Metrosexuals: men with a passion for fashion

Jenn Press

Cars, sports and styling gel are on top of many men’s conversation lists these days.

The commonly stereotyped mental image of today’s man parading around in wrinkled, fresh-from-the hamper clothing, with scruffy facial hair; grunting and belching, has been replaced with designer attired, salon attending men who are genuinely concerned about their appearance.

The latest term metrosexual (MET.roh.sek.shoo.ul) n., coined by British journalist and author Mark Simpson in 1994, refers to urban, heterosexual men who wax, exfoliate and perform other grooming rituals some consider strictly feminine.

Metrosexuality has nothing to do with sexual preference, and everything to do with gender distinctions. Metrosexuals have completely heterosexual relationships, and report they are perfectly comfortable with their masculinity to explore another angle of their characteristics.

Some students feel they can use this label to describe some of their friends.

“It’s funny to hear of this term. I have a male friend who I honestly thought was gay, but he dates girls. He’s just very into his looks, but I guess this is the term for him,” Junior Michelle Blanco, physical therapy major said.

Due to the growing acceptance of gay men and feminine qualities, many heterosexual men have learned to open their minds and wallets to the latest fashion and pampering trends. A clean cut hair style and blow-dry, manicure, facial, plastic surgery and massage are just a few priorities on a meterosexual’s list of preferred activities.

“Our clientele is kind of fifty-fifty between men and women. About 25 percent come in to get their hair colored,” said Nadina Khan, salon coordinator at Mania’s Hairstyling in New Jersey. “Regarding nail services, we have clients that come in here for manicures, [but only] 2 percent if that; waxing is about 4 percent.”

Others disagree with the idea of men pampering themselves.

“Honestly, I think if a guy gets his eyebrows waxed, he has issues,” Sophomore Mark Tenieshe, psychology major said.

Kahn said, “Most of the guys that come here are for cuts. We do have some guys that come for color. The younger guys come in for highlights and the older men come in here to cover their grays.”

Kahn feels that metrosexuality is just a way of defining a way of life that has been around, but possibly frowned upon.

“I think it’s something with everybody. If a guy cares about the way he looks, which a lot of our clients do, appearances, depending on what profession they are in, have to come in here to look into it and keep up with it. I don’t think it’s just a phase or a fad.”

According to Action news, the Philadelphia channel six news database, a metrosexual man may have a standing appointment for a weekly manicure, and he probably has his hair cared for by a stylist rather than a barber. He loves to shop, he may wear jewelry, and his bathroom counter is most likely filled with male-targeted grooming products, including moisturizersm and perhaps even a little makeup. He may work on his physique at a fitness club (not a gym) and his appearance probably gets him lots of attention – and he’s delighted by every stare.

“I like to dress well and I take pride in how I look. I mean, I think most guys want to be checked out,” Junior Michael Frinkle, an advertising major said.

According to Lori Angelo, spa director at Esthetique in Hamden, their 4% male clientele are good business to have.

“They call last minute, always, [but] they never ask too many questions, they always seem to enjoy it, and they tip exceedingly well.”

At Esthetique, 31% of men receive massages, 34% receive manicures, 40% receive pedicures, 30% receive facials, and 86% have their eyebrows waxed.

However, while these statistics may represent a metrosexual population, Angelo said, “They come in mostly for relaxation as well as for appearance.”

“I guess a lot of celebrities are put together nicely, so there may not be anything wrong with it,” Freshman Lean Marchos, international digital design major said.

Men’s magazines also play a role in changing men’s attitudes, with the page layout. It is now common to see a generous selection of pages devoted to buff male models sporting the latest fashions. Popular male magazines such as FHM and Maxim, are giving men the media image of perfection that was stereotypically only shown in women’s magazines. David Beckham, the captain of the England soccer team at this year’s World Cup in Korea and Japan, recently posed for a glossy gay magazine in the U.K. He said he is happy to be an idol for gay men.

According to a European polling institute, Euro RSCG, 510 Americans and 519 Europeans ages 21-48 fit into the metrosexual trend. The poll did not break down the ethnicity of the sample group, but gave a general idea of the population.

According to Richard Brown’s online article Metrosexuals: It’s a Guy Thing! Metrosexual men “are very secure in their sexuality.” “They’re comfortable getting a facial or a pedicure. It doesn’t make them feel any less masculine or any less heterosexual.”

Dr. Fortunato Benaim, with Argentina’s Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, says the number of men getting plastic surgery there has grown by ten percent to 25 percent over the past five years. He said, common operations include liposuction and nose jobs.

“Seriously, I think plastic surgery is a generic thing. I mean, who said it has to be just for woman. It’s not like guys are getting breast implants or anything,” Senior Chris Galue, Marketing major said.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, NBC’s television series about five fashion-sensed gay men making over a trend challenged heterosexual, has skyrocketing ratings, according to In addition to popular television shows such as Will and Grace.

Whether a trend, or just an acceptance of a personality trait, men who take care of themselves and are concerned with their appearance, are an everyday part of society.