The Return of the Manly Man
October 05 2007 10:40 AM EST
February 05 2015 9:27 PM EST
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 for years!
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.