It had to happen, didn’t it? Mad Men, that model of modern, uber-mediated ‘retro’ masculinity, has turned into a fashion range. As if that wasn’t the intention all along…
In America, especially, there has been a kind of ‘retrosexual’ backlash against metrosexuality, a nostalgic call for a time when ‘men were men’ and they did not argue with their girlfriends about who had used up all the conditioner. As Simpson has written, the ‘retrosexual’ never stood a chance against the buff, shiny, preening metrosexual. But people wanted him to put up a fight:
‘What else could explain the squealing eagerness with which the media seized upon the confected character of Mad Men’s Don Draper as an example of the return of the ‘retrosexual’? An impossibly pretty and impeccably well-turned out Army deserter with identity issues – and a hidden, shameful secret – who works as an advertising creative and is the unwavering object of the camera’s voyeuristic gaze. We’re so metrosexualised now that this is what ‘old-time masculinity’ looks like to us. Put another way, metrosexuality is masculinity mediated, aestheticised and (self) fetishised. Even if it looks fetching in a trilby’. – Mark Simpson.
Really, Don Draper should have been in the top five/top ten/top twenty ‘Metrosexy Icons’ list I compiled. He really encapsulates possibly better than anyone, the metrosexual/denial of many contemporary versions of masculinity.