In the mid part of the last decade, a phenomena crept into prominence, that of the ‘metrosexual.’ What is a ‘metrosexual,’ you ask? The simple definition was a “straight man who acts gay.” However, that definition simplified the concept far too much: a metrosexual is a man who takes pride in himself and in his appearance, to the degree that he would engage in activities commonly seen as ‘feminine’ or ‘non male’ in order to keep up a pristine appearance. So the metrosexual plucked his eyebrows and had his hair styled, not cut. He was lauded by some, and abhorred by others, but he was there nonetheless: an urban cowboy in Abercrombie chaps with Kenneth Cole boots. Some stated it was the evolution of the idea of “male.” Some said it was too good to be true.

History has proven that the latter won out. As quickly as the word hit the common parlance, it was struck down as dead by the contemporary media. Some mourned that the metrosexual was just “too pretty” to live. Some felt the metrosexual was just a NYC/LA/Chicago scenario that didn’t really impact the rest of the country. It is far too easy to recognize the metrosexual as the “other,” a male that had all of the benefits of heterosexual AND homosexual men from the point of view of many women (“he dresses up AND he likes women! He’s a human Ken doll!”). But just because the fairer sex were enamored with the metrosexual as the other doesn’t mean that the less well coifed kin of the fair haired boys were in any way pleased to see him on the scene. Here’s four reasons for the murder, ahem, disappearance of the metrosexual:

(a) the metrosexual is regional – a cosmopolitan male who drinks cosmopolitans could do very well in New York, but might only last 5 minutes in a ”beer only” bar in central Tennessee. The fact is, to many males, there was nothing “male” about the metrosexual. The gay man could be a non-threatening cohort for a heterosexual woman (and a roadblock for heterosexual men). But the metrosexual, who to your beer drinking “real man” ACTS like a gay man (because he portrays the ‘I relate’ charm to women) but is more than willing to sleep with a woman. That has ‘bar fight’ written all over it.

(b) the metrosexual is expensive – keeping yourself in tip top shape and well adorned is quite an ordeal. There are socio-cultural systems that allow women to take advantage of this “self maintenance”, not men. In other words, if Kelly wants to leave work early to get her hair done, her peers (and perhaps supervisor) would be fine with that; Paul, on the other hand…is a different story.

(c) the metrosexual might as well be gay – the metrosexual got the same bad rap that bisexuals continue to get in our society; nobody believes them. Heterosexuals and homosexuals alike are torn on whether bisexuals are “confused”, “in process of coming out”, or “just damn greedy”. Nether side of the sexual spectrum fully embraces bisexuality, and some contingents even doubt its existence. Metrosexuality faced the same uphill battle. Straight men thought many metrosexuals were “practically gay” or “on the road”. Gay men in significant numbers shared this feeling. Both sides bought into a concept of heteronormative behavior, and frankly the metrosexual didn’t fit. The ultimatum was “either turn gay, or start biting your nails and going to a barber like every other guy!”

(d) the metrosexual is just the ‘sensitive guy’ in better clothes – every generation had a concept of the ‘sensitive guy’ that was much more attractive to women (in social settings) than the rough and tumble alternative. In the ‘90’s it was the “guys who cried”. Before that it was the guys who “shared their feelings”. The metrosexual is simply an aspect of this. The problem is that just like the sensitive guy, the metrosexual is situational. Some guys might be sensitive under some conditions, but heartless under others.

Let us not think that men (gay and straight) played a part in this “murder” alone; women had their fair part. The heteronormative idea of the male wins out in some scenarios; he may be hot in that blazer and those loafers, but if there’s danger, I don’t want him waving his Prada umbrella at someone. Further reinforcing this heteronomativity is the idea that the metrosexual could be ‘pretty’ but not ‘too pretty’…he still had to be a man. When the oil needs to be changed, Banana Republic shirt my ass, you do your job.

Will a condition like “metrosexual” rear its head? Already has! Yes, the metrotextuals have entered the scene. Now, let’s see how long they exist before they are killed….

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