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Why do men have nipples?

RELEASED January 10, 2013
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Episode Summary
They’re always right there, taunting you: why do you have me, they ask? Why do men have nipples? It turns out there’s a good answer why and nipples on men aren’t entirely useless after all. Join Chuck and Josh for this heady investigation.

Announcer:                 Welcome to Stuff You Should Know, from HowStuffWorks.com.

 

Josh Clark:                  Hey, and welcome to the podcast.  I’m Josh Clark.  There’s Charles W. “Chuck” Bryant and we’re doing this.  We’re doing it.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Whether you like it or not.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, we’re recording our podcast, Stuff You Should Know.  You probably know because you tuned in.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yes.

 

Josh Clark:                  So, welcome –

 

Chuck Bryant:             – And if it was an accident, hey, welcome to the party.

 

Josh Clark:                  Talk about serendipity.

 

Chuck Bryant:             You’re about to learn about male nipples.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, you are.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Talk about a party.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.  You got them.  I got them.

 

Chuck Bryant:             We all do.

 

Josh Clark:                  Do you wanna talk about chromosomes for a second?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Sure.

 

Josh Clark:                  Okay, Chuck.  You and I each have 23 chromosomes in our body.  We talked a little bit in Designer Children, I think, about –

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  – a little genetics over here; we’re not gonna go into that now, but the 23 chromosomes, if you put a man and a woman side-by-side, or their chromosomes side-by-side –

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  – 22 of the 23 chromosomes are gonna be exactly alike.  It’s that 23rd that gets you.  The 23rd chromosome either has a pair of Xs or an X and a Y.  A pair of Xs equals a woman.  XY equals a man, okay?

 

Chuck Bryant:             We’re not that far apart.

 

Josh Clark:                  We’re really not, and that becomes very, very clear when we’re in utero because sexual dimorphism, which is the inward and outward differences between genders – between male and female –

 

Chuck Bryant:             Uh-huh?

 

Josh Clark:                  Like hoo-hoos, and ha-has, and that kinda stuff.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Pee-pees and cuckoos.

 

Josh Clark:                  Sure.  Those are all hammered out in the course of our development on the 23rd chromosome, right?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  A lot of it, you come out with, right?  You were born with a vagina or a penis.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, or both.

 

Josh Clark:                  Right, but a lot of it is also set up to be kicked in when puberty happens.

 

Chuck Bryant:             That’s right.

 

Josh Clark:                  But still, there’s differences.  There’s changes and it’s all because of this 23rd chromosome.

 

Some of the things, though, can go either way.  And, depending on what happens when puberty comes along, either nothing is going to happen to these – to this equipment, I guess you could call it.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  Or a lot of crazy things happen to it and one of those – the good examples of this – are nipples.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  There’s a really great question.  Why do men have nipples, Chuck?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, I have a funny little story about this.  My sister and I were hanging out probably about 15 years ago and I was – they had a male dog, and I was rubbing the belly, and the dog had very like just pronounced nipples – more so than you would usually see on a male dog.

 

Josh Clark:                  Okay.

 

Chuck Bryant:             And I guess I never noticed before and I was just like – I was kinda grossed out.  I was like, “God, why does your dog have nipples?”  And she’s like, “You have nipples.”  And then, it just like – it was an awakening.

 

Josh Clark:                  It blew your mind.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Blew my mind.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             It’s like, “Wow, you’re right I do.  Why?”  And I never really researched things like this back then, and now I know why.

 

Josh Clark:                  Now, we know why.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  And we should say, this is the generally-accepted explanation; it’s not necessarily scientific fact, but it is – this is pretty much why.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, most mammals, in fact – most male mammals – have nipples.  I think mice, stallions, and –

 

Josh Clark:                  – Platypi.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, the male platypus is among the handful of animals that – of mammals that – where the boys are born nipple-free.

 

Josh Clark:                  Which is weird because, as Conger points out – Cristen Conger from Stuff Mom Never Told You

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  She wrote this article and she points out that you can make the case that mice are more evolved, in that respect, than human males.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, ours could be a flaw.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.  We’ll get to that, but let’s talk about this.

