Friday, May 28, 2010

Celebrating The Retrosexual Man

Celebrating The Retrosexual Man

Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk syndicate
Copyright 2010

Look at your man. Now back to me. Now back at your man, now back at me. Sadly, he isn't me. But if he stopped using hair product by the pound, he could — and stopped wearing his pink shirt — he could — and didn't accessorize — you know what, forget it. Just forget it.

Look at your man, and wonder exactly when he became more of a woman than you.

That's the problem with today's metrosexual man. They want to accessorize. To use enough hair product that their hair has all the protective quality of a motorcycle helmet. To wear pink shirts, and quietly hum, "I feel pretty, oh so pretty" while they're antiquing with you in the country.

It's enough to make me want to kick Abercrombie in his Fitch.

I just read a recent news article that gave me hope that all is not lost for mankind: the days of the metrosexual may be drawing to an end. That hair sculpting, fashion watching, accessorizing "man" is being cast aside by the man's man.

Actually, he's being shoved to the ground and having sand kicked in his face by the man's man.

Like the phoenix rising from the ashes of years of The Cosby Show and Family Ties, the man's man is experiencing a rebirth, a renewal of sorts.

Or, as some have called it, a "menaissance."

This new Retrosexual Man is hearkening back to the 60s man, the man who had all the confidence in the world because he was a man. A man who could drink Scotch, wear a tie without worrying about whether it matched his eyes, and didn't need to get a hair cut, scalp massage, and a mani-pedi, all for $80 at the Salon of Sass.

Men are getting tired of the Eighties Man, the idiot who couldn't find the cold medicine in the medicine cabinet. The guy who was so hopelessly befuddled, he couldn't operate a simple kitchen gadget. The "Man Is An Idiot" comedy archetype we've been subjected to since the early '80s. We've had our noses rubbed in it since Bill Cosby ruined masculinity with The Cosby show.

While I like Bill Cosby the comedian, the educator, the activist, I wasn't a fan of the show. Cliff Huxtable, despite being a successful doctor, had no clue how to deal with his children, and needed his wife to manage the household. Cliff Huxtable was so incompetent, he had been reduced to a paycheck and funny sidekick to the rest of his family. He willingly handed his Man Card to his wife and asked her to keep it in the same place she was storing his manly bits.

And every TV dad to come after Cosby is only some sad buffoon. The guy who, on his wedding day, suddenly became too stupid to survive without his wife's steady hand to guide him. After watching these shows, we're often left to wonder how these men ever survived the first 25 years of life without their wives.

(Sitcom answer: they lived at home with Mother until the day they got married.)

So I'm excited about the new Retrosexual. I think he's someone worth paying attention to, or at least having a beer with.

Don't get me wrong. I don't think we need to go back to the way things were in the 50s and 60s. I'd like to think we've evolved from those attitudes.

We've all learned that we shouldn't make sexist jokes, shouldn't assume women can't drive or play sports, shouldn't think they're not smart enough for the business world. We get it. And other than a few piggy-eyed Neanderthals on talk radio, we don't do this.

The Retrosexual man doesn't want to go back to the way things were 50 years ago, when women were treated like second-class citizens, and sexism in the workplace was not only normal, it was encouraged.

But this Man As Buffoon thing has got to stop. Because we're tired of being the butt of so many sitcom jokes, portrayed as the doofus who's stumped by the complex procedure of microwaving a hotdog. And we're even more tired of the metrosexual who is only recognized as a man only by his five o'clock shadow.

So look at your "man," tell him to put down his European carryall, wipe off the faint hint of eye liner, and scrape all that product out of his hair.

I'm on a horse.

I'll be live blogging from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Sunday. So if you're watching the race on TV, stay tuned in to my Twitter feed, or to this blog, and keep an eye on some of the updates I'll be providing.

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