posted on January 20, 2012 00:00
I blame the eighties.
It was a time when men sported eyeliner, stone-washed jeans and neon accessories, and women donned massive shoulder pads velcroed into their blazers. Miami Vice, Prince and Boy George gender-bent masculinity in the name of high-fashion, while Dynasty and Madonna implored women to express themselves with gaudy jewelry and the proclamation they were as worthy of wealth and status within the workplace as men (an exercise in women’s lib I sometimes wonder if they secretly regret).
To those infatuated with the musical contributions of the era, stop. You are celebrating a novelty. I’m man enough to admit that I enjoy more than a few George Michael tracks, but the majority of 80’s music sucked and we all know it.
It was the age of androgyny. And while many among us were either unborn, too young, or too busy snorting lines in night club restrooms to remember how fucked up it all was, some still cling to its fundamental flaw, which is the denial of our own sexuality. Pop culture created the illusion that being just a man or just a woman was not enough...we needed to be both.
In this way, the 1980’s live on. I’m talking about you, Metrosexuals. And though I kid my friend Matt Sebek – self-proclaimed as “one of the world’s nerdiest metrosexuals” – aside from a hearty passion for hair product, I don’t see the correlation. Nerd? Absolutely. Metrosexual…in my opinion, not really.
The problem with writing an article of this nature is that no one man has a lease on style, and therefore no man has the right to define it for others. But, in my humble opinion, recognizing the differences inherent to men and women just makes good sense.
This is why the whole “metrosexual” phenomenon baffles me. It is typically a woman’s inclination is to emphasize the packaging of the product, while relying upon her discerning eye to interpret the subtleties of men, because we are not wired to do so. They masterfully scrutinize everything from our style of dress, to our smiles and facial expressions, to our body language and mannerisms. Why more women do not play poker, I will never understand.
Men, on the other hand, even at their most attentive, seldom delve as deep. This is why I can’t understand why so many men – many of them friends of mine – fail to realize the pointlessness of enhancing themselves with layer upon layer of commerce and cosmetics, fashion and trendiness. I know more than a few who think spray tanning is the answer for something.
Spray tanning is never the answer.
Even if a woman’s initial interpretation of your excess is incorrect, it is usually done with such blistering speed that it, more often than not, leads to a swift dismissal. By trying so hard, you basically render yourself into one of those little picture books with the thick cardboard pages.
If my small and comparatively futile man-brain serves me with any degree of accuracy, the book reads something like this:
*Interest piqued* OMG, look at him! He’s hot! I like his (insert trendy fashion statement). And what a cute, shiny shirt he’s wearing! I do like shiny things. Nice shoes, too. And his hair is so, uh, sculpted. Not a strand is out of place! LOL Everything is shiny and in place, actually. I bet he’s successful! Money is great for buying shiny things. And his eyebrows are perfect. And he’s so tan! Even in January! He’s way more tan than I am. He cares a lot about his looks. That’s a good thing…right? I mean, I care a lot about my looks, too. But he definitely cares about his. Wow. He might care about his looks even more than I care about mine. He might care about my looks even more than I care about mine. Maybe I should care more about my looks. He probably won’t even notice me. He probably won’t think I’m pretty. Damn it. I knew I shouldn’t have worn this outfit. I look fat. I look like a fat pig in this outfit. I look like a fat, pasty pig in this outfit. I look like a fat, pasty pig with awful eyebrows in this outfit. I wish I looked more like (insert hot friend’s name). My (insert physical feature) is way too (insert adjective). And my (insert other physical features) are way too (insert adjective). He’s not interested in me. He’ll just try to sleep with me and then he’ll be cruel to me. What an asshole. Who does he think he is? I’m hot. I’m totally hot. Aren’t I hot? Yes, I’m hot. And I have an amazing personality. But he’s totally wrapped up in himself. What an asshole. He’ll probably end up screwing (insert slutty friend’s name). She’s such a slut. He’s not even that hot. And I’m way prettier than she is. He’s probably awful in bed. He’s totally trying to compensate for his (the only place penis is being inserted this evening). What a loser. LOL *Interest rescinded*
The real issue here is not the shiny shirt or meticulously-groomed eyebrows worthy of Nana status. She quite possibly digs everything about your style, your dress, your “swag”, if you will, but in opting to obsess over your appearance and to put forth – I’m just going to say it – an unmanly effort, you have denied her the opportunity to do exactly what she hopes you might do for her, which is like her for who she is. And, perhaps more importantly, for who she is not.
The thing is, she welcomes your flaws (most of them, at least) because your acceptance of your own imperfections allows her to accept her own in your presence. The beauty of this is that she is probably more accepting than you will ever even aspire to be. And you should probably appreciate her for it, because it is the only way she can move on in any direction with you knowing the reality is that you are incessantly searching for the most perfect, physical manifestations of femininity. A nice, round ass...a pretty, symmetrical face...shapely hips and tits…just to name a few.
Ultimately, she wants to believe that you are capable of becoming fixated upon more than her exterior. For she knows what we men often disregard, that those qualities will one day vanish in her, but also in you. And let's face it, that they are attracted to us to begin with is a miracle.
So forget about the fact that waxing any part of your body whatsoever and buying only designer jeans with ornate stitching on the pockets should have died along with WHAM! in the spring of ’86, and remember what it really says to her when you are so painstakingly absorbed in your own image.
J. Adams is the creator of InsideSTL's Man Hole section, covering health & fitness, sex & women, local businesses and whatever else he wants to, sucka. Follow him on twitter via @Intangiball and/or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org