 

So, back in 1999, right before Y2K – it’s Y2K Fever – Yale University researchers released a study that say, “Hey, we’ve gotten to the bottom of this mystery of why or how male mice don’t grow nipples.”  They’re just complete – seriously.  Go out in your yard right now.  Trap a mouse.  Pick it up by its tail and examine its –

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Little belly.

 

Josh Clark:                  – no nipples.  Nothing.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Or, if it’s got nipples, that means it’s a little lady.

 

Josh Clark:                  Exactly, that’s the way you tell.

 

Chuck Bryant:             That’s right.

 

Josh Clark:                  – One of the ways you tell with mice.

 

Chuck Bryant:             And it’s because of a protein.

 

Josh Clark:                  Um-hum.

 

Chuck Bryant:             PTHrP.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             It’s always so exciting when they give them names like this.

 

After mice are – after their mammary tissue starts to form, it produces this protein and, in male mice, it signals the cells to form male hormone receptors and it basically destroys the tissue like in utero, correct?

 

Josh Clark:                  Yes, because boy mice and male – and female mice are all – they all develop mammary tissue, which gives you all the equipment for nipples, and breasts, and milk ducts, and all that stuff.

 

Chuck Bryant:             They just destroy theirs before they’re born.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, that protein signals it – for it to be destroyed in male mice.

 

Prepare for the mind-blower now.  Boys and girls, as humans, undergo a very similar process in utero as well.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yep.

 

Josh Clark:                  Before that sexual dimorphism that’s really carried out by the 23rd chromosome begins, we both – both genders – start to develop mammary tissue and develop all the equipment.  It’s called milk lines.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, Conger –

 

Josh Clark:                  – They’re kinda like –

 

Chuck Bryant:             Conger calls it the plumbing.  We have the same plumbing.

 

Josh Clark:                  Right, exactly.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Which is kinda funny and true.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, we develop this plumbing before it’s decided or before we start to develop sexual traits.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Right.

 

Josh Clark:                  So, it’s almost like, if you look at timeline of sexual development, the nipples come first.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  So that they’re not associated as far as the – I guess – nature is concerned with male or female in humans.

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Right, nope.  It’s the same thing.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, so, we don’t have a protein that takes care of this – the nipples in males.  So, men are – and boys and girls are born with pretty much exactly the same set-up until puberty.

 

Chuck Bryant:             That’s right, and that’s when the hormones kick in; estrogen in girls is going to cause breast growth and mammary gland development.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             And that’s when things diverge.

 

Josh Clark:                  You know what really stood out to me on this?  That means that our – nature’s default setting, as far as humans are concerned, is female.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  I think that’s pretty neat.

 

Chuck Bryant:             That is pretty neat.  Well, you know, women are the seed of everything.

 

Josh Clark:                  Sure.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Seed of life.

 

Josh Clark:                  That’s right.

 

Chuck Bryant:             So –

 

Josh Clark:                  – That’s what everybody calls them.

 

Chuck Bryant:             The seed of life?

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             So, the simple answer then is the reason we have nipples is because we’ve always had nipples, and through the years, evolution never said, “You know what?  You don’t need nipples.”

 

Josh Clark:                  No, and the – I think the case has been made that the reason men still have nipples is because nipples are so vital to female reproductive success that there’s no – Conger points out, there’s no – adaptive pressure to select nipples out of men.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, it’s such a vital function.

 

Josh Clark:                  Right.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  So, it’s like, “Ah, we don’t wanna possibly mess with anything.”

 

Chuck Bryant:             Right.

 

Josh Clark:                  “So, everybody gets nipples, okay?  Just live with it.”

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Yeah, yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, but that’s why men have nipples – because default setting for humans is girls.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, and that’s interesting.  And I love my little my nipples.  I’ll just come out and say it.

 

Josh Clark:                  You do.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Well, I think it would be odd to not have them.

 

Josh Clark:                  I don’t think so.

 

Chuck Bryant:             It’d look so weird.

 

Josh Clark:                  – It’d be – it’d take a little getting used to, but I think it would not look odd.

