Life beyond the navy blazer & Khaki pants
By Kevin Faris
Every few years, like a swarm of locusts, there is some sort of new demographic clique or group that comes into prominence. If the general public is lucky this new faction will feature some sort of cute name. Remember when the Yuppies, a.k.a. Young Urban Professionals, were going to take over the world? What about Buppies, their African-American counterparts. The last presidential election introduced us to the wonderful world of “Soccer Moms,” which have of course now segued into “NASCAR Dads.” Generation X, Generation Y, Tweens, Twentysomethings, Thritysomethings, we all know the story and we have seen the Time and Newsweek covers. Like any sort of cultural evolution, or, for some of out more narrow-minded readers, cultural creationism, when one of these demographics fades away a new one is created. As the year 2003 veers toward 2004, the newest group to fill this void has stepped forward. America, are you ready to be metro sexy?
Me-tro-sex-u-al. Noun. Straight men living in urban, metropolitan settings who are embracing their feminine side.
Welcome to the wonderful world of metrosexuals. Confused, you don’t need to be. Being a metrosexual is actually not that complicated. Simply take everything that you think is stereotypical about being a woman and apply it to a straight man. The metrosexual man is the lawyer women see at the salon, getting his tips done or putting some streaks into his hair. Lexington metrosexual Bill Hagan gets his hair cut every three weeks at the Hairport, but dodges the profile when he says he skips product. He says he never diets, but keeps fit by cooking, and eschewing fast food and junk food-but acknowledges that he does have “a killer brownie recipe.” His shoes of choiceCole Haan.
The metrosexual is the CPA on his cell phone next to you getting a pedicure. He is the school teacher at the cocktail party commenting on your shoes, because, well, he really likes your shoes. He is the husband that politely reminds you to lay off the carbs, because you all are in this Atkins diet together. He knows the meaning of the word “facial” outside of the context of a Jenna Jameson movie. He shops at the Banana Republic, wears Prada sunglasses, and even enjoys a good night out at the local art gallery. Hagan continues, “for clothing I shop almost exclusively at Lazarus or Dillard’s, but I really wish J Peterman would open a new store in town.” The metrosexual man knows how to “zhush” his hair and his sleeves. They would not mind if the Fab Five from Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy showed up, but to be honest, they really do not need the help. There’s even a book on the subject, THE METROSEXUAL GUIDE TO STYLE: A Handbook for the Modern Man.
Patrick Kelly is interim executive director for the Lexington Art League (the perfect job for any MetroLexual). He gets his hair cut at Trademark and swears he’s never had a bad cut in 12 years. As a cook, he leans towards southern-style fair (like fried green tomatoes) and mentions his own recipe for “pork chops braised in orange juice with garlic.” He says he’s “never met a carb I didn’t like,” but has no interest in diets. He says he’s put on a few pounds, as his current job leaves a little less time for the athletic activities he enjoys, but vows, “I will make sure to be back in shape for snowboarding season.” As for footwear, he can’t compete with the ladies on volume, but does say, “I prefer to wear Tevas and own four pair of Vasque hiking boots.
A common misconception about a man that worries about his weight, relaxes with a manicure or pedicure, enjoys shopping, and has his eyebrows “done” is that he, well, might be less of a man. In the case of the metrosexual, nothing could be further from the truth. These men are men, no doubt about it. Their club includes well known celebrities such as Governor elect Arnold Schwazzeneger, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and the metrosexual icon, English soccer star David Beckham. These men are not homosexual, although they all agree that there is nothing wrong with that. They still enjoy a beer, although it may be imported, and a ball game, although they might prefer to sit in a luxury suite.
For the most part, Lexington is usually a bit behind the times. The next big thing is usually just the next thing by the time it reaches the Bluegrass. The metrosexuals, however, do not fall into this category. Although the textbook definition of a metrosexual includes living in urban areas, they are not confined by these borders. According to studies, (and yes there are studies on this,) Hollywood, and the fact that many of the “stars” there exhibit these metro qualities, you can see the imitation of and the experimentation among men in many smaller cities as well. Lexington would be one of those smaller cities and the metrosexual population is alive and well.
