As readers of this column know, I have been on a metrosexuality quest for many years. As with all great quests, there must be an obstacle. In this case, the obstacle is not knowing exactly what metrosexuality is.
My other problem is that I am genetically pre-metrosexual. By the time the metrosexual concept came into vogue, any plasticity in my brain (the ability to rewire) was gone, hardened like a giant beetle dried in the sun. This mental hardness has created a metrosexual handicap: my fashion sense was hardwired at 14 — khakis, blue oxford button-down shirts, polo shirts, docksiders, blazers with an occasional splash of color in a tie or on a belt. While I have worn open-toed sandals, and have the photos to prove it, I must admit I have never considered laser hair-removal on my thighs.
However, I have discovered another route to metrosexuality, a shortcut, if you will, I will call “perceived metrosexuality.” Sociologists with lots of initials after their names are unable to wrap a tight definition around the term metrosexual, but I have observed enough of the edges, examples of what is and what isn’t metrosexuality, to have determined with confidence there are five steps to achieve my new goal of perceived metrosexuality.
1) Attitude: metrosexuality is like Zen Buddhism. By meditating and frequently using certain terms, such as koan (a nonsensical riddle of great import), zendo (where one practices Zen) and nibennori (leaving the zendo for the toilet), one can give the appearance of transcendence and spirituality without technically possessing either — an approach that results in considerably less wear and tear on one’s ego.
This attitude adjustment was what made it clear to me that I don’t want to be a metrosexual; I just want to be perceived as one. If you think you are a metrosexual, you will carry yourself as one even though you’re not sure what that means. Believing in oneself is the key.
2) Clothes: select one “approved” outfit out of GQ or Esquire, something like Stitch’s Onyx denim jeans, a white cotton shirt by Armani, and a black BOSS Orange ‘Jomi’ trim fit lambskin leather jacket — and wear it in perpetuity.
3) Aromas: personal body smells are important to the practicing metrosexual — not the smells of others, but his own. Rather than bothering to experiment with and learn all about the colognes and sprays and spritzer options, I find that shampooing every other day with an apricot-scented product provides a satisfactorily mysterious aroma aura.
4) Makeup: a metrosexual’s makeup objectives are different from a woman’s. A woman wants to maximize her beauty; a metrosexual wants to maximize his, well, metrosexuality, as tautological as that sounds. Remember, there’s a fine line between metrosexual macho and geek chic. A minimum makeup suggestion would be aftershave, eye gels and wrinkle erasers. And, a romance author friend of mine points out that a little smudged eyeliner goes a long way — perceptually speaking.
5) Palate: a true metrosexual has a discriminating or “refined” palate, one that takes years to cultivate. However, a perceived metrosexual need only focus on a few general terms that, when uttered, will evoke head nods from listeners that signify “he knows what he’s talking about.” Suggestions to consider would be en papillote (cooking in parchment), rouille (a rust-colored sauce of olive oil, breadcrumbs, garlic, saffron and chili peppers) and locavores (people who only eat food grown locally — a big term in San Francisco that, in turn, is a major metrosexual hangout).
Caution: Many who would pose as a metrosexual rattle off a lexicon of fine wine terms, but being a wine connoisseur is now considered pretentious and passé in true metrosexual gatherings, which is lucky for me as I was never much of a wine drinker, though I did know enough not to bring a screw top bottle to a dinner party or wine with a handwritten label or with a name that began with “Bob’s ___.”
That’s it. You now have sufficient wherewithal to tiptoe sure-footedly through today’s metrosexual milieu. I’ll be watching.
This Week's Thought-Byte: Honesty is always the best policy except in the world of personal grooming.