Metrosexuality, The Modern Masculinity

“The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis – because that’s where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are. He might be officially gay, straight or bisexual, but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference. Particular professions, such as modeling, waiting tables, media, pop music and, nowadays, sport, seem to attract them but, truth be told, like male vanity products and herpes, they’re pretty much everywhere.

For some time now, old-fashioned re-productive, repressed, unmoisturized heterosexuality has been given the pink slip by consumer capitalism. The stoic, self-denying, modest straight male didn’t shop enough (his role was to earn money for his wife to spend), and so he had to be replaced by a new kind of man, one less certain of his identity and much more interested in his image – that’s to say, one who was much more interested in being looked at (because that’s the only way you can be certain you actually exist). A man, in other words, who is an advertiser’s walking wet dream.”

Simpson, Mark. (July 22, 2002). Meet the metrosexual. Salon.

Metrosexuality; I know this is a little off topic for me these days, given I have been barely posting and when I do, is about music (mainly classical) and art. The truth is I have been posting about my main interests only –an easier way to post. School and finals has kept me very busy this month with little time to give a hovering idea a conclusion. My blog is -although in part about my interests- also about anything that tickles my fancy; things that are brought to my attention, like I said, a hovering idea; something I think about for a while and then reach to a conclusion. I have mentioned before what I call this, “the time spent thinking” Yep, with math finished, its time to reach to a conclusion.

The whole idea for this post was born from one of those intense arguments I tend to have at work with fellow co-workers, in which no party ever wins, but instead indulges into a never-ending debate that turns to be the highlight of the day. The homophobic wing (those against metrosexuality) was arguing that metrosexual men are gay, and the ME wing (that is only me) was disagreeing with such allegations. Why? Well, mainly, because if that were to be the case, then more than half of Puerto Rico, South Korea and Japan is populated with gay man; and Clooney, Pitt, Beckham, and even Clinton (all which have been given the particular label) should also be considered gay –not that I don’t see the possibilities in the four latter.

The term metrosexual has many claims of origins, but I will stick with Mark Simpson, whom is said to have originated the term in an article published in The Independent, in November of 1994. Here is a quote from the article Simpson wrote;

“Metrosexual man, the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that’s where all the best shops are), is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade. In the Eighties, he was only to be found inside fashion magazines such as GQ, in television advertisements for Levi’s jeans or in gay bars. In the Nineties, he’s everywhere and he’s going shopping.”

He is also author of the quote at the beginning of this post. From what I understand, Simpson believes metrosexual men are in need of an approval of their existence, a more narcissist and egotistic kind of man, one who is uncertain of who he is therefore needs others to feed his ego so that he can get a sense of being. There is a lot of truth in his words. Vanity is the root of it all. I will explain why, in parts- how I like to do it;

I went in search of the meaning of this “new term” and found many interesting things that are just too funny to pass. For example, I found out Leonardo Dicaprio is metrosexual (people just don’t know their limits). A person said a metrosexual is gay in every sense except in sexual orientation (really? I think they need to look up the meaning of the word gay before assuming they know the meaning of the word metrosexual) Someone else said –with much passion- the term metrosexual should be reinvented and the sexual part taken off, since it has nothing to do with sexuality (again, this person is in serious need of a dictionary). Last, a man who spends more time in the bathroom (hmm… I always thought men spend more time in the bathroom since they have to shave regularly. My boyfriend definitely does!) These are all very funny, but also very foolish conclusions.

The meaning of the term Metrosexual is very simple and clear; It comes from Metropolis and Heterosexual, thus metro-sexual, and it means a metropolitan man whose attributes are similar to those of a homosexual man. For example; they like to shop for the latest trend in fashion; they like to get manicure and pedicure; they like to shave not only facial hair but any other hairy spot in their bodies… etc. This being said, Leonardo Dicaprio does not necessarily fall under the metrosexual category, nor does Pitt or Cruise, despite what others may think. I think that, when it comes to a celebrity it would be somewhat confusing, since they have the need to look good (even when they don’t at times) and this relates to their profession and social status (somewhat), not their life style. They can be a total different person, and dress very different off cameras.

Leonardo off cameras, and of course he has to look clean cut in camera.

Brad Pitt does not look so metrosexual now does he?

Okay, so here he does. Is he posing for a picture? Hmmm… my point exactly.

Most men spend more time in the bathroom than women. Like I said, my boyfriend definitely does, and he is not metrosexual. One sign is, his hairy chest and incapability to wear fashionable clothes. But, never mind my boyfriend, the point is, not because they spend more time in the bathroom it means they are metrosexual.

Metrosexuality is just a new term for what it already existed in previous centuries. The Baroque, as an example, was a time in where men of the high society attended social gatherings wearing wigs and make-up, not to mention that men fashion was full of lace, bows, buckles, tights, and the much feared today man-heel. Were all of the men in high society back then homosexual? Maybe, I don’t know the answer to that one, but I do know they were highly promiscuous. As a result, they were rejected by the less sophisticated man, the commoner, the poor. And this is where the problem lies today; why is the term being rejected by the more common, next-door kind of men? Why are they labeling these metrosexual men as homosexual? (Although no one seems to question Beckham’s sexuality… at least not as openly).