Where exactly might one find metrosexuals in the Central Kentucky area? Well, let’s think. Where in Lexington would you go to see and be seen? Where in Lexington do you see the beautiful people? If you guessed Keeneland, you would be right. Every Spring and every Fall, for four short weeks, Keeneland opens its gate to thoroughbred racing and anyone with $3 can come down and check it out. Some people go to bet the ponies. Some people go to drink some beer. Some people go to show off their new outfit, new shoes, or new hat. Some of these people are women, but increasingly several of them are men.
The last Friday at Keeneland featured weather that was not the best. Cold and rainy is not the climate for debuting the latest trend. Who can see that new tight Kenneth Cole shirt underneath a rain coat. With that in mind, the crowds were sparse. A Friday afternoon was not the time for a fashion show, especially when crowding into the interior of the track to stay warm. Saturday was a different story. With a University of Kentucky football game at 7pm, it was a day tailor made for the Lexington Daily Double: Keeneland and Football. The metrosexuals were on parade. They are easy to spot. One of the first clues is to look for the “product” in the hair. A little “Rough Paste” through your locks is a must if you are looking to impress not just the ladies, but your fellow metros. Because we all know how tough of an audience they can be. A mixture of tight button down shirts, tailored to show off your work at the gym, is unbuttoned just enough to let people know that yes, you are secure enough in your masculinity to have your chest waxed. The Prada shades hide eyes with pencil thin eyebrows and never, ever, under no circumstances, a unibrow.
The nice thing about the metros, is that they are not limited to any one segment of the population. It makes someone proud to live in the melting pot we call America to know that any man can be in a group of men who act a lot like women. African-American Metros are just as prevalent on any trip to the track. Unlike their Caucasian counterpart, they do not use the product in their hair. In fact, they oftentimes do not have hair in which to use product. A clean-shaven dome seems to be a must for this metro. Think Taye Diggs or Tyrese and you have an idea of what the African-American metro brings to the table.
True to their names, metrosexuals are also prevalent in Lexington’s downtown area, usually perusing the wine list at the newest trendy dining spot, to which they flock like well-dressed flies to extremely trendy shit. Cheapside Bar and Grill on a Friday afternoon is teeming with metros, fresh off a hard week’s work and ready to compliment a lady on her purse, which they read was all the rage in New York this season. They attend the Gallery Hops, not for the free drinks, but because they truly are interested in art. They buy fresh vegetables at the Farmer’s Market to prepare a homemade dish for their special lady, a homemade dish that their special lady can probably not prepare on her own. This is exemplified by Kelley, “I enjoy cooking, but usually only cook when there is someone else around. Some of my best recipes are southern dishes such as fried green tomatoes, green beans, shepard’s pie, blueberry pancakes, and chocolate chip cookies (all made from scratch).” And just as well with Hagan, “I do cook and I enjoy making desserts.”
And it is not just Keeneland and downtown. You cannot take a step without some metrosexual reminding you not to step on his freshly shined shoes. Fayette Mall? Banana Republic is pretty much their clothing headquarters. Rupp Arena? If the Wildcats are going to look good on the court, you may as well look good in the stands. Wal-Mart? OK. You may be safe at Wal-Mart, which seems to be metrosexual free.
It is nice, for once, for Lexington to be right there on the cutting edge when it comes to the latest trends. If your cousin from NewYork or Los Angeles comes to visit, feel safe in your knowledge that you can proudly point out our beautiful horse farms, championship caliber basketball, and of course, our growing metrosexual population.
How to be a Lexington Metrosexual
By Kristen Hoffman
Are you a man who stands looking in the mirror perplexed as to why your hair, with nothing but water in it, looks nothing like Brad Pitt’s? Do you wish you could do something about that chapped skin you get in the winter? Frustrated that all your clothes seem to come from Fayette Mall? Would you like to feel more attractive but just don’t think it’s possible? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should continue reading because you may be a Lexington Metrosexual.
