Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What Happened to the Metrosexual of the 2000s

The term metrosexual is derived from a combination of the words/terms metropolitan and heterosexual. A man living in the city more proactively involved in his consumerism aka shopping.

Originally, the term surfaced in an article by Mark Simpson, a British journalist who specialises in pop culture, through an article in The Independent, published November 5, 1994. Simpson wrote:

"Metrosexual man, the single young man with a disposable income, living or working in the city, is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade. In the Eighties he was only to be found inside fashion magazines such as GQ, in television advertisements for Levi's jeans or in gay bars. In the Nineties, he's everywhere and he's going shopping."

Interestingly, between the time the article was published and the early Nineties, the term had not caught on to anyone or anything. Simpson re-visited the subject and re-introduced the term in 2002, this time, noting David Beckham as the epitomy of a metrosexual poster boy.

Now all of a sudden the term was the newest buzz-word and the subject was hot money. Brands were delivering on point advertising with men dressed as slick as Bond, groomed to perfection and evidently adored by eligible bachelorettes. The Camel Man had left the building and Barbie's Ken had arrived. Retail saw proof of this, as the numbers of women buying mens clothing for their partners had dropped and men were out buying their own clothes.

Soon after, debates on the sexuality of the metrosexual began to rise. Primarily because in early definitions, indications of lifestyle orientation were not specified, leaving a gray area in the works. Groups were claiming the term as ambiguous, allowing people to interpret the term as reference to gay men, rather than heterosexual men. Others proposed that nonsense, asking why gay men would now latch on to a new term for themselves when they have been openly and proudly coming out as gay and nothing else. Either way, there was plenty of commentary and many people walked away having to make up their own minds on the subject.

In its early stages, being metrosexual could have been cited as being narcissistic. Essentially, consumerism to a certain degree, fed on ones need to continuously feel grandeur towards themselves. They have a need to be the best, look the most stylish and have more than the rest. Which advertising of the time was fueling and therefore inciting further narcissistic behaviour.

After some time, the term and subject subsided. I suppose that's typical of fashion and society. It's all a fad. Nothing of no substance ever lasts longer than 15 minutes. So where does that leave us now? Men have evolved. Maybe we should coin Renaissexual as a new term for modern man. A combination of the revival of the metrosexual and the new formation of the modern heterosexual. Better yet, let's call modern man, a Renaissance Man. It makes simple sense if you compare the two types of man.

A metrosexual man is [typically] driven by materialism, egotistic mannerisms and is fueled by and survives on consumerism. Clutching on to the physical he deems his only was of evolving his status and his rankings in society.

A renaissance man is [typically] driven by his passion to succeed and better himself. He is educated, compassionate, self-sustaining and fueled by knowledge and survives on being constantly up-skilled in his field(s) of study and profession. Fashion and grooming for him are outlets that combine comfort and style to creatively express his understanding of the fashion in the times he lives in.

Moving into the next decade, we should look to avoid terming the gentleman (and ladies) we see. We should perhaps focus more on what that man does with the power he possesses in his hands and mind.

Regardless, I say 'Cheers' to the Renaissance Man. He understands himself and his goals and is not scared of dressing stylishly while he achieves his dreams.

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