Males and Metrosexuality
by Karen De Coster
by Karen De Coster
There has been lots of chatter, lately, about metrosexual maleness. According to the latest TV shows, feminized men and queers are necessary to direct poor, blighted, heterosexual guys to the nearest stylish closet and shave, and queers are the only ones who "get it" when it comes to overall trend-setting and lifestyle enhancement. Got a date? Ask a queer how to dress and pick out the wine. Does your house look like Oscar Madison's? Ask a queer how to decorate it.
The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy TV charade is the latest show to sing the praises of this mindset. I have watched a few episodes, and I note it distinctly intends to belittle the straight male, and it essentially portrays this: pervasive "homophobia," lack of personal taste, inability to perform simple functions, and a lesser penchant for the quality items in life. Am I missing something else that straight males are supposedly not capable of? The show even blatantly derides the hetero man's knowledge of women. In other words, let the queer guy show them what women want and need.
Queer Eye, in fact, makes a point of portraying the hetero male as an exaggerated version of what we know men to generally be like. The hapless victims on this show don't even know where to shop for clothes, don't understand how to fill a refrigerator, and surely can't pick out a restaurant capably enough for an upcoming date. In the queer eye, it's everything that is wrong with the red-blooded, American male. They're too manly, darn it!
First, some observable truths. Homosexual men do generally tend toward the aesthetically spectacular. Gardens, interior decorating, home stylishness, artsy-fartsy this or that, fashionable hair and clothes, and all other such items tend to fall onto their radar map. Heterosexual men are more likely to eschew all the superfluous trimmings for that which is simpler, for that which works in the here-and-now. The basic nature of the male is likely to be "What is the most hassle-free way from here to there?"
If Hollywood has the perception that some men are eternal slobs without a penchant for housekeeping, picking up socks, stocked refrigerators, patio décor, or drapery styles, why keep harping on it? The unmistakable biological differences need not be reinforced here. Men are intrinsically warrior-like, and not always gentle and soft. They want practical before beautiful. They need necessary before accessory. They apply themselves in a no-nonsense capacity, blowing through the stop signs, instead of taking the scenic view with various stops along the way. Heteros are more likely to be business executives, bricklayers, or tuning hotrod engines, whereas homosexuals typically desire less aggressive work. Likely, there are genetic differences inherent in homosexuality, as has been suggested by scientists. Where this emphasis takes a wrong turn is when a sense of homosexual superiority — as versus hetero male helplessness — is flaunted as a way to make it more palatable and accepted to the mainstream. That is the sort of in-your-face political correctness that most of us are worn-out on.
After all, how many endowments — at opposite ends of the spectrum — do we expect men to have? Do we expect them to be hair connoisseurs, fashion designers, handymen, scientists, builders, artists, romantic singers, athletes, leaders, and warriors? With a little sensitive male thrown into the mix as well?
Men that are made out to be bungling boobs in terms of finesse and good judgment are merely being subjected to anti-heterosexual, male vilification. In any case, there can be nothing "diverse" about a hetero, white male who marries, raises children, and shuns earrings and the Boy Toy look. Welcome to the new, diverse society. Sure, everyone botches things peculiarly at times, and we can stereotype groups of folks, but why the constant denigration of rugged, hetero men?
In fact, heterosexual men are okay to beat up. They are America's only unprotected, minority group. All men are necessarily Al Bundy in need of a "queer eye" to restore their dignity. However, take into account how many of these supposed "blue collar-type slobs" restore classic cars to painstaking perfection; refurbish antiques and furniture; carry out fabulous woodworking and carpentry; and generally create, invent, and build much of the aesthetic beauty we surround ourselves with daily.
For instance, attend a classic car show and approach the hundreds of shining, perfectly-restored beauties that have come under the handiwork of these "dupes," and you'll see immaculate craftsmanship that few women or queer eyes could ever equal. From bumper to bumper, these men have just applied their neatness and creative ability in different ways that are not only taken for granted nowadays, but condemned. Say goodbye to Black & Decker and Snap-On, and say hello to the Abercrombie and Fitch genderless look.
But it is not to say that men who enjoy the more extravagant side of life can be deemed "metrosexual." Heterosexual men have long been doing this sort of thing which is now being credited to the new, "hip," queer, or feminized male. I believe that part of what is being called metrosexual nowadays is actually old-fashioned decency and manners, with changes made to mirror the modern fads. Since when is it preening or upscale for a man to exercise good hygiene, dress, and habits? Dress slacks, fine shoes, and uppermost suits do not belong in the metrosexual domain exclusively. Homosexuals haven't created this "look"; it's just that men have gotten away from certain grooming habits over time, and consequently, standards for appearance have been lowered. Cultural know-it-alls are merely taking traditional male habits and crediting homosexuals with evolving them to conform to politically correct times.
Alas, men with good hygiene and dress habits are appealing. A proper shave, clipped ears and noses, neat fingernails, and body hygiene are all attractive assets. Why would anyone deny that? There is nothing feminine or "metrosexual" about it. Moreover, some of these contemporary, male fashions are marvelous. It's great to see men dressing and grooming admirably again. Hats and suspenders are back; why did they ever go away? Great-looking sandals, jackets, and a dozen different cuts of jeans — something for every man who desires to show off his fineness. I see men with great haircuts everywhere, and I like the way young and older men are wearing facial hair. Just disregard the awful frosted tips and highlights, please.
It's not "gay" or feminine to want to exploit youth or good looks through fashion or pruning. We all have our shortcomings — male and female — and should we choose to improve them, it can only be of benefit to us and those we are trying to impress.
Conversely, some men prefer be rough-around-the-edges, untreated, or otherwise lax. They don't have the knack for dress, and sometimes hygiene, and never will. While I grant that perhaps this can be unattractive, and open to subjective criticism, the point is, there is nothing about it that is indicative of helplessness or inferiority to a "queer eye." It is simply a part of human characteristics that we accept if we are willing to accept individuality within the human race.
In the end, I'm advocating the view that queer or feminized men have nothing over heterosexual men, as Hollywood and the PC-Diversity crowd would like us to believe. I also consider it absurd to think that men who are snappy dressers, fashion-conscious, and exacting about hygiene and habits can be branded in some new category as "metrosexual."
The conventional male is on the receiving end of a hatchet-job from the pop-culture elites. I find the whole move toward transforming the male role to conform to current, TV-driven fads to be both nauseating and ineffective. It's only serving to back first-rate, otherwise positive men into a corner, and making them ever more defensive about their role in this avant-garde whirlwind of confusing expectations and demands.
September 22, 2003
Karen De Coster, CPA, [send her mail] is a libertarian freelance writer, graduate student in Austrian Economics, and a business professional from Michigan. Her first book is still in the works. See her Mises Institute archive for more online articles, and check out her website
Copyright © 2003 Karen De Coster