Mark Simpson's Metrosexual Reflections


By Mark Simpson

'Straight lads are such bloody tarts now,' my mate Farmer Dave observed, gazing at a young skimpily-but-nicely-turned-out man, past my shoulder.

'And it's all your fault.'
A warm summer evening last year and we were enjoying a pint of mild outside a pub in the rural market town in the North East of England -- let's call it "Trumpton" -- where I now live. In the big metropolis, far, far away, it was Gay Pride. But we didn't feel we were missing out too much.'
That's because although we were hundreds of country miles away from all that oiled-up action, thanks to the triumph of metrosexual pride in the Noughties, we had plenty to look at. The cream of the local lads, in their fake tans, fashionably complicated jeans, sculpted hair, Soho beards, figure-hugging shirts and intricate, muscle-flattering designer tatts, were showing one another -- and me and Dave -- their hard-earned biceps, pecs and abs.'

A decade and a half after I first wrote about metrosexuals in the Independent newspaper in 1994, and eight years after I returned to the subject in 2002 for the American online magazine -- this time actually persuading the rest of the world to notice them too -- rather a lot of straight boys are better at the "gay" thing than most gays these days. They're not terrified of something that might look a bit "girly/" All they care about, along with half of today's Premier League, is looking hot.

Nor is it just a metropolitan thing anymore. Even in Trumpton these days far too many young straight men have better bodies, better skin, better clothes and just a better sense of male sexiness. At the end of the first decade of the Twenty First Century, metrosexuality, the male desire to be desired -- by everyone, including and sometimes especially by other men -- once regarded as pathological, perverted and definitely something to keep to yourself, is so commonplace as to be almost "normal." Perhaps even -- eek! -- ordinary.'

In fact, in their quest to be noticed in a webcamed, Facebooked world where so many young men seem to be aiming to be the next Men's Health cover model, they have gone beyond metrosexual to become positively metrotarty. Hence all that sporno advertising of late involving Beckham and other sporting bucks, semi-naked on the side of buses shoving their Armani-clad giant packets down our throats.