According to MSN Money (‘The rise of the metrosexual economy’) sales of male cosmetics in Boots, the leading UK High Street drugstore have risen by 800% since 2000, making it ‘by far and away the fastest growing sector in the cosmetics and beauty industry.’ Datamonitor predicts the ‘male grooming’ market to be worth $1.5B next year and male spas and ‘grooming salons’ are rapidly expanding.
As a sign of how times have changed – and how mainstream metrosexuality now is – the journalist Matthew Plowright begins the article relating how he and his mates spent twenty minutes in a pub, probably one in London, pints in hand, discussing moisturisers, facial scrubs and even St Tropez tans.
That’s nothing. Last night I was in a pub in a rough-and-ready North Yorkshire market town discussing skin regimens with a small group of lads in their early twenties. A chain-smoking hard-drinking Geordie squaddie truck driver gave me advice on how to achieve a perfect complexion: ‘I swear by Witch Hazel wipes, me.’
Cock and crack and ball-shaving was also discussed. (They brought the subject up. Honest.)
All turned out to be enthusiastic practitioners and were keen to offer me tips. Several admitted that they shaved their whole body. More than one was keen to show me their handiwork.
However, data from my informal rural focus group suggests the size of the metrosexual market may have been underestimated. Or rather, that women are paying for much of male metrosexuality. And probably having to clear up the mess.
It turns out that most of the lads were using their girlfriend’s LadyShave.