<%-- Page Title--%> Trends <%-- End Page Title--%>

<%-- Volume Number --%> Vol 1 Num 146 <%-- End Volume Number --%>

March 19, 2004

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The Raging “Metrosexual”


It 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…"

At 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.

Meet 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.

This 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.

Today, 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.

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."

Whatever 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.

In 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.


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