 

Chuck Bryant:             You know, we did our Barbie podcast.  Has that come out already?

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             And there are people on the Web that will teach you how to make nipples for your Barbie dolls.

 

Josh Clark:                  I saw that.

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Or your Ken dolls.

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  Like very realistic-looking ones.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Very realistic, but yeah, you’d look like a Ken doll.  It would just be weird.

 

Josh Clark:                  I don’t think Ken looks abnormal without nipples.

 

Chuck Bryant:             That’s because it’s a doll and he also doesn’t look abnormal without a penis.

 

Josh Clark:                  – Yeah, that’s true.

 

Chuck Bryant:             You know?

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             I think you would be a little distressed if you woke up one day without nipples.  Or maybe you’d love it.  Maybe it’s a new lease on life for you.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, I’d be like –

 

Chuck Bryant:             – You’d just go bare-chested everywhere.

 

Josh Clark:                  “This is great!  I’m a freak!”

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.  So, we said, Chuck, something that’s kinda interesting, if you ask me.  If you take a six-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl – a prepubescent boy and prepubescent girl –

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  – and you compared their mammary glands, the whole mammary operation they’ve got going on, they’re virtually the same.  And it’s not until estrogen comes along that the differences really change.  The fat develops so the breasts get bigger.  These milk ducts develop.  You’ve got all this process that just kinda takes these things that are almost latent and turns them into functioning breasts, right?

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  If – we found – if you expose a man to estrogen, he could, conceivably, lactate himself.  That’s Part 2 of this.  We didn’t even put that in the title because we didn’t want to blow your minds right out of the gate.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  But the point is, is men have nipples because girls have nipples, and men can lactate because women can lactate.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, and in fact, as little babies, you and I might have lactated.  Who knows?  When – the hormone, prolactin, is what facilitates breast milk production in new moms.  When – they can actually pass this along, in utero, to their fetus and that little baby can come out – if they get enough of that passed along –

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah?

 

Chuck Bryant:             – with the ability to lactate, both little boys and little girls, and it’s called witch’s milk.  It only lasts a couple of weeks, usually.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, I’ll bet it’s a distressing couple of weeks if you’re the parent.  Like, “What is going on?”

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Do you think?  Well, I’m sure it’s explained.  There’s all sorts of weird things that can happen right away that you’re like, “What?!”

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             And I think, usually, doctors are like, “Don’t worry.  That – little fontanelles.  The brain will grow together.”  Or not the brain, the skull will grow together at some point.  Don’t worry about the soft spot.

 

Josh Clark:                  – Yeah, just don’t pat it on the head that hard.

 

Chuck Bryant:             So, that – yeah, witch’s milk, it occurs.  And I don't know how rare it is; she didn’t say, but I got the impression –

 

Josh Clark:                  – It’s rare-ish.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Is it?

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, even rarer is spontaneous lactation in adult men.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yes.

 

Josh Clark:                  And that’s called galactorrhea, which does not sound very pleasant.

 

Chuck Bryant:             No, it doesn’t.

 

Josh Clark:                  But, essentially, if you lack enough testosterone that your estrogen levels are comparatively high, you can suffer galactorrhea, which basically is male lactation – spontaneous male lactation.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, but Conger points out, it could be, you know, the cause of alarm though if you’re an older man, correct?  Is that just because of the testosterone deficiency?

 

Josh Clark:                  Right.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Okay.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             But Darwin thinks, “Hey, maybe early man breastfed –” like full-on breastfed.

 

Josh Clark:                  Um-hum.

 

Chuck Bryant:             And who knows?  Maybe they did.

 

Josh Clark:                  Who’s to say?  Are we to say?  No.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Charles Darwin.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, so, you’ve got – galactorrhea is a possibility; witch’s milk is a possibility – two ways that human males can spontaneously lactate.

 

And we’re not the only ones who do.  There is a type of bat that was discovered to lactate spontaneously and a surprising amount of animals, over the course of the last century or two –

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Oh, yeah?

