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Whatever Happened To The Metrosexual?
September 2, 2014 1:56 PM   Subscribe


 
Whatever happened to the metrosexual?

Did he grow a beard and move to Brooklyn/Oakland?
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 2:10 PM on September 2 [5 favorites]


Is this something I'd have to own a razor to understand?

Seriously though, this a better article than than I was expecting. Read the whole thing.
posted by Doublewhiskeycokenoice at 2:12 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Who cares?

"Metrosexual" was nothing more than a homophobic slur* used by assholes who can't dress for shit.

It's the "Real men don't eat Quiche" for the '00s

I fucking love quiche.

*as used, mind you, perhaps not as coined
posted by leotrotsky at 2:13 PM on September 2 [24 favorites]


One part of it is surely how Mark Simpson got isolated from the mainstream and shunned by a lot of the LGBT community for the term. It must have been both a blessing and a curse for him - look at where online he is self-publishing his work now. He made millions for some people but lost a lot aswell by the association.
posted by Another Fine Product From The Nonsense Factory at 2:13 PM on September 2


Whatever Happened To The Metrosexual

The third panel of a DC triptych, along with Alan Moore's Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow? and Neil Gaiman's Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?
posted by Iridic at 2:16 PM on September 2 [4 favorites]


Oops, haven't heard "man-purse" in a while either. Because if you want to carry a bag with you, it better be a dorky backpack or we'll impugn your manhood!
posted by naju at 2:16 PM on September 2 [8 favorites]


There are already a couple of really really lazy responses in this thread which superficially touch on some of the more interesting things the article covers with more subtle gradations. I highly recommend the article; I agree with Doublewhiskeycokenoice that it's much better than I'd thought it'd be.
posted by Greg Nog at 2:18 PM on September 2 [6 favorites]


It's the "Real men don't eat Quiche" for the '00s

Kingsford Charcoal was still working that line as recently as last year.
posted by asterix at 2:25 PM on September 2


It's the "Real men don't eat Quiche" for the '00s

Real men call it "Egg and Bacon Pie".
posted by Talez at 2:32 PM on September 2 [11 favorites]


When I first heard the term, I was moderately isolated from the popular culture and asked for a definition. Someone said something like "heterosexual guy who looks like a gay guy". I had long-hair, a full-on neck beard, and was carrying 40-50 extra lbs and thought "oh, I guess I do kinda pass as a bear".

Then there was elaboration and I thought "oh, a way to sell cosmetics and useless fashion to straight guys". So we agree.
posted by straw at 2:38 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Beckham wants to turn his muscles into art objects instead of war (or soccer) machinery.

Frankly, that's a much much better use for muscles.
posted by erlking at 2:41 PM on September 2 [7 favorites]


Whatever happened to the strawmen?
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 2:42 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


If real men don't eat quiche, what's so great about being a so-called "real man"? How is life even worth living?
posted by xedrik at 2:47 PM on September 2 [11 favorites]


Whatever happened to the strawmen?

Where have all the straw boys gone?
posted by kagredon at 2:47 PM on September 2 [9 favorites]


As a gay man the strange inversion that has occurred in mens grooming that the more care a chap tends to show in his appearance the straighter he is likely to be really amuses me.
posted by Middlemarch at 2:52 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


"oh, a way to sell cosmetics and useless fashion to straight guys"

I'm trying to think of useful fashion and so far all I have is: camo cargo pants, Crocs, a hat that can hold beers, Google Glass, and that hoodie from ThinkGeek that has extra pockets for tech accessories and their respective wires.

Coincidentally, whatever the metro look is, that outfit is the polar opposite.
posted by griphus at 2:52 PM on September 2 [16 favorites]


"Metrosexual" was nothing more than a homophobic slur*

I read your comment just as I was wondering "why is 'sexual' included in this if it's mostly about grooming and fashion?" I think you're probably right, combined with a little bit of hate for big cities.
posted by Hoopo at 2:55 PM on September 2 [8 favorites]


Where have all the straw boys gone?

