October 21st, 2003

So I won’t pretend to get all this metrosexual nonsense (which seems like it should be pretty played the fuck out by now anyhow), but people around me keep talking about it, which makes me think about it in spite of myself. My pal, George, has a quiz up on his blog today that seems to give some indication of how metro one may or may not be.

I scored somewhere between a four and a six. Depends on whether shaving cream in a jar counts the same as shaving cream in a tube and whether shaving my unibrow counts the same as tweezing. I think maybe yes on the former (you know, fucking Body Shop and all), no on the latter (since running a shaver between my eyes can’t possibly take so much as a tenth the time or dedication of tweezing). My four definite points come from two skin care products (no counting soap) — Lubriderm and a tube of store-brand cortisone cream (both of them ordered by my doctor as ways of keeping the eczema at bay) — at a point apiece; and two points for a nose-hair trimmer (because, Jesus, you’ve got to be able to go out in fucking public, don’t you?).

The rest of this shit I simply don’t get. I’ll never understand why anyone, man or woman, gay, straight or in between, wears cologne. Smelling clean is enough, isn’t it? People wearing perfume just smell like they’re trying too hard to me. Ditto owning more than a few basic pairs of shoes. Here’s what you need: An everyday pair, a dress pair, (maybe two, black and brown, but why wear suits that call for brown shoes?), a pair of boots (not fancy boots, just something to get you through mud season), a pair of sneakers, and if you like to spend time at the beach or on a boat of something, maybe a pair of sport sandals. Anything more than that is a complete waste of money.

Me, I wouldn’t know if I’d ever been hit on by a gay man. I’ve been in gay bars maybe half a dozen times in my life and I don’t remember being hit on. Of course, I was never quite sure when I was being hit on by women back in my younger, single, bar-going days and that was something I was hoping for. (I mean, I’d have been flattered to be hit on by a gay man. It’s always nice to know someone finds you attractive, even if it takes them two six packs to get there. But it’s not like I was on the lookout for it.) I can’t fucking dance worth a damn, either.

So I guess I’m no metrosexual, which is just fine by me. Means there are fewer products targeted at me, fewer magazines I’m supposed to read (which is nice, ’cause I’m having enough trouble keeping up with Harper’s, the Atlantic and Pro Football Weekly — which, OK, is a newspaper — these days), and increasingly fewer TV shows I give half a shit about. I’m doing OK with that, really. Mostly OK.

Look, I don’t think of myself as particularly manly or anything. Indeed, I’m a bit of a sensitive type. Cry at sad movies and yadda, yadda, yadda. But that doesn’t mean I’m inclined to fall for this metrosexual thing, which clearly isn’t about anything but fashion marketing. I mean, that’s all any trend is ever about, isn’t it? And promoting dandyism is a really good one, because foppishness requires tons of expensive maintenance. Get men to think (as a lot of women already do) that they need a whole new wardrobe every season, manicures, $40 haircuts and all that other nonsense, and you can keep picking their pockets until the end of time.

I doubt that there’s even such a thing as a metrosexual. My guess is that it was just plain old made up and sold to media that simply can’t be bothered to step back and ask whose agenda they’re serving. All that matters is that there’s a good, easy trend story out there to tell. I know for certain that two years from now at the outside, we’ll all be making fun of the whole ridiculous thing, even those who fell for it (maybe especially those who fell for it). And me, I’ll still be buying my Lubriderm and my cortisone cream and my fancy-pants shaving cream (because it seems to keep the razor from chewing the living bejesus out of my face) and trimming my nose hairs (you should thank me for this if we ever meet). I’ll probably be wearing the same clothes I’m wearing right now. I’ll have a new pair of everyday shoes, because I tend to wear one out every 18 months or so. And I’ll be as happy as I can be, because I’ll once again have managed not to waste my time, my energy and my money chasing foolish fashion.

But I promise not to grin too widely when I say I told you so.

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