"You are so....metrosexual," one of my so-called better friends and a self-professed, shoe-shinista told me when I told her I was reading Men's Vogue and totally digging this a of Prada oxford shoes.
Initially I was offended -- after all, can't a brotha admire a nice pair of shoes? Then I reflected on what she said a bit more deeply. I think it's natural for most men to be defensive when confronted by ANY "-" sexual other than hetero. Being neither "bi", "homo", or "metro", I focused more on why she lobbed that bomb at me.
I was reading Men's Vogue. I was admiring very nice shoes. Guilty on both counts. By some perfect storm of demographics, magazine readership, and American Express spending habits, I made the initial subscription list for this new magazine tailored to guys who are too old to really get into FHM or Stuff or those other men's magazines that have as many pages of bikini-clad women as they do articles on how to get bikini-clad women to have sex with you. Lucky me, I suppose.
Anyway, I guess I am the type of guy who tries to care a little bit about how he is put together without trying to look like I worked too hard to do it. Men, unlike women, do NOT dress for each other…we don't care what other dudes think about us. We dress firstly for ourselves (this usually gets us into the jeans we will wear every weekend without fail, that college T-shirt our wife/girlfriend has been trying to lose/misplace/destroy over the past few years, or those reliable khaki pants that so easily go with that same old blue shirt that everybody at the office wears on Mondays because it's the de facto business casual uniform in much of corporate America). Secondly we dress for women (which is why you see us in that way too colorful shirt that our wife/girlfriend tells us we "really" look good in; or we try to squeeze into something way too tight to show off body parts that used to look good, or something way too baggy to hide the body parts that we admit have gotten a bit out of control).
But as we age, some of us realize that what you wear can help you look as young you feel. It can help you get that much wanted second glance (and yes ladies, we do need that too). It can help you be the most credible one in the boardroom. It can help get you a lot more opportunities to even get to the bedroom. Someone once said, "…there is no shame in being poor. Only in dressing poorly," and I guess I take that one to heart. At different points in my life, I have heard folks tell me that I am well spoken, well rounded, well built, well respected...so I thought, why not be well dressed too? This, I think, is being stylish, not being metrosexual.
Stylish means you know what to do to look the right way at the right time for the right reason. Metrosexuals tend to work way too hard to be way too perfect. They stylish trim and groom their body hair. The metro wax. The stylish work out to be fit and to keep off the spare tire. The metro work out to look good in spandex shorts. Stylish buy a carefully selected set of pieces that are timeless and say something about who they are. Metros buy all that is fashionable and hip, then re-buy it again when it comes back when they want to be what some trend tells them they are.
One thing they both have in common is that they do have standards. Neither will wear shoes that come from Payless and neither will rent a tuxedo unless it's for some poor slobs wedding who happens to be our best friend and he's making us forego the perfectly good tux we chose to invest in. Both know that what you SHOW can matter just as much as what you KNOW (and yes, that sucks, but this is the real world and for those who don't know it, please wake up).
Well anyway, I need to close for now. I hope I get an invite to blog again on the man's side of style and fashion and being in the good life (so much more to share, you just don't know). Well, I'm off to get a nice massage and really nice straight razor shave after I smoke this fatty. And in the mean time, I'll continue trying to be more on the stylish side and rebuff that metro stuff.