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Tuesday , December 14, 2010
WORKED UP SO METROSEXUAL
Here's the funniest query I've gotten so far: "How do I turn my boyfriend into a metrosexual? I love my boyfriend, but he could use a makeover. All he ever wears are t-shirts, baggy jeans and baseball hats! It's so boring!"
Well, usually I'm all Pollyanna against the idea of changing your significant other: "When you love someone, you love them for who they are, not what they look like," blah blah blah. But that's boring, and especially unproductive for a weblog such as this. First of all, do you really want to "turn" your boyfriend into a metrosexual? Are you sure you want to be arguing with your honey over whether or not he swiped your Estee Lauder retinol-based skin refinisher? Or having a discussion on whether or not you should include the cost of splitting the Creme de la Mer moisturizer along with rent and utilities if you live together? Or getting mad at him on a shopping trip when he wants to fondle bootcut jeans appreciatively when you just want to head to housewares? Think carefully about embarking on this project, young grasshopper, because I don't want to hear from you within a year when you're telling me all about the self-help/recovery book you wrote called Metrosexuals and the Women Who Loved Them.
That said, I assume you've read all the articles on metrosexuality; you're well-acquainted with this seeming phenomenon of straight urbane men who are into fashion, enjoy expensive skin care and love shoes just like those urbane chicks on "Sex and the City." (And those dandies in 19th century Europe and America, although our skincare is better than theirs, no doubt.) I assume you've made sure your boyfriend is fulfilling the "straight" requirement of the definition. (If not, I think you may need to question on the "boyfriend" part of your missive, not the "metrosexual".) And I assume you've taken care of the cajoling, needling, subtle manipulation, bribing and other sensitive yet assertive communication skills you'll need to get your boyfriend to follow this new aesthetic direction. Now all you need is the fashion part of the equation. If you can't wait till the next episode of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," which is essentially the metrosexual finishing school, then hopefully the following bits and pieces will get you on your way. (The "Queer Eye" website does have a section for Hints & Tips. My favorite: "Spa treatments are expensive, but you know what's more expensive? Divorce.")
Bottoms are what separate the metrosexuals from the old-school machismo. A metrosexual goes as tight as possible; none of this mid-90s baggy crap anymore! No more baggy anything, in fact, whether in jeans or slacks. Even hip-hop superstars are going for a narrower silhouette, as evidenced by Pharrell of the Neptunes at the CFDA Awards. (And if he balks, just ravage him when he's wearing a tight pair of jeans, swooning "Those jeans! Those jeans!" and he'll probably run out and buy six more, one for every day of the week.) Make sure the leg isn't too long so it cleanly hits the top of the foot, otherwise the whole line is ruined and no one will see the beautiful Prada or Premiata shoes you'll no doubt make him invest in. If that's too much for him, just start off with the typically hip trainer in the shoe department. Baby steps, my friend, baby steps.
SHIRTS AND JACKETS
The no-bagginess statute applies here as well. There's a reason why Hedi Slimane, the esteemed menswear designer, has renewed his deal with Dior: his narrow, sleek jacket with the narrow, high armhole are the gold standard. The tailoring on those Dior suits is precise and lithe, and you'll be able to swipe his jacket every now and then for yourself when he isn't throwing it over a hoodie. Shirts should be as fitted as possible in general; tucking in or out becomes less of an issue when a shirt has a fairly fitted shape. Nothing is more sloppy than a big ol' shirt left untucked.
A true metrosexual is devoted to his hair. He has a stylist, not a barber, whom he consults and who probably administers a relaxing head-and-neck massage, which is the real reason why he likes going to get his hair cut so much. He's into expensive haircare, probably something like Frederic Fekkai for Men, as well as minimalist styling products by KMS and M.O.P and other initials. Here is where a metrosexual can be moved to excess, so withhold the gel unless you want him to look like George Hamilton, and get him to shift to something like KMS Configure Cream or a light pomade. Soon he'll start dreaming about straightening treatments and bemoaning bad hair days, and you'll have a monster on your hands as you fight over the last bit of Terax hair conditioner in the shower.
First of all, don't say "beauty products" because your budding metrosexual will freak out and regress into a monstrous lack of grooming. Shaving is something he'll already have down (I hope), but he'll probably want to acquire more accoutrements for this routine: brushes, after-shave toners, pre-shave treatments. What you may need to ease him into is skincare such as masks and peels, which in my experience is the final frontier of metrosexuality (along with manicures and pedicures.) He probably won't go for the more European or girlier lines if he's a beginner, so scratch out anything by Benefit, Decleor, Chanel, Bloom, Bliss, Fresh, Astara, etc. All the dermatologist-created lines (DDF, Murad, Peter Thomas Roth) are good, and have the appropriate minimalist graphics with nary a pink flower or fancy French script on the packaging. And like every women's magazine says on the topic, be sure he wears sunscreen! Some things should be gender-neutral, and sun protection is one of them.
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