The end of the "metrosexual" (better late than never)
re: Hold the quiche: Manly men are back (Washington Times article, 4/7/05)
Did you ever run across a fad, especially in fashion, which made you wonder whether you were an idiot or whether everyone else was?
Some examples from the past couple decades which occur to me are: hawaiian flower shirts (men), white sports shoes with business skirts (women), neckties flung over the shoulder (yuppies), the "mullet" haircut (rednecks), "Baby on Board" signs in car windows (mostly women, I hope), and I'm sure you can think of many others.
Few things, however, (other than the mullet) have been harder for me to understand than the rise of the "metrosexual".
At www.wordspy.com, metrosexual is defined as "An urban male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle". Also, "A metrosexual is a clotheshorse wrapped around a dandy fused with a narcissist....The metro- (city) prefix indicates this man's purely urban lifestyle, while the -sexual suffix comes from "homosexual," meaning that this man, although he is usually straight, embodies the heightened aesthetic sense often associated with certain types of gay men."
Metrosexuals, to me, are men without masculinity, and it was amazing to me that any real percentage of the female population would have any interest in such a thing.
Now we learn maybe they didn't...and at least they don't now.
I suppose the self-centeredness of such men was actually enough to keep the fad going. Anyone willing to spend $30 on salon hair gel is probably willing to spend $6 repeatedly on glossy magazines with pictures of their type, reinforcing their idea that they must be interesting and glamorous.
It looks like those magazine covers are a-changin'. The new Harris Interactive poll shows that women like guys rough rather than smooth, strong rather than fashionable, and buying electronic toys rather than expensive clothes.
Maybe as we say in the trading world "it's my position talking" since I'm genetically incapable of glamour or of spending a lot of money on hair products, and I love electronic toys, but I must say I would be surprised if the reality of "what women want" was ever different, at least outside of Miami Beach and major urban centers in California.
I guess this was a short and pathetic parallel to the worst days of feminism when Gloria Steinem and her followers acted as if gender equality meant gender interchangeability.
It wasn't true then, it isn't true now, and although I'm sure we'll see similar fads in the future it will never be true. Men are men (except for Michael Jackson), women are women (except for Rene Richards), and we should all be thankful (except for Larry Summers.)
Now pass me a piece of quiche lorraine.
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