 

Josh Clark:                  – have been exposed to all sorts of different tests to make them spontaneously lactate.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Hmm.

 

Josh Clark:                  Steer was made to lactate.  Do you know how surprised that steer must have been?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  But we’ve found that if you can increase estrogen levels, and trigger the release of prolactin, you can make men produce milk.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Right.

 

Josh Clark:                  And it happens sometimes.  So, the prolactin is produced by the thyroid gland, right?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  – Or pituitary?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, and women, when they have a little baby, they – it really ramps up, like ten times as much.

 

Josh Clark:                  Exactly.  So, what they found is that after a baby is born, dads suffer – I guess “suffer” is not the right word.  Dads experience an increase in prolactin production, too.  Normally, it’s not enough to cause lactation, but they suspect you can make it happen if you are – okay, so this is really strange.  If you hold a baby to your breast – your nipple – and you’re a man, and you’re the father, so you’re already kinda like prolactin-high –

 

Chuck Bryant:             Sure.

 

Josh Clark:                  – you could, conceivably, trigger the production of milk if you did that repeatedly over the course of, like, a couple weeks.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, it’s a physiological response and biological, I guess, sorta all wrapped up into one, and you can have like sympathy lactation almost.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, and it’s happened.  2002, in Sri Lanka, right?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, I didn’t actually get to look this guy up, so I don't know a whole lot about him, other than the fact that he breastfed his daughters after his wife died.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, his wife died during childbirth and he took over.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Wow, that’s amazing.

 

Josh Clark:                  It is.  But another way to lactate is if you’re starving, Chuck.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Oh, really?

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, there was this one POW camp, Japanese POW camp, and in just one, there was 500 cases of men lactating spontaneously.

 

Chuck Bryant:             For each other?  To live on or –?

 

Josh Clark:                  – No, you would think.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Oh.

 

Josh Clark:                  Actually, what happened is – so, your pituitary gland produces prolactin and your liver is typically charged with eating up excess hormones, right?  When you’re starving, both of them kinda slow down, but when you start to eat normally again, your pituitary gland starts functioning quicker than your liver.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Oh.

 

Josh Clark:                  So, you have higher levels of hormones, including prolactin; hence, you have starving men who lactate.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Wow.  That’s a reality show – some sorta island.  Lactation Island.  I don't know.

 

And there’s a tribe, the Aka, a pygmy tribe in Africa.  There’s about 20,000 of them, and this dude – it was documented that they – men breastfeed their children, and this dude – went and lived with them.  And not only that, it’s amazing.  They’re known as the best fathers in the world because they spend 47 percent of their time – 47 percent of the time, their babies are within arm’s reach of the father.

 

Josh Clark:                  Oh, that’s neat.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Which is, far and away, more than any other culture in the history of the world.

 

Josh Clark:                  Right.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Forty-seven percent.  And the gender roles in this Aka tribe are completely interchangeable.  Like, sometimes, the men go out and hunt and the women take care of things; sometimes, the women go out and hunt and the men wash the clay pots and take care of the children.

 

Josh Clark:                  Huh.

 

Chuck Bryant:             And it’s just – they don’t know gender roles like that.

 

Josh Clark:                  Wow.

 

Chuck Bryant:             It’s just completely interchangeable.  It’s pretty cool.

 

Josh Clark:                  That is very cool.

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  And that’s a – that was a question that kinda Darwin raised.  Like, “Well, wait a minute.  Maybe we used to breastfeed.  Men used to breastfeed and that’s why we have this,” which would make it vestigial, right?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Right.

 

Josh Clark:                  Like wisdom teeth or appendix – it’s something that we used to use that we don’t any more, so it’s superfluous.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Sure.

 

Josh Clark:                  Or it’s possible that we can, in a pinch, which would not make it vestigial because we could still, conceivably use it like the dad in Sri Lanka or the Aka.

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Right.

 

Josh Clark:                  The – I guess the big question that it underlines is, “Why?”  If men can do it, why aren’t we?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  Why wouldn’t you do that?  Especially if we live in generally monogamous cultures?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Well, I think, probably because of evolution – because women did it for tens of thousands of years only.