We all know that Lexington doesn’t have all the resources that large cities such as New York or L.A. have to offer, but don’t worry. I’ll show you how easy and fun it is to become a Lexington Metrosexual. It doesn’t mean changing your whole lifestyle and it definitely doesn’t mean losing any of your masculinity. In fact, giving in to your more traditionally feminine longings will only make you more appealing to the opposite sex. You may not be able to “Bend It Like Beckham” but now you can “Wear It Like Beckham.” The 20th century was full of women’s liberation movements. It is Man’s turn now. Don’t be afraid to borrow from the more appealing customs in a woman’s lifestyle. Give your masculinity a makeover.
Lever 2000 doesn’t have to be for all your 2000 parts! The skin on your face deserves some special treatment and now men have many great options. Neutrogena has launched a whole men’s skin care line with 3 stages: Wash, Shave, and Treat. These products will help improve your skin and they smell great too. Check them out on their website www.neutrogena.com or look for them at your local store. For a step up, try out some Kiehl’s skin care products. Many of Kiehl’s products are unisex and they have recently launched a men’s product line that includes shaving cream, after-shave moisturizer and hand salve. These products are available online at www.kiehls.com or stop by Sak’s Fifth Avenue next time you are in Cincinnati. And for the ultimate in skin care, try a facial at a beauty salon. Local beauty salons such as Hair & Now and Posh offer facials customized specifically for men.
You know the saying “size doesn’t matter”? Although debatable on some topics, this is definitely true with hair. It is not important how much hair you have, rather how you use it. The beauty of a beauty salon is that there are hair specialists who know which hairstyle will look best on you. To start off, call your local beauty salon, such as Planet Salon, Posh, or Hair & Now to set up an appointment with a stylist recommended for a male haircut. At your appointment, let the stylist know how much time you are willing to spend getting ready at home as well as the amount of product you feel comfortable using. American Crew is one popular line of men’s grooming products and you can check out their wide variety of products at www.americancrew.com. Many of today’s stylish cuts will require some hair product, but this does not mean you will be left with hair so stiff it can withstand a hurricane. Even natural looks may require some control and texture to look good.
When it comes to developing your clothing style, slow and steady wins the race. To begin your life as a metrosexual, you do not need to purchase an entire new wardrobe. A few key additions to your closet will go a long way as long as you know what to buy. Reading Esquire or GQ will keep you up to date on men’s fashion through its articles and advertisements. Pay attention not only to the brands, but also to the styles of clothes you find yourself attracted to. If you like a Faconnable shirt but cannot afford it, that’s OK. Just go out and find a similar style at The Gap or Banana Republic. Also, make sure you update the most versatile parts of your wardrobe first, namely jeans, coats and shoes. These items can be worn often and with many different shirts and accessories. Plus, wearing an Armani sweater has minimal impact if paired with tapered jeans tucked in to some Timberlands. I recommend splurging on a pair of stylish jeans and matching them with less expensive shirts and accessories. This way you are able to keep up with current fashions without breaking the bank or looking too trendy. Check out www.shop603.com or www.yoox.com to browse some of the latest styles.
Metrosexuals just want to have fun! Once you’re skin is looking good, you’ve got your new hairstyle and a new pair of Seven jeans, its time to go out on the town. Try something new or something you previously were embarrassed to admit you wanted to do. Start your date out by perusing an art gallery and end up at a restaurant with character, such as a la Lucie’s or Le Deauville. Get away from the peanut shells sometimes for a trendy environment such as the bars at Annabelle’s or Bellini’s. Going out to your old Lexington hangouts is still essential, as long as you are open and aware of what is happening around town. No matter where he is, the Lexington Metrosexual wants to be there, is looking good, and is proud of it.
There is no formula to becoming a Lexington Metrosexual. The vital ingredient is adding things to your life that make you feel good. It is a gradual process that eventually opens your eyes to many new and exciting ways to express yourself. Metrosexualism is about indulging in yourself and showing you care about your mind and body. Have fun with it and show your Metrosexual pride!