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Metrosexual is a term coined in 1994 (along with the noun, metrosexuality) by British journalist Mark Simpson, who used it to refer to an urban male of any sexual orientation who has a strong aesthetic sense and spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.
He is the fashion-conscious target audience of men's magazines:
The promotion of metrosexuality was left to the men's style press, magazines such as The Face, GQ, Esquire, Arena and FHM, the new media which took off in the 1980s and is still growing (GQ gains 10,000 new readers every month). They filled their magazines with images of narcissistic young men sporting fashionable clothes and accessories. And they persuaded other young men to study them with a mixture of envy and desire.
Some people said unkind things. American GQ, for example, was popularly dubbed "Gay Quarterly". Little wonder that all these magazines - with the possible exception of The Face - address their metrosexual readership as if none of them was homosexual or even bisexual.
Outside Britain, in its soundbite diffusion through the popular media, metrosexual has congealed into something more digestible: a heterosexual male who is in touch with his feminine side - he color coordinates, cares deeply about exfoliation, and has perhaps manscaped.
While included in the original definition, gay men are not "metrosexual" in common usage, since such interests are stereotypically considered gay. When used in this way, "metrosexuality" could be considered a type of cultural appropriation of gay culture by straight men. On the other hand, the existence of the term at all suggests an increasing awareness of the possibility that stereotypical behavior cannot be used to read a person's sexual identity.
In major urban areas such as San Francisco, Boston, NYC, and Seattle, the metrosexual may be seen as a modern day fop or dandy. Like Victorian-era gentlemen, metrosexuals are sometimes considered especially masculine in the sense that they can relate to and empathize with women in an attempt to foster a relationship (or a sexual tryst) with them.
In some circles, however, metrosexual is used to refer to a closeted gay man. This usage developed as a rejection of the idea that style-conscious men could be straight, and as a focus on the cultural cues by which gay men have sometimes been identified.
1 Evolution of usage
2 Retrosexual: The Anti-Metro
4 See also
6 External links