According to Sergey Shnurov, a frontman of the popular Russian punk group Leningrad, a real man “got balls, a stubbly chin, and he smells of tobacco and hangover. Too true, the criteria are unlikely to fit a guy with carefully manicured fingernails and conspicuously gelled haircut, the one who walks past the shop windows leaving a trail of Givenchy perfume. The guy looks like a metrosexual.
Read more on Pravda.ru: David Beckham, the symbol of metrosexuality
I am not talking about those who opt to get laid while traveling by metro. The term “metrosexual” is a combination of two words, metropolis (Gk – a chief city) and sexual. Not unlike any other noticeable phenomenon, metrosexuality is often accompanied by myths and speculations.
“It the good old 19th century, nobody thought a dandy could be gay.”
Stereotype No1: all metrosexuals do nothing but loaf
“A metrosexual is a well-to-do young man who lives in a big city or thereabouts because that is where all the best stores, clubs, gyms and hairdresser’s shops are amassed. Such a variety of urban man can be either gay, or heterosexual or bisexual. But it does not mean anything because the man has deliberately chosen himself as an object of love and pleasure in terms of his sexual preference.”
Mark Simpson, a British journalist who coined the term in 1994 in an article in The Independent.
Well, what else did you expect? Metrosexuals cannot but focus on their appearance. In fact, the idea of metrosexuality does not seem that new. Since the 19th century, there has been a lot of similar talk with regard to dandies, city slickers, and other fashion geeks.
Meanwhile, some famous metrosexuals are really worth something when it comes to the job they do. Take David Beckham, an often cited example for metrosexuality. He is good at playing soccer at times. Brad Pitt spends a lot of time on the set. Needless to say, we do not believe all those experts who say that acting is a tough job. By the way, the boss of one of Russia’s biggest mobile phone retail chains, is also rumored to be a metrosexual.
The great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin was probably right when he put it like this: “A man who’s active and efficient/Can yet keep nail-care much in mind.”
Stereotype No2: There is no such thing as metrosexuals
Do you happen to know anybody who is a metrosexual? No? Neither do I. But I can always tell a metrosexual from a regular guy.
First, a metrosexual’s fingernails are covered with nail varnish. Second, a metrosexual pluck his eyebrows. Third, they use cosmetics of a decorative kind. Fourth, a metrosexual always carries a gloss magazine to be “abreast of popular trends.” Fifth, a metrosexual does not talk about chicks, his boss, computers or cars. Instead, he talks exclusively (he just cannot help doing so) about massage parlors, cosmetics, trendy clothes and latest rages he reads about in glossy magazines.
The above descriptions resemble the tall tales made up by the Renaissance travelers who claimed that people with dog’s heads lived in some faraway land across the sea.
Despite numerous eyewitness accounts, the Russian metrosexuals are as invisible and mysterious as those notorious “dog people” were some five centuries ago.
“Is he really a metrosexual or not?” we question ourselves as we look inquisitively at someone among our friends or strangers…
The British journalist Mark Simpson, the man behind the term “metrosexual,” offers the best tip of the day: “In fact, they’re most likely to be metrosexuals if you’re staring at them.”
Stereotype No3: women do not love metrosexuals
“I spoke to several women about their attitudes toward homosexuals. They told me that they did not understand such men, they wouldn’t like to date them, to say nothing about forming a long-lasting relationship,” said one of my colleagues who dislikes metrosexuals, to put it mildly.
I asked a woman, a good friend of mine, on what subjects she usually talks about with her metrosexual friend. “We talk about everything,” she answered promptly. Metrosexuals are characteristically vain – that is probably the only thing women can complain about. However, I would not say that self-complacency is reserved for metrosexuals only. Yet it is true that women cannot stand vain people.
Stereotype No4: metrosexuals are latent gays
In the good old days of the 19th century, nobody viewed dandies as gays. Back then the adjective latent was used only in medicine. Nowadays any “unmanly” act is seen with suspicion.
Here is an example. My friend, my girlfriend and I went to a cosmetic store to buy perfume for my friend’s mother. We were looking for a bottle of Chanel or Kenzo or something of the kind. After paying at the cash register, my friend handed the package to my girlfriend and asked her to carry it. She asked him why.
“I don’t want to be looked at as a fag,” explained he.
From the above point of view, metrosexuals who use cosmetics and stuff constitute a challenge to society. On the other hand, the number of gays among metrosexuals is not as high as generally thought.
One more thing. Contrary to a popular belief, metrosexuals do not look like gays, they do not speak in an affected manner.
Stereotype No5: metrosexuals are psychos
Saying that all metrosexuals are narcissistic types would be a moot statement. Times have changed since the hippies were diagnosed with schizophrenia and locked up in the loony bins (because no man in his sound mind should wear long hair when he is supposed to have a crew cut) in the Soviet Union. Besides, psychiatrists diagnose more correctly these days.
Narcissism or an excessive self-love does not occur often enough to become a cultural phenomenon. Rumor has it that metrosexuals make love in front of a mirror to enjoy the view of their bodies. Well, it is yet another myth or so they say.
Stereotype No6: Metrosexuals are a variety of those who love to pick up girls
“I dunno, maybe I’m a metrosexual too,” reads a boy’s message posted on the web forum for those who are interested in pickup activities. “I follow the latest fashion trends, and I take care of my appearance,” adds the guest. On the contrary, metrosexuals are not dressed up for picking girls up. They wear fancy clothes to produce an image in your mind, to be a sight for sore eyes. They take ultimate pleasure in being looked at. They aim to be the center of gravity. They hope to become an object of worship both for men and women in the long run. Sex is a matter of lesser importance for them.
In a sense, metrosexuality is a purely creative activity, art for the sake of art. By virtue of this aspect it can be filed next to dandyism.
Stereotype No7: all metrosexuals are moneybags
The statement is a mite dubious one too. No doubt about it, focusing on your physical appearance and wardrobe will cost your some time and money. But it will not cost you as much as fuel and maintenance for your four-wheeled monster. You cough up more to keep your PC upgraded every four months. Besides, all the money spent will pay back provided that you are a metrosexual.
Translated by Guerman Grachev