Have you ever wanted to know if you are metro or retro? Well thanks to the Spanish publication LaVanguardia, you can find out! They produce this handy checklist to help you work out once and for all what kind of man you are.
Metrosexuals: Urban, heterosexual or homosexual, usually single. Examples: David Beckham, Rafael Nadal
1) Cares for skin, hair and nails
2) Uses creams, not just for shaving
3) Waxes body hair
4) Goes to the gym
Retrosexuals: Elegant, not necessarily urban, clearly heterosexual, almost always middle aged. Examples: Hugh Laurie, Xavier Badem, Don Draper(John Hamm)
1) Cares for his appearance in moderation
2) Uses cosmetics normally
3) Likes clothes that are not showy
4) Some opt for a short beard
But, whilst you are looking at your short beard in the mirror and congratulating yourself on how ‘clearly heterosexual’ you are. Let me tell you, fellas, that this is all bullshit. As bullshit as the idea that the matador, in his purple and gold sequinned skintight trousers, is a figure of archetypal ‘macho’ masculinity. Mark Simpson, who coined both the terms ‘metrosexual’ and ‘retrosexual’ was being interviewed by La Vanguardia, about the rumours recently that the metrosexual had finally gasped his last fragrant breath and given in to the brute force of the manly retro man. But despite his assertion that this was just the usual ‘lying’ of marketeers, that ironically is used to sell even more grooming product to metrosexual men, and that ‘retrosexual’ is just a concept to assure men that they are still manly even when they wax and moisturise, the Spanish rag decided that retrosexuals are alive and well. And rather ‘elegant’, ‘clearly heterosexual’ examples of traditional masculinity.
As I said when this ‘story’ broke last month, about the resurgence of the mythical ‘retrosexual’ man, the issue is not whether one form of masculinity is ‘winning’ over another. The issue is how we conceptualise masculinity and talk about it. And in Spain, it is clear to me that journalists and I am sure members of the public, feel the need to distinguish between ‘definitely heterosexual’ ‘traditional’ ‘normal’ men, and those slightly effeminate, image-obsessed, over-the-top, possibly homosexual metrosexuals.
If metrosexuality is ‘undead’ as Simpson says, then so is good-old-fashioned common-or-garden machismo. Ole!