The way I see it, metrosexuality is another sign of power and wealth. Men who are able to give themselves the King treatment -lavish grooming at the salon, and always wearing the latest trend- must certainly have a high income, otherwise are in a gigantic debt. These men are often self-centered and egocentric -as I mentioned above; in other words, simple-minded men. The male figure of the typical simple-minded woman who is only worried about her beauty and takes part in all sorts of surgeries to better herself (or at least she thinks so) It’s all very false, how they live for the physical appearance. I can imagine the Beckham’s practicing different poses; how to smile, walk, sit, turn their head, etc. It’s all the same with those high society men in the Baroque era, who wore jewelry and make-up. Being delicate, well dress, etc, was a sign of the aristocracy; men with money because their ancestors had money, and son on, again, a sign of power. They all seemed superficial and hypocrites, arrogant with the commoners, and poor. We tend to hate (hate is another way of fearing) what seems like a threat to us or what is our nature. Most likely I am wrong in my way of thinking (perhaps bias by the ideals society has implanted in my head) however, this is certainly something to think about. We are labeled by society into being something in specific, and when we depart from the idea of what we should be, then we turn into an outcast, a pariah of society.

I say, without going into the extremes (a man purse, man heels, make-up, and stylish wigs) metrosexuality is all right with me. Although I don’t particularly look for a metrosexual man (thus my extremely nonmetrosexual boyfriend) If done with moderation, its actually kind of cool.

Example of an extreme: in western society, Beckham; In Asian society, 99% of the South Korean actors, no offense intended, I love Korean dramas very much.

What is he wearing? Man-blouse? Jang Geun-suk is loved by many. I like him as an actor, I juts don’t see where his physical appeal is. Sorry girls!

Moderation, please, moderation is key to good taste. Lee Byung-hun is such a hottie. He can be labeled as anything, he still looks like a man to me.

Here I have two link which I find extremely funny and helpful for those interested in this new term;

The Asian Machosexual Vs The White Metrosexual.

Know if You’re Metrosexual: Men’s Style, Sock, and Hair Care.


13 thoughts on “Metrosexuality, The Modern Masculinity

  1. As a girl who grew up with New Romantics, I can pretty much tell you men were wearing tons of make up in the 80s and that did not make them gay. Only those macho men with closed minds would make comments about those kind of men being gay.

    You’re spot on about the Baroque period. Both men and women wore wigs and make up. It was just a look. Of course, amongst those “effeminate” men, you will also find the gay ones.

    Funny that you’re writing about this because in a way, it’s one of the themes that runs in my novel. My boy, who’s very pretty and a rockstar in 1982, wears make up onstage (as so many rockstars did back then) and he purposely goes out with his stage make up on, to incure the wrath of those stupid men who feel threatened by such things. He uses himself as bait and then beats them up 😉

    • Haha, that would be cool to read (I mean about your novel) Although I lived the 90s more than the 80s since I was born in 82, for us the make up rockstars used was called being gothic, and to some people it still fits that description.
      I know, all men and women alike wore wigs and stuff, it was sort of followed after Luis XIV as Kings were trend setters back then. But I think it was only people in the court, with money. What do you think those wigs were made of? Sounds like an interesting topic for another post, hahahahaha.
      Thanks Agatha for your comment. Your novel sounds funny and interesting, I’m a fan already waiting for it to publish. I hope your boy doesn’t sparkle though. Hehe.

  2. Coming from a gay man ( in part metrosexual) I think first of all celebrities should be excluded from this category simply because they have to be On top of their appearance as part of their career. That said, regular straight man have become more metrosexual in part because of the immense pressure and influence of television and magazine advertising. It simply wasn’t there before more and more “used-to-be” feminine procedures are now being advertised for males and models in tv and magazines are making straight man feel that metrosexuality is the only way they are going to be attractive.

    May I add I believe a lot of them are closeted homosexuals like I was before I came out.

    • How are you in part metrosexual? you are homosexual so you cannot be in part anything heterosexual. BOBO. :p
      My friend I love your comments. We already talked about this though, so I feel like I have nothing really to say back to you. Thanks for leaving your comment. 🙂

      • As weird as it sounds not all gay men take care of themselves like the stereotype would incline, I know very gay man who are “trashy” at best. Poor hygiene, no hair cut, no shaving, hardly any cologne and absolutely no sense of fashion or notion thereof. Trust me one can be gay and not be metrosexual. I consider myself homosexual but also since I do take care of myslf more now than before becuase im 28 and and not getting away with the same things I used to get away back in the days….jejejeje i also think im part metrosexual so I propose we come up with a new word all together something like “hoe-tro-sexual”

        which would mean your homosexual who is also a “hoe” and take care of your looks so you can never stop being sexual! ..lmao

  3. I know something about the wigs – I believe the bigger the wig was the better social standing and wealth it represented and I also believe they were made of human hair as well as animal hair.

  4. Oh no, my boy most certainly does NOT sparkle 😉
    You know, men wore make up back in Egyptians times as well, I bet if we researched history, we’d find other times where they made themselves pretty.

    Ah dear, my book is set in 1982 🙂

  5. Yeah, I think you’re right. The pretty men look better with a bit of eye make up anyway 😉

    No idea if vamposexuals is right, but it made me giggle 🙂

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