 

Josh Clark:                  Right.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Like if we had kept doing it, if early man did do that, and they just kept doing that, then today, you and I might – it might be like, “Hey, I’ll pump and dump today, honey.”

 

Josh Clark:                  Exactly.

 

Chuck Bryant:             “Don’t worry about it.”

 

Josh Clark:                  So, let me ask you this.  If we stopped – if we used to do it – even if we didn’t used to do it –

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Right.

 

Josh Clark:                  – but the very fact that we’re equipped to do it, like under the right conditions, under the right chemical balance, you and I could lactate right now.

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  Right?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Let’s have a party.

 

Josh Clark:                  As our culture has become more and more monogamous, and it’s – we get further and further away from males going around and spreading their DNA with as many mates as possible, and instead, pair up, then it’s entirely possible that, 10,000 years from now, men and women will both breastfeed.  We’ve got the equipment; it’s possible that it’ll just get easier and easier for us to do it, and then, we will breastfeed as well.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Interesting.

 

Josh Clark:                  It is.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Well, it’s, apparently, quite a bonding experience between mother and child, and so, I’d do it.  Jeri just laughed.  I was not breastfed, however.

 

Josh Clark:                  Oh, you weren’t.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Nah, man, I was the Child No. 3 and –

 

Josh Clark:                  Your mom was over it?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, she’s just like, “No more.”  So, I’ve never looked into the ramifications of that – psychologically, if that matters.

 

Josh Clark:                  It seems like you turned out okay.

 

Chuck Bryant:             No comment.

 

So, before we sign off, I guess we should raise the point that because we do have a lot of the same anatomy underneath, men can get breast cancer.

 

Josh Clark:                  Right.

 

Chuck Bryant:             It’s not rare, but it’s not super common.  I think, in 2012, about 2,200 American men were diagnosed with breast cancer.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             And so, it happens.  You never hear about it.  There’s nothing to be ashamed of, guys.

 

Josh Clark:                  That’s a high-enough rate to say – for some to say – like, “Well, then, that means that nipples should be selected out in men and probably will –”

Chuck Bryant:             – Right.

 

Josh Clark:                  “– eventually.”

 

Chuck Bryant:             Well, therein lies what we mentioned earlier – is the fact that it could be just a flaw.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             An adaptive flaw over the years.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, what about third nipples?  Additional nipples?  Did you know that they happen most frequently in males and on the left side?

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Yeah, that’s interesting.

 

Josh Clark:                  One in 40 newborns has an extra nipples.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, a lot of – I mean, have you ever seen these?

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, they don’t usually look like a full-on nipple.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah, sometimes, they’ll look like a birthmark or something like that.

 

Josh Clark:                  It has a tooth growing in it.

 

Chuck Bryant:             But yeah, Chandler had the third nipple on Friends, right?

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, right.  It’s the superfluous – so did Krusty the Clown.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Oh, really?

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             I don’t think I knew that.

 

Yeah, one in 40.  That’s way more common than I think.  That means that I know a few dudes that have a third nipple; they probably just hadn’t told me.

 

Josh Clark:                  I don’t think I know 40 people.

 

Chuck Bryant:             You’re so weird.

 

Josh Clark:                  You got anything else?

 

Chuck Bryant:             Nope.

 

Josh Clark:                  Okay, well, if you wanna learn more about male nipples, male lactation, evolution, vestigial stuff, you can type in, “Why do men have nipples?” in the search bar at HowStuffWorks.com, and it’ll bring up this article, and I said search bar, which means it’s time for listener mail.

 

Whoa, whoa, whoa.  I guess I need to stop myself.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Stop.

 

Josh Clark:                  We have a television show coming out where I play Josh, you play Chuck, and the television show is called Stuff You Should Know.

 

Chuck Bryant:             That’s right.

 

Josh Clark:                  And it’s coming out on The Science Channel, January 19th, Saturday, at 10:00 and 10:30 p.m.  Two episodes for the big debut.

