I know, I know-- this one's old news. The term "metrosexual", first coined way back in 1994 by journalist Mark Simpson in the UK Independent, had everything to do with the rise of an ostensibly straight man who mimicked all the feminine vanity interests of the "typical" woman-- or gay man. Thanks to the efforts of Simpson, ad whiz/trend spotter Marian Salzman, and the bobblehead media, the term gained momentum. Female trend watchers and consumers of popular media were blanketed with the idea that previously Cro-Magnon men were taking over their hair-care products and bathroom-mirror time with glee. The whole notion reinforced the concept of a future overrun with glossy, stylish, sweet-smelling fellas, who could not only chat away with certitude on subjects of art and style, but who would scold you for wearing sweats to run errands and flush the Chunky Monkey down the toilet when PMS overtook you.
Did this look good to women? Probably not. Well, if you were fed up with your boyfriend drinking out of the milk container and never wanting to see a movie starring Hilary Swank, you might've picked up "The Metrosexual Guide to Style: A Handbook for the Modern Man." You might've hoped to do for your man what the boys at "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" could not. But even then, the notion that it would be a good idea to eradicate male cluelessness in this arena, and replace it with that small feminine vice-- personal vanity-- really wasn't all that smart.
Despite the breathless prose of those cheerleading for it-- or indifferent to it-- insisting that the smooth-chested, eyebrow-groomed dandy was the wave of the future, I just never bought it. Yes, men account for a growing percentage of cosmetic procedures, proving only that human beings are all subject to pressures of vanity. But more likely the trend was and is the result of marketing "push" rather than a groundswell of "pull", a theory set forth by a self-proclaimed Metrosexual named Greg Lindsay, writing on the website theBlackTable.com. He makes the point that the image-making machinery (read "marketers")hopped onto Simpson's and Salzman's bandwagon in an effort to lure men into the same "beauty myth" that harangues females from the time they reach kindergarten. This makes a lot of sense to me, much more than the idea that men and women both are happy to be interchangeable, post-sexual drones. The polarity between the sexes, what makes us tantalizingly different, gives our lives that delicious whiff of spice. While we may like our guys reasonably groomed and capable of enlightened discussion rather than belches, I don't think either sex is ready for the Brave New World. I think Metrosexual Man is dead.
What do you think?