The new metrosexual
By VALERIE GIBSON -- Sun Media
When Elvis Viskovic's friends called him a metrosexual, he says he was puzzled.
"I didn't know what they meant," says the 28-year-old blond, a handsome bartender and aspiring actor.
"I initially thought they were saying I was gay although I'm definitely not."
But Viskovic says he was really pleased when he discovered that a metrosexual is a new buzzword that describes a young, attractive, stylish, urban heterosexual man who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.
"I see being called a metrosexual as a compliment," he adds. Voted "word of the year" in 2003 by the American Dialect Society, the metrosexual label first surfaced in 1994 when British satirist Mark Simpson invented it in an article in newspaper The Independent.
Simpson then wrote another article about them in the online magazine Salon.com in 2002 and the term took off.
In his Salon.com article Simpson explained the term.
"The typical metrosexual is a young man with money to spend, living in or within easy reach of a metropolis -- because that's where all the best shops, clubs, gyms and hairdressers are. He might be officially gay, straight or bisexual but this is utterly immaterial because he has clearly taken himself as his own love object and pleasure as his sexual preference. Particular professions, such as modelling, waiting tables, media, pop music and, nowadays, sport, seem to attract them, but like male vanity products and herpes, they're pretty much everywhere."
Summing it up less humorously, a metrosexual has changed male behaviour -- blurring the line between straight and gay behaviour and lifestyle by enthusiastically embracing the feminine side of his nature.
Hot English soccer star David Beckham is looked on as the epitome of the new metrosexual with his flamboyant lifestyle and penchant for painting his nails, wearing the latest designer clothes, (including the occasional sarong) and his trendy hair styles and highlighting.
Other famous names cited as modern metrosexuals are Brad Pitt, Adrian Brody, Guy Ritchie, Justin Timberlake, Lenny Kravitz, Ewan MacGregor, Sting, Mick Jagger and even that icon of masculinity, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who famously stated in Vanity Fair of July 2003, "I am a major shoe queen."
Viskovic says he is a huge fan of Beckham's and likes the fact they're both considered metrosexuals.
"Like him, I'm very much into taking care of myself," and says he enjoys manicures, hair and skin products, spa treatments, massages and working out regularly at the gym. He also gets his body hair waxed in summer.
Spending about $100 a month on products, Viskovic says he picks up "beauty" tips from women friends and isn't afraid to try any of them as he says that he was "clueless" about such things until recently.
The return of the perfect gentleman
"I pass this information off to various male friends and recently convinced a very "not gay" friend to get a manicure and he absolutely loved it!"
Clothing is very important to the new meterosexual. For Viskovic it means stylish, quality clothing even when casual. He loves designer or well-known labels and a favourite combination is a dress shirt with cufflinks and a quality pair of pants.
He doesn't yet own one important item though -- the "manbag" -- the name for the modern metrosexual's purse. It's supposed to hold his cell phone, wallet, keys, sunglasses, PDA, mp3 player, pen, moisturizer, hair molding paste, deodorant, gym pass and so on.
But according to Michael Flocker, author of the first published book on the trend -- The Metrosexual Guide To Style -- A Handbook For The Modern Man, (Da Capo Press), being a 21st century male trendsetter willing to embrace his feminine side isn't just about looks, grooming and possessions.
It's about leading a confident, informed lifestyle and exhibiting classy behaviour in such areas as etiquette, dining, home environment, entertainment, sex and romance.
"The way you behave and conduct youself in social situations is an indicator of your self-awareness and your level of sophistication."
After reading the book, it seems to me that what Michael Flocker is celebrating with his book, and the new movement is advocating, is the return of the perfect gentleman.
And, as a single woman bruised from the rough, callous world of dating where perfect gentlemen are very hard to find, I, for one, certainly welcome the metrosexual with open arms.
Are You a Metrosexual?
Your shower caddy holds fruit-scented body scrubs and moisturizing body
wash. They're yours, not your lady's.
Check out Val's new Web site: www.valeriegibson.com. Val's new book, Cougar: A Guide For Older Women Dating Younger Men (Key Porter, $19.95), is in bookstores now or can be ordered from: The Toronto Sun News Research Centre, 416-947-2258. Email Val at email@example.com