The Raging “Metrosexual”
was just about a year ago, while I was making lunch plans with
a male friend of mine, that I first heard it, "Oh no, wait,
I can't tomorrow. I have a manicure appointment at one…"
the time, I had rolled my eyes and made a comment about how
he was more girly than I was -- something that is, (as he had
retorted back), not too difficult to achieve. That same year
I went to New York and found myself sitting in a Beauty Salon,
between two men in their mid- or late-twenties (presumably straight),
getting pedicures. It suddenly clicked that these men reminded
me of my friend. They were dressed to the nines with perfectly
styled hair -- not a lock out of place. Their nails were clipped
and filed, their shirts crisply ironed and their pants fitted
(but not too tight), and they were looking at my non-manicured
hands with something along the lines of disdain.
the metrosexual: the straight (or heterosexual) male who believes
in looking the part of a man who cares about his appearance,
and is in no way ashamed to admit it --quite a change from the
stereotypes we had before, seeing as though it was once considered
"gay" for men to wear trendy clothes and look like
they just stepped out of a salon.
change in mentality shows that stereotypes alter and evolve
with time and exposure. In the late eighties, when homosexuality
was a whisper of a word, (at least in our culture and society),
gay men were defined by their feminine way of talking, and the
fact that they weren't married by a certain age. As time passed
and that whisper became a word spoken in cautious tones -- in
the late nineties to be exact -- homosexual men (although just
as feminine) were also stereotyped as men who were impeccable
in almost everything: their style, their manners and their sensitivity.
They dressed and looked the part of any GQ model, and they kept
themselves clean, -- a strange and foreign, but somewhat welcoming
sight for those of us women who are used to seeing our male
counterparts with unruly hair, Iron Maiden t-shirts, baggy,
old jeans, fingernails caked with dirt and smelling like they
had just been jogging in the streets for hours.
the stereotype on well dressed and primped men has a different
kind of twist. Men have long since graduated from the grunge
days -- when it was ok to look like you just fell out of bed,
and hadn't showered for days. Boys that I went to school with
have transformed from grubby little insects to men that turn
heads and command a certain respect and attention. We do, after
all, live in an image-conscious society, despite the fact that
no one likes to admit it.
is not exactly evident what brought on this drastic change --
perhaps it is just another effect caused by the double-edged
sword of globalisation, which goes hand-in-hand with our exposure
to Star TV and the world outside Dhaka, in which it is becoming
more and more important for men to "look the part."
the reason may be, the metrosexual is here to stay. Men in Dhaka
are finally getting with the times. In every social gathering
I go to I see more and more metrosexuals, with their primping
and styling, their fitted clothes and perfectly coordinated
outfits. Girly and "gay"? I don't think so. More like:
men finally taking the initiative to make an effort on their
appearance. For once, the heat is off the women to look good.
a way, it's great to have so many metrosexuals around. They
are definitely more appreciative of the rigorous effort many
21st century women have to put forth to look good. Sometimes,
however, it's a little frustrating when I think of the countless
times my metrosexual friends raise an eyebrow at my unpainted
nails, or my bad hair days, or my non-matched shoes. However,
when I think of the good old days of dirty fingernails and nightmare-ish
hair-dos, I definitely think it's worth it. The pressure to
primp is now equally on both genders. Now that kind of equality
shouldn't be too hard for males to swallow.