They didn't wanna wait for their lives to be over.
posted by Talez at 2:55 PM on September 2 [7 favorites]


As a gay man the strange inversion that has occurred in mens grooming that the more care a chap tends to show in his appearance the straighter he is likely to be really amuses me.

In ten years being perfectly slick and put together has morphed to mean you are very very heterosexual and all the gay guys want to wear overalls and fix old cars.
posted by The Whelk at 2:58 PM on September 2 [7 favorites]


ITT I learn that I read super-gay.
posted by The Gaffer at 3:02 PM on September 2


One part of it is surely how Mark Simpson got isolated from the mainstream and shunned by a lot of the LGBT community for the term.

It could also have been for any of his other self-loathing diatribes, to be fair.
posted by en forme de poire at 3:11 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


As a gay man the strange inversion that has occurred in mens grooming that the more care a chap tends to show in his appearance the straighter he is likely to be really amuses me.

I think we live in different universes. And while like to think I'd like yours better I'm worried that it's just mine with a much worse selection of straight dudes.
posted by aspo at 3:30 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


and all the gay guys want to wear overalls and fix old cars.

Don't you co-opt lesbian subculture!
posted by rhizome at 3:50 PM on September 2 [13 favorites]


I thought it was the over-thinker's word for "dandy"...and where I live, there is *no* such man as a metrosexual -- or dandy...
posted by Alexandra Kitty at 4:07 PM on September 2


I thought it was the over-thinker's word for "dandy"...and where I live, there is *no* such man as a metrosexual -- or dandy...

wait, you live in Themyscira?
posted by kagredon at 4:09 PM on September 2 [4 favorites]


Well-dressed mens fashion is always interesting to me.

I mean, calling a guy a "dandy" has sort of less-than-butch connotation today.

But compared to the effeminate fops of the previous generation, the dandies were the butch, masculine option, big puffy cravats & tight pants & all.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 4:15 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


The Mini Metro was a small British car of no merit, but I suppose it was possible to have sex in it if you were both limber. Pretty arcane paraphilia to base an entire cultural group on, if you ask me.
posted by Devonian at 4:20 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


...and where I live, there is *no* such man as a metrosexual -- or dandy...

GPS coords plz. I've always wanted to be the first at something just by showing up.
posted by griphus at 4:20 PM on September 2 [5 favorites]


"Metrosexual" was nothing more than a homophobic slur* used by assholes who can't dress for shit.

"Hipster" took over that sneering, gender-policing role a few years ago, and has the benefit of making you sound like you're only being condescending towards young people on the margins, and not semisecretly a bigot.
posted by mhoye at 4:23 PM on September 2 [5 favorites]


Whenever I hear one of my friends* using words like these to make fun of somebody I'll say something to the effect of:

"How exhausting it must be for you to keep track of all these bullshit gender performance rules just so you can publicly remark on them, removing all doubts we ever had about you."

Or

"Oh shit, I left my Dumbfuck-Machismo scorecard at home, can I borrow yours, bro?"



*No, I don't have the guts to say something like this to a stranger.
posted by Doleful Creature at 4:26 PM on September 2 [5 favorites]


The sublimation of metrosexual into gentlebro rings true for me. Birchbox, to name a company off the top of my head, flings advertizing at me that says "buy expensive clothes and facial care because you'll be CLASSY AS FUCK".

The undercurrents are the same as that of metrosexualism: do this to show off and attract a mate.
posted by Monochrome at 4:28 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


> GPS coords plz. I've always wanted to be the first at something just by showing up.

Not first by any means, but I'm dressing, acting, and generally being a certain way for forty-odd years, and then all of a sudden one day I'm Normcore. Holy fuck, I'm having my fifteen minutes! Is it over?
posted by jfuller at 4:47 PM on September 2 [3 favorites]


Coincidentally, whatever the metro look is, that [utilitarian] outfit is the polar opposite.

