IT was less of the first, more of the second, and none of the third.
That roughly described my situation a few weeks ago, moments after I finished my Sunday run at the Philippines’ most popular academic oval.
This was because both my nipples had bled, a condition I would later discover as—thanks to Wikipedia (and yes, I’ll make that donation soon, Jim)—nipple rupture. [See: Nipple rupture]
I couldn’t believe it.
Once again, I had incurred a slightly embarrassing medical condition, next to impetigo (which I got from a dirty payphone abroad), a minor case of athlete’s foot (which I got from my shoes locally), and whatever it was that caused a blemish on my left cheek (which I got from slipping on a bathroom floor).
Nipple rupture is also known by a more amusing—and thereby less threatening—name: runner’s nipple.
The condition results from the friction arising from the continued rubbing between the fabric of a loose shirt and the nipple. It sometimes becomes so hot you could feel that you could light a cigarette off it.
This happened to me the first time I experienced it about a decade or so ago.
But since it just felt sore and didn’t bleed, I ignored it.
And just like many other ailments, it ignored me.
One decade, two continents, and cases of beer later, nipple rupture came back to haunt me like a bad dream, an unpaid bar tab, or a poorly-written blog entry.
Naturally, I immediately consulted the experts (i.e., friends who are neither medical nor academic doctors although one was a self-confessed logical positivist). [See: Logical Positivism]
Despite being drunk when they dispensed their advice, they were familiar with the travails of the supposedly physically-fit Filipino male. Of the three, two were regular mountain bikers (one was also a runner) and the last was a mountaineer lucky enough to avoid snake bites on his crown jewels whenever he took a crap in the wild using a hole no bigger than a shoe.
In separate conversations, all three were unanimous—they said I ought to have my nipples checked.
All of them considered my condition serious with one even raising the possibility that I might have male breast cancer. [See: Breast cancer]
Another also told me to buy professional running gear.
Since I was already a regular jogger, he emphasized that I needed top-quality equipment so as to avoid injuring myself or unduly wearing my body out by using cheap and substandard gear.
Later, I decided to set aside all their pieces of advice but it wasn’t because I had drunk far more beer than they have.
I was hesitant about medical consultation and buying higher-quality equipment because these can only cut into funds best used for beer, especially in the company of friends, including but not limited to philosophers.
Also, I actually felt fine after my nipples bled (although I did consider replacing my shoes, if only to avert another fungal breakout).
One week or so later, I was able to run for 17.6 kilometers straight, a personal record.
During that time, my precious man-boobs were alright.
I only hope they continue to stay cool and dry as I prepare to beat my record again in a few months.