The Return of the Manly Man
By Nick Burns
Gay men have been enjoying a return to manly men for quite some time.
Just walk through the Castro or Eighth Avenue in Manhattan and count
the number of boys sporting v-neck t-shirts with bits of hair sprouting
from their chest. And look at the always-unbuttoned Tom Ford. Granted, it's not in the overgrown man-sweater style
of Tom Selleck in the 80s (unless you hit up the leather bar), but more
of a clipped and trimmed look that you can run your fingers through
without fear of losing a finger in the hairy jungle. And the return of
beards and stubble? The bear community has been sporting those looks
Gay men were also pioneers of the metrosexual movement. According
to some theorists, the hairless, plucked and polished male
image started in the '80s when HIV hit the scene. Gay men, in an attempt
to shun the pervasive "Chelsea clone" image of jeans, boots and beards
that referenced a more sexually liberated time, shaved off their hair
because they wanted to look younger and therefore healthy. And Voila! A
few years later, the heteros took the bait and followed suit.
While the bare-chested metro look is still pervasive in the gay and straight
comunities, the slow and steady return to five o'clock
shadows, beards, mustaches, and chest hair has been happening for years. Even some of the lumberjack
fashions of the Chelsea clone appeared on major runways in recent years
(Do you remember Dsquared's lumberjack moment for their Fall 2004 collection?). So, it's the '70s all
over again... with gay men still leading the pack.
So, thanks for joining the party, heteros! Better late than never, I guess.