Perhaps it’s his fagly beard and whiny voice, but Pastor Steve Anderson of Arizona sounds a lot like some gay bears I know who are always bitching about sissies and metrosexuals and where oh where did all the real men go.
“God made us to be men! We need to embrace being manly and not be pretty boys and cissified, effeminate little twinkies!!”
But I’m grateful to Mr Anderson and his Xstian fundamentals for making it quite clear where much of America’s problem with metrosexuality and the ‘gender neutral movement’ as he calls it (fingers interlocking, intimating the horror of a world of mutuality) comes from.
Shoppers will find “more than 530 grooming products, including razors that sculpt beards, two shelves stocked with rinses to color gray hair, at least 15 body washes with names such as Swagger and Komodo, lotions that promise to smooth wrinkles, sprays to mask body odors, and eye roller gel to lighten dark circles.”
Called ‘Men’s Zone’ (which sounds, I can’t help but point out, like a gay leather bar) and apparently sponsored by cosmetics giant Procter and Gamble, the concept seems to be separating men’s ‘grooming products’ from women’s beauty products — so that men feel less anxious, and more manly, about their metrosexuality.
This viral video promoting a new X-Box dancing game is nicely done and very funny. But I think it also illustrates quite dramatically, if probably unintentionally, what metrosexuality can mean.
Although of course it’s played for giggles, the story of the male Kylie obsessive having his legs waxed and painstakingly assembling his own camp Kylie outfit, gold lame hot pants included, copying and practising her daft dance moves in his living room – and finally managing to take her place on stage – is in some ways about as serious cultural observation as you can get. In a post-metro world men are increasingly doing and wearing and using and expressing – and shaking – things which before were restricted to women. And of course, ‘gays’.
The ‘stalkers’ sexuality isn’t stated, though making him look a bit average-joe (albeit with very appealing eyes), giving him a Scottish accent (which to English ears sounds butch) and face fuzz is perhaps to discourage the viewer from assuming that he’s gay. He could be, but he could also be bi or straight. It’s immaterial – just as sexual orientation is immaterial for metrosexuality.
Anyone can be Kylie now.
And thank God the ad didn’t go down the manly strap-on route of a lot of advertising recently, and try to frantically butch up something that isn’t very butch, and start talking about ‘mandancing’ or some such shite. Though perhaps the reason this viral doesn’t do that is because it is disco dancing, after all.
Sometimes though metrosexuality isn’t just about enjoying some of the sensuality and fun that was until recently ‘only for girls’. Sometimes it can be about actually taking the place of girls. And locking them in the dressing room while you prance around in their place (see also nice Mr Cameron and Clegg, who are so metro, by politician standards, they don’t appear to need many actual women in their Coalition cabinet).
But then again, post-feminism, we think nothing of women taking the place of men.
Hats off to Kylie for being such a good sport in taking part in this video – which, even if you don’t accept what I’m saying about metrosexuality, is clearly based on the idea that anyone can ‘do’ Kylie.
And what’s more, they’ll ask you back for an encore.
Beer, as everyone knows, was invented so that men can touch and hug and kiss – and sometimes shag – one another. And not have to talk about it or even remember the next day. ‘Oh boy, was I drunk last night!’.
Beer was invented in other words to allow men time off being MEN. While still being manly. Because drinking beer was what guys did, as well as the reward for being guys. No wonder we drank it so much, even if much of it tasted like wee.
In fact, the general nondescript awfulness of beer was part of its oblivious male appeal.
But most of us don’t drink it like that any more. If at all. Beer consumption in the UK has been falling for some time, both at home and in the pub. Young male drinkers are more inclined to sip ‘girly’ alcopops than beer. And if they drink beer at all it frequently has to be lah-dee-dah strong imported premium beer in a bottle. ‘Beer’ is no longer this tasteless, undifferentiated, unreflexive, uniform substance – like ‘regular guys’.
Perhaps this is why beer has become something laughably self-conscious. Painfully straight-acting. Both Fosters and Guinness, representing almost opposite ends of the beer market (Guinness a premium beer and brand, Fosters… not so much), have recently released ‘jokey’ beer ads that talk about the things men used to drink beer so they wouldn’t have to think about.
Both ads are based on the homo-panic of the ‘man code’, those prissy-missy list of ‘manly’ – i.e. fagly – ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ that America produced a few years back as part of its backlash against metrosexuality. So the Fosters ad advises their customers about the etiquette of applying sun tan cream to another male without getting an erection, and the Guinness ad discusses how to hug another male without him feeling your erection.
Both have been accused of being homophobic. I’m not sure that this is what they are exactly. And in fact, calling them homophobic is almost to let them off the hook. ‘Homophobic’ almost sounds reassuringly traditional – and it also suggests that we can assume the sexuality of the men in these ads (who don’t seem so sure about it themselves).
In fact, what’s remarkable and slightly disturbing about these beer ads is that they are very faggy. Both in terms of the straight-acting anxieties they play with and how they look.
Essentially they assume that men in general are so gay these days they need advice on how to butch it up. Girl. Beer ads used to always have three men so that no one would think for a moment they were a couple. But both these ads feature male couples (two male couples in the case of the Fosters ad). And in both ads the male couples are so parodic of masculinity that they appear gay.
The Guinness ad couple are particularly easy to imagine fucking (the little skinny nerdy flannel shirted one, of course, topping the big bald leather guy).
And, deliberately or not, the ironic advice they offer ends up looking way gayer than hugging or budgie-smuggling. The nice Guinness guys embracing with their bums stuck out looks more like an invitation to the scally Fosters couple than anything else.
Books by Mark Simpson
A biography of the metrosexual. By his dad.
End of Gays?
Banning gay propaganda can backfire. Spectacularly.
All saints should be considered guilty until proven innocent
The book that changed the way the world looks at men
It's a Queer World
A warped look at a fin de siecle world of pop culture where nothing is quite as straight or gay as it seems.