Vanity and grooming are traditionally female concerns but you don’t have to look very hard these days to see that men are taking a lot more care of their appearance. these modern men are now spending more money on grooming and procedures than ever before. Plastic surgeons are reporting a significant increase in the number of men opting for facial surgery and liposuction, and new figures have shown a 30% rise in the number of males paying for botox treatments.
Hair removal is another traditionally female concern that is now seeing its fair share of male interest. Hair has historically been seen as a sign of manhood but it is now socially acceptable for heterosexual men to appear silky smooth and to pay attention to areas that were previously left for nature to take care of. the majority of men depicted in magazines are unnaturally smooth with little or no sign of hair what-so-ever, and it seems that this has become the blueprint for the modern man. Facial hair is still accepted however, but only in the form of perfectly manicured designer stubble.
So are these immaculately groomed perfumed, smooth-skinned men with teeth whitened and big hair they’ve clearly spent a long time sculpting real men? is this really the sort of behaviour we should be encouraging, where your boyfriend borrows your hair straighteners and spends longer getting ready than you do? whatever happened to having a wash with soap and shampoo, chucking on a pair of jeans, some shoes and a shirt, slapping some gel in your hair, a quick spray of deodorant and Bob’s your uncle? these days it’s all soothing body wash, scruffing lotion, aftershave balm and sculpting body hair goo, not to mention the moisturising, blowdrying and whatever else goes on. It’s a wonder these fellas have got time to go out at all.
Perhaps men have always aspired to look like the model men they see in glossy publications and on the big screen, in the same way that women have. in recent years we’ve certainly seen less of the alpha male characters who previously represented male role models – Arny, Sly, Bruce, Mel, Jean Claude etc. these rough, tough characters have been replaced by smooth talking, no-action skinny pretty boys like Orlando Bloom, Ashton Kutcher, Leo Di Caprio and Brad Pitt. Sport has also gone the same way, the tough tackling football hardmen of the 70s, 80s and 90s like Graeme Souness and Vinny Jones have been replaced by effeminate young men like David Beckham, Christiano Ronaldo and Cesc Fabregas who, it’s reported, recently paid around 3000 for an all-over body wax. even rugby, once the domain for only the manliest of men, has been infiltrated by some of these young, immaculately coiffured ‘metrosexuals’ such as Charlotte Church’s husband Gavin Henson, and the new darling of English Rugby Danny Cipriani.
You may have sensed from this article that I’m not exactly comfortable with this new wave of male vanity, and you’d be right. I just feel that a man should be a man and a woman should be a woman, and the point at which these two distinct roles cross over only leads to confusion. So come on guys, put down those hair straighteners, throw your waxing strips in the bin, give your sister her tweezers back, and get down the pub to watch the football.