Is the Metrosexual an Endangered Species?

The term “metrosexual” gained lots of momentum throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s to describe an up-swell of heterosexual men with a new attitude — and new grooming habits.

It has since become socially acceptable for men to get their nails groomed; wear “man” purses, or “murses;” and even makeup – all formerly luxuries reserved for girls and women.

But advertisers and other media have picked up on a general nostalgia for a time when gender roles were simpler, says Mark Marchetti, a retired police officer who spends his free time scuba diving, hunting, enjoying fine liquor and cigars, and writing adventure novels.

“Coming from the most culturally progressive areas of California, I’m basically a live-and-let-live kind of guy, but I can sympathize with the sentiment that male virility has been sequestered, and I think we could afford its return,” Marchetti says. “When I go to other parts of the country and read a sign that says, ‘We Welcome Hunters,’ a great relief washes over me, because that’s not the attitude in California.”

He notes some media trends that are successfully embracing old-school manliness:

• The Dos Equis ‘Most Interesting Man in the World’: “Most people hate commercials, but I don’t know a soul who does not love this protracted campaign,” Marchetti says. “This guy represents the controlled, intelligent wildness that every man would like to wield, living the life we all dream of.” Commercials featuring the distinguished older gentleman have been going strong since 2006, and other products, such as Old Spice, have utilized similar themes.

• Mixed Martial Arts/Ultimate Fighting Championship: MMA ranks fourth in popular sports among U.S. men ages 18 to 34, behind football, basketball and baseball, according to Scarborough Sports Marketing in New York. Annual pay-per-view sales for UFC matches surpassed similar boxing and wrestling events in 2006, with each successive year outselling the last. There are even MMA-themed birthday parties for the grammar school set.

• Sons of Anarchy & more: One of the most successful TV shows today features a motorcycle gang whose members make their money from organized crime. “I think people like the idea of brotherhood, loyalty and a rugged, rebellious spirit,” Marchetti says. “This used to be a frontier country, and our first heroes were tough guys like George Washington, Davy Crockett and even outlaws like Jesse James.” While Americans may not condone crime, most can admire the ambitious, gritty leaders who achieve a level of power and prominence, he says.

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