The word “metrosexual” first originated in an article written by Mark Simpson (a British journo), published on November 15, 1994, in The Independent (a British newspaper). He wrote “Metrosexual man, the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that’s where all the best shops are), is perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade. In the Eighties, he was only to be found inside fashion magazines such as GQ, in television advertisements for Levis jeans or in gay bars. In the Nineties, he’s everywhere and he’s going shopping.”
The mid 1990s witnessed a quiet revolution, aimed at liberating men from the clutches of a patriarchal and sexist society that identified them as strong machos, who could not show their feminine side to the world. This was also the time when homosexuals were also looking to liberate themselves from societal prejudices and openly express their sexuality. The term metrosexual basically entwines the meaning of “metropolitan” and “heterosexual”. It came to refer to heterosexual men, who were particular about vanity and were neatness freaks. The term is today used to refer to urbane men, who are sophisticated and often exhibit a consumerist lifestyle.
Metrosexual men are deeply concerned with their outward appearance. A lot of gay men are metrosexual, who get their chests waxed and their hands manicured. However, this is not to assume that all metrosexuals are gay. They can simply be heterosexual men who love to take care of themselves, just the way women do. Therefore, it would be wrong to say that the term technically signifies a different form of sexuality; rather it’s just an unconventional and different way of self-expression. While this self-expression may not fit into the accepted societal notions about men, the metrosexuals freely project their sophistically polished personality.
Controversies Surrounding Metrosexuality
While today the metrosexual category of men is widely accepted and even admired for their polished looks, metrosexuality, as a concept, had its share of controversies. One such controversy alleged that the term metrosexual is simply an allusion to gays as they technically exhibited such behavior and image. Some people also believed that metrosexuality is only a strand of homosexuality. Clashes against the machismo image of men erupted as metrosexuality was identified with femininity and unman-like personality. However, today many models and celebrities flaunt their metrosexuality and unconventional self-image. Rather they have been trendsetters, with a lot of young men following into their footsteps.
The term “Übersexual” is a variant of metrosexual, which has been coined by authors of the book Future of Men (O'Reilly, Matathia, Salzman, 2005). The phrase “uber-metrosexual” (used to describe David Beckham by Mark Simpson) has apparently inspired the world. According to the authors of Future of Men, an “Übersexual” is a man who combines knowledge, intellect and success along with his refined looks. The authors state that in a contemporary society, a man cannot thrive on just the knowledge of tweezers and exfoliating creams, but will have to rely on his intellect and success to be acknowledged by society. However, their new coined term has not been able to come across as convincing.