one ! hah

  16. no thoughts on this matter except to say that last one frightened me.


    A lot.

  17. Kristi says:

    I’ve always called tank tops for men “wife beaters”. I’m not sure where that originated other than you see the men arrested for beating their wives wearing them. Tank tops and speedos are two things men should not wear.

  18. Lauren says:

    First of all, I am so excited that Peach got a mention on your blog!!!! We love your blog, and have shared many a laugh over things you’ve posted,
    Secondly, thank you!!! Tank tops on grown men. Not pretty!! My youngest sons don’t even like them, and I am ever so grateful.
    Amen and Amen to this whole post!!!
    Btw, can’t wait for your book!!! :)

  19. Say no to manks!! They are awful!

  20. NAY! Can we also ditch the capri, er “cropped” pants?

  21. First of all I will have you know that I leaned in close for this one. I was prepared for you to get all serious and then I cracked slap up. Oh it’s a real issue alright. You have a point. And come to think of it, maybe Ken’s lack of swagger has affected my little Sophie’s love of her world of Barbies. Because all I know is that we are selling the entire lot of it much to my Barbie lovin dismay. I haven’t for the life of me understood it. Except for the fact that she’s just not like her mama and Barbies are not her thing. But I think I will blame Ken and his lack of style.

  22. Hilarious…and the truth here!

  23. Nay a thousand times over, and can I just say two words to all those men headed to the beach or public pool this summer as well . . . Rash guard! If I have the common courtesy to choose modest and ample coverage in my swimwear, the least you can do is offer the same courtesy in covering up all kinds of manly atrocities better left unseen. Thank you!

  24. Nay…unless you are Shemar Moore and even then only in the gym!!!

  25. Michelle Marchessault says:

    I only have one thought about the whole thing. If there was ever anything that was about 37 kinds of wrong-this is it!

  26. I have instilled a rule with my two teen boys that even when they are at home, don’t you dare come to the table with armpit hair showing or you won’t be eating!

  27. I do not want to see your deodorant caked armpit hair anywhere. Blech. And also, when did it become socially acceptable for men to wear pajamas in public? I’m not talking the more generic sweatpants, or even MAYBE plaid or something. I’ve seen grown men in Spongebob fleece and not just at Walmart.

  28. I cannot stand men in tank tops. It is one of the reasons that basketball is painful for me to watch. Of course, the squeaky, nails on the chalkboard sound of the shoes does not help either. Men need to keep their pit hair to themselves!!!

  29. KimberlyOKC says:

    no, no, No, NO! Ugh, my daughter’s boyfriend shows up sometimes in one of these and I caaaringe!! It’s a good time for me to humble myself (bc yes, I’m that shallow) and love this kid no matter what. So thanks, Payton, for the bit of sanctification I receive when you wear these horrific fashion faux pas!!

  30. I’m with you. So dude bro-ish, even on teenage boys. I appreciate defined arms, but short sleeves give enough of a view.

  31. Lauren Kelly says:


    NOW, let’s be real here, Sophie…. I know your husband has one in EVERY color!!! ;) bwahaha! But yeah, that last one your pictured is a gem! :)

  32. I reckon I will have to be the lone dissenter here. The examples above really are hideous and overall I don’t like the tops that look like women’s tanks, but I am a huge fan of…gun shows.

    Now, I have lived most of my adult life in SoCal, in beach cities, so maybe I am just more used to seeing lots of skin and armpit hair.

    And I surely wouldn’t care to see these at church or work or any formal occasion.

    But if I were at the ballgame surrounded by men with gorgeous arms attired thusly, you would NOT hear me complaining. At all.

  33. Becky in 'Bama says:

    I quickly buzzed through the responses, but I don’t recall even one that mentioned the affliction of men over 45… back hair. Definitely something that needs to be kept under wraps. I’m to the point I’m a little off-put when my husband is in the pool with his shoulder and back growth in plain site for everyone to view! UGH

  34. I might of just snorted while laughing!


  35. Lisa Roussel says:

    I’m definitely voting nay on the tank tops for guys. Also this weekend I encountered a guy wearing a male version of “daisy dukes”. Yuck! I can’t believe this fella’s posse didn’t speak to him before venturing into public at his side.

  36. They are wrong on so many levels. Yes, it is hot in Texas but no excuse. Many years ago when I was newly married my new husband and I had this same discussion. I said tank tops on men were were a big giant ‘no’. He looked really puzzled and then quizzedly said you mean a ‘wife beater’ ? “I would never wear one of those shirts-I wouldn’t want people to think I hurt you”. I laugh to myself every time I see a man wearing one. Tank tops and Speedos on men are wrong, wrong, wrong. We had a neighbor that mowed his yard in both. True story. Only in Texas! Have a good day y’all.

  37. No. Just no. I don’t even like them on little boys. I got tons of hand-me-downs for our 4 month old baby boy, and all tank tops went straight into the donation pile. And that’s without the oogie underarm issue.
    I watched a cute proposal video a friend posted last year of a flash mob her friends did in Michigan and almost all the guys were in tank tops. I asked her “Is this a thing?” and she said it must be as she had never thought about it but she guessed most guys did wear them now that she thought about it.
    I live in Berkeley, across the bay from Sam Francisco. Men don’t wear them here unless they fall into a very specific category which is super fit gay man. Seriously. No other men are sporting them.

  38. We thank you for speaking the truth in love! Because I will agree, ewww!!!

    This made me laugh out loud! My husband is going to get a kick out of it too. He is in full agreement with the eww opinion!

  39. Tame that man jungle! Nasty!
    Remember the Hammer pants? Around here you still guys in them. Ummm, yeah. Those should also be illegal.

  40. And I thought it was just in my small, rural town! There’s a pizza joint here that the men tend to not think about that people are actually eating and don’t want to see the pit stuff OR the man boobies hanging out. Ewwww!!!! Turns my stomach!

  41. No way! I do not need to see any pit action going on. LIke a wilderbeast sometimes.

  42. NAY. NAY. NAY and NAY to the skinny jeans on the man – step away from the skinny jeans.

  43. Disagree with your judgemental opinion

  44. Tank tops AND muscle shirts=gross.

  45. Thank you for taking on this issue for women everywhere. I have a request for your next open letter – long square fake french manicured nails, unless your name is Carmela Soprano. Thank you.


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