I know you were being tongue-in-cheek but I think you actually nailed the crux of "metrosexual" fashion (which at least among people I knew, was always just called "metro"). It's the opposite end of the spectrum from utilitarianism.

Non-metro men's fashion at the same time (mid/late 90s) was basically baggy cargo pants and polo shirts, which is pretty much one step up from a boiler suit in terms of sheer practicality.
posted by Kadin2048 at 4:59 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


I saw an ad on TV the other night for a male version of the Gillette 'Venus' body razor. Seems that 'metrosexual' has simply been swallowed up and normalized by the giant Katamari of mainstream culture.
posted by Flashman at 5:29 PM on September 2 [2 favorites]


Any time someone says that quiche is an indicator of effeminacy, I want to show them To Catch A Theif.


"Oh this is that quiche Lorraine I've heard so much about. It's marvelous! The pastry is as light as air!"

"Germaine has very sensitive hands and an exceedingly light touch. She strangled a German general - without a sound."



Never fight a baker or pastry chef. They have remarkable upper body strength, and are usually in a terrible mood.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 6:09 PM on September 2 [8 favorites]


There was already a perfectly good word before metrosexual came into use: urbane.
posted by brujita at 6:27 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]


Well, it all resulted in Ted Allen being on Chopped, so there was at least some positive effect.
posted by Chrysostom at 6:44 PM on September 2


From the orig article: metrosexuals like Beckham must sculpt and oil their muscles.

Ok, that may be the first time I've come across being a gym-bunny associated w the word metrosexual.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:37 PM on September 2 [1 favorite]




Since when does the term "hipster" have gender policing connotations?
posted by grumpybear69 at 4:56 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


This was a great article. I've always loved using items to enhance my CHA, and that has morphed from childhood toys or college gadgets to professional apparel. A few months ago some coworkers were debating weather a pretty sweet messenger bag would be an acceptable conference goodie. One was afraid it was too feminine, but to assuage her fears she decided to ask if I would wear it "because I'm metro."

This attitude is so quaint, so parochial, that I actually thought it was pretty funny.
posted by rebent at 6:05 AM on September 3


Since when does the term "hipster" have gender policing connotations?

Since always? Male "hipsters" are characterized as fashion victims who wear tight jeans and are overly concerned with how they look; "real" men don't care about these things. And female "hipsters" don't shave and wear ugly/unsexy-on-purpose clothing and accessories! One of the bedrocks of hipster-hate is that both male and female hipsters are doing their gender "wrong."
posted by erlking at 6:09 AM on September 3


Male "hipsters" are characterized as fashion victims who wear tight jeans and are overly concerned with how they look; "real" men don't care about these things.

That's a big part of it. However, I think the bigger elephant in the room is that the "hipster" doesn't have a real job, and is not working towards being a provider for a family. Instead, they're devoted to fashion, music, etc. This is an implicitly gendered criticism, just in another way. Young men are supposed to graduate college and get a house and a lawn and a wife and two and a half kids.

And female "hipsters" don't shave and wear ugly/unsexy-on-purpose clothing and accessories!

On the other hand, I have not seen this stereotype in the wild. Hipster fashion is broadly considered to be cute. Many aspects of it have been incorporated into mainstream fashion. I have never heard of hipster girls being stereotypically unshaven, either.

To be honest, much of the rancor against hipsters in general sounds somewhat similar to the rancor against "fake [girl] nerds". Consider how the hipster is accusing of not really liking what they like - they only like things in order to be cool for liking obscure things. Contrast with how an aficionado of Christian rock or classical music is not similarly chided for enjoying music which might be equally obscure to everybody else. Compare with how girls who are into video games, comics, sports, etc. are frequently assailed for only liking what they like because it's cool.

...

The hipster has had a "feminized" character for a while, and IMHO it's only gotten more so.

Back in 2003, people complained that hipsters arrogantly broadcasted how they listened to obscure music and watched obscure movies. About a decade later, "hipster" usually implies a sort of superficiality normally stereotypically applied to young girls: hipsters are no longer the clerks at Kim's Video, listening to a Japan-only release of their second-favorite Kazakh punk record. Instead, they're kids in Chucks and glasses, watching Donnie Darko and listening to Lana Del Rey.

