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Meet the Metrosexual

DAVID HARDEN/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Hair technician Kimberly Chapman blow-dries Matthew Schaefer's hair Saturday at the Gadabout Man Salon. Schaefer, a literary science junior, says he considers himself a metrosexual.
By Lauren Hillery
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday February 2, 2004
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A profile of the man who prides himself in being well-groomed

If your girlfriend makes fun of you for having too many hair products, primping too long and knowing way too much about designer brands, then you might be a metrosexual.

So many people are starting to fall into the category that Jeff Foxworthy should probably change his signature line.

A "metrosexual," according to the societal definition, is an urban male with a strong aesthetic sense who spends a great deal of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle.

The shift in the popular perception of attractive males from rugged and wild to clean and stylish can be seen everywhere. Those who fit the description are struttin' their stuff on the Mall all week and in the clubs on the weekend.

Some guys, like biology freshman Michael Jana, praise this new behavior, but admit it is positive only to a certain extent.

"I feel that (metrosexuals) are unique. However, I don't think that men should stray too far from their masculinity," Jana said.

Undeclared freshman Clint Sever, who admits to fitting the image, enjoys being called a metrosexual.

"It is a unique way of giving a compliment," he said.

But there is definite hostility from some men about the trend and the label.

Psychology sophomore David Ryan, whose friends insist he also is a metrosexual, does not like how far men can take their obsessions with beauty.

"I would kill a guy I knew who wore foundation," he said.

Sever, although not ready to don makeup, said he spends 30 to 40 minutes getting ready. This includes a shower, clothing decisions and, of course, doing his hair.

More than 15 hair products, ranging from brands like American Crew to Big Sexy Hair, can be found in Sever's room. His collection includes a variety of gels and "cream pomade-type stuff."

"I'm the only guy I know with a blow-dryer," he said.

Sever said attending a college prep school influenced him to keep up with fashion trends, and he now dresses in designer duds from Abercrombie and Fitch, Ralph Lauren, American Eagle and Kenneth Cole.

However, this metrosexual trend extends far past Sever's personal antics.

Frank Westerbeke, director of education at Gadabout Salon, said their salons have noticed a 35 percent increase among male clients (including UA students) since the launching of Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," in which five gay men give a straight guy a full makeover.

Gadabout has even created a salon devoted entirely to men. The Gadabout Man Salon offers hair and spa treatment rooms, a steam room, a sauna and an attached gym. Its variety of spa packages includes the Express (manicure, pedicure, facial and scalp treatment for $110) and the Box Seats (face, hands, feet and body scrub as well as a massage for $180).

Origins, the skincare and makeup line, has also jumped on the bandwagon, providing exclusive products for men. Blade Runner, an energizing shaving cream, costs $12.50 for a 5-ounce bottle and Fire Fighter, an aftershave, runs $15 for a 1.7-ouncebottle.

Westerbeke prefers the term "metromale" because he says, "Metrosexual is just too sexy."

While some people criticize him for being too concerned with his look, Sever thinks it's all right for guys to spend time on themselves.

"On vacation, I always pack way more stuff than my girlfriend. She gives me crap about it," Sever said. " I always thought a guy taking care of himself was a good thing."

As Westerbeke said, "Be careful, women. The men are taking over."

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