Yesterday, my near-adult daughter asked if I considered myself a metrosexual. By the tone of the question, I knew I had to be careful with my answer. She said it was a new term describing not so macho men, but she was, at the time, eating a fine fish I had just grilled and served over a winter vegetable compot, so maybe she thought cooking was not a manly art.
I basically dodged her question, but decided to put my thoughts down for you guys to ponder. Almost immediately there is a confluence of contradictions. Microsoft Word does not recognize the term ‘metrosexual’ probably because it’s so new, yet I haven’t heard it used in five years. So to me the presumed metrosexual craze has come and gone. Or at least the identification of the craze as ‘metrosexual.'
When I gave Wikipedia a chance to remind me what it meant, things got worse. The definitions provided go on and on about men turning into shopaholics and man-scaping experts. Really? Maybe that’s why I hated the term so. In my mind, a metrosexual was a man who did not feel the need to posture as some macho brute to prove his manhood. He was comfortable on Park Avenue as well as in Yellowstone Park. He could play in both worlds. Accepting my mistake, I will direct this column at the definition I have acknowledged from the beginning. The man comfortable in two worlds.
At one point, I actually enjoyed the thought that there was now a term to distinguish men who appreciate literature or art or cooking from many of the sad souls I grew up with whose idea of manhood was dead wildlife, cold beer and Larry the Cable Guy on video.
But there is no denying that the term itself often makes one think that it is describing a male living in some gray land mid-point between heterosexuality and homosexuality. Though I am personally proud to admit my affinity for less blood, more wine, I could never adjust to being called a metrosexual. Maybe it was because too many folks thought it meant something I was definitely not…. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
This same Wiki article described David Beckham and Brad Pitt as poster boys for the metrosexual movement. Again, I got that wrong, too. To me, they are just pretty boys who are attractive to women and attracted to flashbulbs.
I always felt that Sean Connery, as James Bond, was the uber-metrosexual. If you can remember back to the scene in the movie Goldfinger where James was meeting with ‘M,’ Sean Connery, on his own, crossed his legs at the knee, a very feminine gesture at the time. Throughout the balance of the movie, he proceeded to one up and rough up every nefarious male he encountered while ordering his champagne by the vintage and seducing Ms. P. Galore in a hay stack. Feel free to read that last sentence again.
When I lived in New York, a good friend of mine who spent summer weekends in Southampton would return from the beach and make a gourmet meal for up to a dozen of us every night. Not burgers and beer, but something fine. His suits were from London and his girlfriend the hottest woman on the beach. And he had recently killed a Kodiak bear with one shot, making an awesome rug. Now that, my friends, is how I define metrosexual. That’s also about the time I decided to learn to cook.
Recently, I read an article about the Middleton Hunting Club near Charleston, SC. It’s very exclusive. I hope to be invited some day. These bird hunters do it with classic panache, including big pre-hunt breakfasts and buckboards pulled by mules. They wear high-end camouflage from head to toe, but on the infrequent occasion that a woman is in the hunting party, they are obligated to wear a necktie all day. Metrosexuals? I rather doubt it. Renaissance men more like it. In fact, that’s a complimentary term for an open minded man I can get my head around; Renaissance man. Sounds worldly and smart, but clearly talking about men, and does not confuse lifestyles with all that sex verbiage.
Call me that. Call me a Renaissance Man. Thank you very much.