 

Chuck Bryant:             That’s right and we are debuting after the Season 3 premiere of Idiot Abroad with Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yes.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Which we’re excited about.  That’s a great lead-in for us.  And, if you don’t have cable and you don’t Science Channel –

 

Josh Clark:                  – Or even if you do, and you’re like, “I love that and I wanna see it 800 times –”

 

Chuck Bryant:             You can get it on iTunes, we’re told, now.  They are making these shows available on iTunes for purchase the day after the episode airs and Episode 1 is free, dudes and dudettes.

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah, so every Saturday, when we have a new episode, the following day on iTunes, you’ll be able to buy it.

 

Chuck Bryant:             That’s right.

 

Josh Clark:                  So, January 19th is the big premiere.  I’m already wearing a dickey, and a bowtie, and little cuffs right now.  How do I look?

 

Chuck Bryant:             You look great.

 

Josh Clark:                  I’m getting ready, slowly but surely.

 

Chuck Bryant:             That’s right.

 

Josh Clark:                  That’s 10:00 p.m. on Science Channel, Stuff You Should Know, the television show.  It’s going to be great.

 

Chuck Bryant:             January 19th.

 

Josh Clark:                  That’s right.

 

Chuck Bryant:             All right.  Now listener mail?

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             I’m gonna call this Mustache Woman.  Remember, during one of the November plugs I think, we said something about ladies: of course, you don’t have the moustache, but blah, blah, blah?  It can happen and this is probably a pretty good podcast to mention this.

 

Josh Clark:                  Okay.

 

Chuck Bryant:             This is from Kayla.

 

“Hi, guys.  I was listening to what will happen when we reach the singularity and Chuck said men – I guess women – if you can grow a moustache, more power to you.  I immediately stopped the podcast so I could e-mail.

 

I suffer from a condition known as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, PCOS, which is a leading cause of infertility and affects about 12 percent of women.  Many women don’t know what it is or that they have it, but symptoms include infrequent or no menstruation cycles, acne, weight gain, diabetes and insulin-resistance, and hirsutism.”

 

Josh Clark:                  – Hirsu –

 

Chuck Bryant:             – Hirsutism.

Josh Clark:                  Like, “Her suit.”

 

Chuck Bryant:             Yeah.

 

Josh Clark:                  Her-suit-ism, yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             “Which is excess hair.”

 

Josh Clark:                  Yeah.

 

Chuck Bryant:             “It can lead to women growing hair where no woman should: on the face, excessive arm hair, legs, and even hair on the nipples.  Luckily, I am not affected by this particular symptom, but some women report having to shave several times a day, including sneaking razors into work to shave their faces.”

 

Josh Clark:                  Aw.

 

Chuck Bryant:             “Needless to say, this is a devastating reality and can have huge impacts on a woman’s confidence and emotional well-being.  One lady with PCOS is participating in Mowvember to raise money for men’s health –”

 

Josh Clark:                  – That’s awesome.

 

Chuck Bryant:             “– and to promote PCOS awareness.”

 

Josh Clark:                  That is really awesome.

 

Chuck Bryant:             Very cool.  “So, I’d love it if you could read this on the air and raise some awareness around this condition.  You can find more information through the Polycystic Association of Australia via Twitter at POSAA.  I’m Australian.  Please, don’t do an impersonation.”

 

Josh Clark:                  Are you going to?

 

Chuck Bryant:             No.  That’s terrible.  “I would really appreciate the plug.  Big fan of you guys.  This is Kayla.”

 

Josh Clark:                  Awesome, Kayla.  Thank you very much for writing in and thank you to the woman who grew a moustache for Mowvember.

 

Chuck Bryant:             That’s pretty awesome.

Josh Clark:                  Hats off to you.

 

If you want to let us know about something that we obviously don’t know about because we made some weird reference to it, you can tell us all about it on Twitter at SYSKPodcast.  You can join us on Facebook.com/StuffYouShouldKnow.  You can send us a good, old-fashioned e-mail to StuffPodcast@Disovery.com.

 

Announcer:                 For more on this and thousands of other topics, visit HowStuffWorks.com.

 

[End of Audio]

 

Duration: 24 minutes

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