For example, in some photo nerd circles, "hipster photography" nowadays usually implies grainy, from-the-hip 35mm film photos with faux-nostalgic, soft-contrast split-tone processing. The irony here is that the photo nerd making this criticism is the one being a 2003-era hipster: they're saying that that kind of photography is a mainstream trend spread through fashionable dilettantes; you wouldn't understand real photography, it's pretty obscure, you wouldn't get it.

I feel that this evolution of the concept has further revealed some ideas which have always been somewhere inside of it.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:47 AM on September 3 [3 favorites]


I UNDERTAKE GROOMING RITUALS TO ATTRACT HUMAN FEMALES.
posted by Mister_A at 8:12 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


"Hipster or hepcat, as used in the 1940s, referred to aficionados of jazz, in particular bebop, which became popular in the early 1940s. The hipster adopted the lifestyle of the jazz musician, including some or all of the following: dress, slang, use of cannabis and other drugs, relaxed attitude, sarcastic humor, self-imposed poverty and relaxed sexual codes."
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:33 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


Meanings change. If I were to say, "I saw a few hipsters pass through the hallway", most people I know would not be thinking of 1940s hepcats.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:41 AM on September 3


It wouldn't even mean the 2001 definition of "hipster" I encountered - young (college-aged) adults with no job, loud clashing electro music, deliberately ugly outfits, hedonistic drinking patterns and cocaine problems.
posted by The Whelk at 8:45 AM on September 3


I've always defined "hipster" as young(ish), hyper-image-conscious, arrogant & exclusionary with lots of free time and disposable income (or the illusion thereof), the overarching theme being a sense of "I'm cooler than you, asshole. Just look at my hair." I admit there may be some jealousy involved on my part as I've never been able to pull off any highly-engineered hairdos.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:48 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


yeah i mean just look at the Evolution of the Hipster - what it means changes over time as the old "risque" becomes the new "bog standard"
posted by rebent at 8:59 AM on September 3 [2 favorites]


"Hipster" is more akin to what "yuppie" was in the 1980s, in terms of the weight and direction (looking for the more precise definition) of derision, without the money coming into things quite as much, if at all. I've never thought of "hipster" as being a gendered term. A person who has a long beard and goes on about obscure bands and how this popular one now sucks, despite the fact that they were once obscure and started in smoky outsider bars, is a hipster in modern parlance. Being ticked about that is akin being ticked at one who goes on about his or her superior tastes in pricey kitchen accoutrements. Keep it to yourself.
posted by raysmj at 9:10 AM on September 3 [1 favorite]


| Any time someone says that quiche is an indicator of effeminacy, I want to show them To Catch A Thief...

I wonder if Cary Grant had been in his prime in the 90's-00's whether he would have been labeled a metrosexual. I suspect he would.
posted by spacely_sprocket at 1:58 PM on September 3


I think Cary Grant would be labeled as "Sharp Dressed Man". Metrosexual has a certain air of "fey" about it.

CG was well-groomed & tailored, but he didn't come across a sexually transgressive. If anything, his presentation was hella-het.

If George Clooney was never metro, Cary Grant wouldn't be. Edward, Duke of Windsor, might qualify as metrosexual.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:51 PM on September 3


lol, wait guys. People totally speculated about Cary Grant's sexuality back in the day. Not only that, but exactly as Beckham did in that original Mark Simpson article, he appears to have reveled somewhat in the speculation.
posted by en forme de poire at 6:36 PM on September 4 [3 favorites]


Shows you what I know.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:53 PM on September 4


Now I'm reminded of that sentiment I've heard that goes something along the lines of "Well groomed, well dressed, and an upper-class, educated British accent doesn't automatically mean gay.

"It could also signify evil."
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:40 AM on September 5 [1 favorite]


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