September 28, 2020

BY BRANDON HOMMEL bhphoto1

The metrosexual male is a rare and brave breed. He roams the earth embracing what he loves, not worrying about what others may think. But, with rebellion comes backlash. In this case it’s discrimination. The metrosexual male is defined as, “A person who is especially meticulous about his grooming and appearance.” They are wrongly stereotyped as being homosexuals because society thinks that only gay men want to dress well and take care of themselves. The sad truth is that’s the reason why many men don’t dress well, in fear of being typecast as something they are not.

With that being said, there were men out there who didn’t care what people thought and wore what they wanted to, paving the way for the modern-day metrosexual. If we take a trip down memory lane, and remember the ’80s, who comes to mind as the first metrosexual, before it was even a term? The one and only, Prince.

If he wasn’t wearing makeup and high heels and showing the world that real men actually DO wear pink, he was letting the world know that it’s OK for men to care about how they look and make their own fashion statements. Oh, and he dated the most beautiful models in the world while wearing backless pants.

The ’80s were a great time for the metrosexual. Duran Duran was showing the world that it’s cool for men to wear ankle high pants and boat shoes. Michael Jackson was wearing skinny jeans before the hipster kids, and Miami Vice was letting us know that a blazer and a deep V was the way to go.

But no one knows more about being a metrosexual in the ’80s and dealing with the discrimination and stereotypes than Peter Gugins, a former male model for Armstrong Men Modeling Co., when models were actually good looking. Photoshop didn’t make them beautiful, and chest hair was a must.

“All the guys wore makeup back in the ’80s.” Gugins said. “Personally, I didn’t, that wasn’t my thing, but no one thought anything of it. The girls loved it. That was the ’80s. If you weren’t plucked and polished, you were doing something wrong. With that being said, of course there were the few individuals who took the look out of context and used it as fuel to hate and bring down a culture they knew nothing about and shouldn’t have been putting down in the first place.”

As we take our metrosexual time machine forward to present day, there is one man who made it OK to wear a bow tie every day, and that is Ed Westwick, the former Gossip Girl star who is best known for his character, Chuck Bass, the bad boy with the million-dollar bow tie. Westwick’s character paved the way for the bow tie to be worn in more contemporary ways. Not only did he make it cool to have a bow tie in your clothing arsenal, but he showed us that suits aren’t only for prom. He dressed to the nines every day, inspiring men to step their game up. He made it cool to dress well, and for that we salute him.

But, of course, when there is a positive, there is usually a negative not too far behind. If there isn’t an ignorant sexuality comment being thrown, there are people thinking metrosexuals only dress well for attention. There is a fine line between dressing for attention and dressing well because you care about what you look like. For example, if you go to school or work wearing a clown wig and shoes, that may be for attention. But if you’re wearing a properly tailored suit, it may be because you have a sense of style.

For those working in the fashion industry, there are also misconceptions about sexuality. Redundant questions are asked about why would a man want to work in a clothing store, why would he want to sell shoes to women? Christian Guadette, a suit salesman at Stars Men’s Shop in Kitchener for over 19 years, is no stranger to these questions.

“The scariest part about working in the fashion industry is how open people are to just straight up asking you about your sexuality. Just because I shook your hand when you entered my store doesn’t mean you have free range to insult me by asking personal questions. If you see a man wearing a suit and assume he is gay, there is something seriously wrong with you.”

At the end of the day, dress the way you want to because as hip-hop artist Kid Cudi said, “Cause in the end they’ll judge me any way so whatever.” If you truly love fashion and are not afraid of what people may think, just know that you’re not alone. Tons of people in this world love to dress well and sexuality has nothing to do with it. There will always be angry, small-minded people in the world ready to hate on someone for being different. That alone should be your inspiration to put on your best outfit, play the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive and strut your stuff.

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