Less than a week ago, baald first introduced the term metrosexual on birdhouse (“guy who is into fashion, interior design, cooking, but is sexshully straight).” I thought it was funny, probably the result of some joke floating around his office.

Then today in Salon, Sheerly Avni declares death to all metrosexuals! (They cook better, dress better and decorate better than we do.”) As it turns out, Salon introduced the term in July 2002, Meet the Metrosexual.

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.

But as is eventually revealed, the term originated in 1994. So the interesting bit is not that the word has suddenly renewed currency as it is that I am completely and totally out of it, not having heard it blurbled until last week.

Not wanting to feel like a hodad, I scan my life for signs of metrosexuality. I’m a cargo shorts-wearing webmaster. I trudge from baby/wife to webmaster job and back again, day after day, squeeze in some email in the wee hours. Not much energy left for hair stylists or gymnasiums. But I did catch myself recently bemoaning the fact that Barney’s serves American mustard, Dijon mustard, and Grey Poupon, but no stone ground mustard. How can a gourmet hamburger joint not have stone ground mustard? It makes no sense. Poupon too tart, Dijon too sweet, American too plain. Then I find that we are running out of Stone Ground at home, freak out, ask Amy to pick some up at Trader Joe’s, she reports that TJ’s doesn’t stock stone ground!

Am I righteous here, or merely displaying metrosexual tendencies?

Describe the metrosexual in your life.

Music: Beth Orton :: Galaxy Of Emptiness

12 Replies to “Metrosexual”

  1. I’m a telecom consultant, but instead of the bland kacki dockers and polo shirts, I prefer silk shirts, wool slacks and expensive shoes… I get $9 haircuts at a local barbershop, but get my eyebrows waxed occasionally…. that is about it…

  2. The real question is, should people still eat at burger “joints” like mickey d’s and the likes? Myself, I haven’t since October 98, while in NYC, and even before that, at least 1 year.

    About the metrosexuals… i don’t care much about fashion, my main concern about clothes is confort, but of course, i like to wear classy (and that looks good) stuff. Don mentioned haircuts… yeah, mine’s about $10. Manicure once in a while… other than that… :) I was told once, while in the UK, that if I was living there i’d be posh instead of a commoner, so maybe that’s a clue :)
    To close (at last), i have to commend you once again on your musical taste, Beth Orton… two thunbs up!

  3. To me the word “metrosexual” has latent homophobia lurking beneath it. It’s based on the idea that a man who cares about good skin and hair and clothes has to be at least partly gay. That bugs me.

    Anyway, the New York Times article a few months ago made it pretty clear that “metrosexual” is strictly a marketing niche, a way to convince an extra 49% of the population to spend more money on clothes/grooming/beauty products. I don’t know anyone who willingly claims the title “metrosexual”.

  4. But Chris, even if that implication is there, and I’m not saying it’s not, it’s not negative unless the speaker thinks “partly gay” is a bad thing.

    NY Times article? Holy cow, this thing must be way bigger than I imagined. Mainstream, and I still missed it (well, as long as it hasn’t shown up in People mag yet, I’m safe).

  5. it’s not negative unless the speaker thinks “partly gay” is a bad thing.

    I don’t know about that. It still sets up “gay” as something to be singled out and remarked upon. Like the very subtle racism in the fact that people will attach a minority member’s race when referring to him or her. E.g. you never say “This random white guy was doing such and such”, but you do say “I saw this black dude, and he was…” OK, the racism here is not very virulent, or particularly worrisome, but it’s there.

  6. The metrosexual in life? …hmm, ‘fraid there is none.

    While I dress better than in my younger days, I still prefer jeans/shorts and a Napalm Death-T Shirt over a suit. Gyms are for people who are too lazy to jog a couple of miles to work, or who don’t have a basement to lift weights in. Food doesn’t have to be elaborate to be good (but quality ingredients do make a difference!), and furniture is for using, not looking at. And I cut my hair myself with a beard trimmer.

    I think the Salon author nailed it when she considered her roomie Steven a ‘big dandy’.

    And in ten years nobody will even remember that ‘metrosexual’ was once a word.

  7. About being “completely out of it” – I think that’s endemic to parenthood, Scot. Remember how our parents were always “completely out of it.” I suspect they, like you, had neither the time nor the energy to really care about fashion trends. :) So I’d say don’t worry about it. If you were completely with it, Miles would have to work a lot harder to rebel and appall you with HIS fashion sense when the time comes. :)


  8. I had heard/read the word a couple of times over the last few years, usually in reference to David Beckham (soccer player), but in the last two days it has taken off here in Australia. On the mainstream TV news (in reference to a machine-washable suit ;-), all over the papers. I guess it’s one of those memes which has just reached critical mass.

  9. Chris – but police reports do specify black or white. In other words, at a factual level, these things are relevant, for the same reason the Supremes felt that race matters enough to ensure that it remain a factor in university admissions, etc.

    This is slippery stuff. All I’m saying is that I don’t think it would be good for us to be gay-blind any more than we should be color blind.

  10. >I don’t think it would be good for us to be gay-blind any more than we should be color blind.

    I agree! The subject’s race is relevant in police reports, and college admissions, and lots of other situations. My point was that in ordinary speech (“I saw this dude…”) we are color blind if he’s white, and not color blind if he’s brown. Similarly with queers. When was the last time you heard a hetero say “oh, he just acts so *straight*!”

  11. it seems to me that a lot of us have an almost unhealthy need to catagorize…I suppose it is human nature…a way to increase the chances of truly understanding and relating better to others…just because a guy likes to cook and may be very good at it this does not mean that he is gay…nor does wanting to look his best indicate sexual preference…in the end it is character that matters most anyway…

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