The modern gentleman (if we can even use that term anymore without associating ourselves with "fuckboy menswear turds") has undergone significant evolutionary milestones within the past ten years alone. Congratulations, guys! We’re now officially living in the Menswear Renaissance Period and it’s kind-of-sort-of fantastic. Men today haven’t been this stylish since perhaps the early 1940's and 50's, when guys like Cary Grant dominated Hollywood and wearing a suit was part of everyday life, and not just for impressing people at Twitter meetups. I mean, the 60's weren’t so bad either, but since the emergence of Mad Men, it's made everything about that era played the hell out (shout out to Banana Republic) so fuck that noise.
And let’s not even get into the sartorial k-hole that is the 70's and 80's. To the modern guy, kudos to you for advancing our stylish pedigree. You can now find (mostly) well-dressed men on every city block. And screw the jerks that label our finely dressed friends as "hipsters." All you haters can go fuck yourself like it was a death threat from Team Breezy. But for every movement pushing revolution there’s almost always a dark period that precedes it and that spawn of Satan, in our case, was this thing you may have heard of called the "Metrosexual."
Lest we not forget that prior to the post-World War II boom, the Great Depression loomed over America like a foreboding cloud of uncertainty. The emergence of the metrosexual period in the early 2000s isn’t really that dissimilar. It was a dark time filled with contrived notions that dictated how gentlemen were supposed to talk, dress and act. And it was absolutely fucking terrible. The metrosexual was made out to be the authoritative figure every guy should aspire to in order to get in touch with their feminine side without, dare I say, being labeled as homosexual. It was a time when men's self-esteems were at an all-time low and the metrosexual was the crutch forced upon them in order to dabble in things deemed taboo for men.
It was a poor, misguided attempt, albeit understandable, by the mainstream media to label something that didn’t need a label in the first place.
Guys who dressed well, while simultaneously mulling over which exfoliating face wash to use and, GASP, knew the difference between a salad and dessert fork? Of course there should be a name for them because heterosexual dudes definitely do not enjoy that stuff. It was all a charade—we were given a word so misguided and loaded with false pretenses that even the mere utterance of it today sends shivers down the spines of any guy with the slightest amount of self-awareness. It was a poor, misguided attempt, albeit understandable, by the mainstream media to label something that didn’t need a label in the first place. And the person singularly responsible for coining this offensive term, no matter how well intentioned, is the biggest asshole of them all—Mark Simpson.
In a rather over-analytical piece he wrote for Salon in 2002 about the metrosexual poster boy, David Beckham, Simpson theorized how brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and their "alarming popularity with straight, beer-drinking frat boys is proof of how metrosexuality has gone mainstream—while its lusciously produced, semi pornographic quarterly catalogs deliver conclusive proof that male narcissism (in photograpic shorthand: Weber-ism), is only ever a post-workout shower away from homoeroticism." And there it was! An entire generation of men systematically categorized and labeled by their predilection for a douchey, in vogue clothing label. But in hindsight, we should be thanking him, because without these growing pains guys wouldn't be where they are today. What's that saying? Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it? Exactly.
We're confident as ever in our dress and the way we conduct ourselves, and we don't need labels or buzzwords to disguise or apologize for this fact. We're embracing all facets of an intellectual lifestyle and if you really want to call us something, call us CULTURED or SAVVY or, simply, MEN. So cheers (and a big fuck you) to Mark Simpson, because without you we'd never have gotten the validation of Mary HK Choi, and that's every writer's wet dream.