Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What the hell is a Metrosexual?

Gen Y is a group of people with incredible balance; we tip-toe our way across, through and often right over the lines that typically delineate the boundaries of societal norms. In many ways our deviance from the status quo is expected of a new generation, given that a generation that is a carbon copy of its predecessor would hardly warrant the label of “new” in the first place. So it seems that we were destined to be different, or maybe we’ve broken that mold as well; surpassing everyone’s expectations about how different we’d be. On measure, I would have to agree with the latter.
Metrosexuals are great examples of how some Gen y’ers have chosen to exercise their balance and teeter on the edge of social norms. Metrosexuality could be considered at one extreme to be a newly formed gender, and at the other, the male facet of our society that’s given in ‘whole wallet-edly’ to the merchandised culture of the day. In layman terms, either we’ve created a sexual orientation somewhere between gay and female, or some men have discovered the addictive pleasure of buying the newest and coolest clothes, products and hot beverages that women have been enjoying for decades.
You’ve seen them walking around Queen Street in Toronto, or singing their falsetto vocal chords off in many of today’s pop bands, but my understanding of a metrosexual is as follows: male, aged 16-30 who wears high fashion (or at least the illusion there of) or some kind of get-up that wouldn’t be out of place on a woman. I’m talking about really tight jeans, loud coloured shoes, long necklaces with some theme-of-the-week pendant hanging around their belly button, professionally styled hair (more often than not resembling bed head), and a tight fitting shirt and sweater (either of which is a low v-neck). Another staple of Metro attire is some sort of a European carry-all, or ‘man purse’. No Metro guy goes anywhere without the ability to carry just enough stuff to make them wish they actually had a knapsack.

Though the above description may seem a tad condescending, I really must say that a more general, less stereotypical take on a metrosexual would essentially be reducible to, “a guy that actually takes care of him self, pulls off stylish looks and is likely sensitive and confident enough to carry on a conversation with a woman.”
For this reason, I think non-metro guys tend to be a little bit put off by their metro counterparts. After all, they seem to be able to relate to women so much more profoundly about the things they love to talk about; new styles, great places to eat, and who got voted off the bachelor, etc. I happen to think however, that metro men deserve a bit more credit from ‘regular’ guys, especially because many of them have unlocked some pretty useful secrets that they’ve garnered while tip-toeing that fine line between the sexes. For one, if you ask any metro guy, I’m sure he’ll be able to rhyme off a list of things he does to keep in shape or stay looking good that would normally be considered female traits. For example, he may go to yoga classes, get his hair done at a salon rather than top-cuts, own a hair dryer, know what a “loofa” is, moisturize, enjoy drinking cosmos, and maybe even frequent the tanning salon once in a while. Now some of these might be a little iffy, and the cosmo probably won’t do you any favours, but for the most part, those are some pretty handy tips for guys who want to look their best for the ladies.
So the next time you see what looks like a Club Monaco model walking down the street, maybe instead of grimacing in contempt, ask him where he goes for the best sushi, and when he points you in the right direction, check out his well maintained cuticles, they probably got him laid.

What do you think? Are metro's a new breed somewhere between man and woman? Do you consider your self a metrosexual? Do you have some sort of distain that you'd like to get out, or maybe your opinion's changed over time?

Post a comment!


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Misplaced Waste, Misplaced Ideals

This has become a highly publicized issue in recent years given the shift in public perception on the issue of climate change and pollution, and this publicity has gone on to spark a huge amount of discussion in a multitude of media. When people start talking about waste, and the human population’s incredibly honed skill of creating it, there are probably a great number of things that come to mind. Maybe you think about Al Gore and his 2006 film, “An Inconvenient Truth”, or maybe you think about your green bin and how you’re doing everything you can to reduce your waste and clutter.

Well in this post, I was moved to write about a couple news items that have caught my eye recently for two different reasons. Yesterday, the astronauts floating aloft 360km above our planet’s surface were given what traditional seafaring folk might call an ‘abandon ship’ order. Retreating to their Russian escape pod “Soyuz”, the astronauts aboard the international space station (ISS) were forced to wait out what NASA considered to be a near miss with a piece of rogue debris… or as I like to call it, space junk. Even though the piece of junk was only about an inch wide, and it only came within 4Km of the ISS, apparently things moving at 28,164 kilometers an hour can deal a hefty blow to the metal skin of a spaceship, and this was risky enough for mission control. So here we have one option for dealing with waste; the old cold war philosophy re-surfaces, and the wisest men and women in science choose to ‘duck and cover’.

Moving closer to home for a minute, Toronto officials are trying to come up with a way of reducing the amount of waste caused by those finicky plastic tops Timmy’s puts on top of their fabled paper cups (you know, the ones that hide the even more lauded “rim under-which you never win”?). The issue was raised by recycling officials saying that the plastic cups were contaminating their paper recyclables because people weren’t separating the two before disposal. After a failed attempt at legislating against the use of such lids, (thank you very much lobbyists) the city has taken it upon its self to spend over $50,000 on a task force to come up with a viable, compostable alternative to the plastic lids. To quote a famous SNL skit, “Really… I mean… Really. Fifty thousand dollars?” For that amount of cash you could pretty much guarantee that you’d win at least ten of the one hundred $10,000 cash prizes in the Roll up the rim contest. Now, doesn’t that seem like a much better investment than tossing a mindless crew of 40 task forcers $50,000 for a bonehead idea that these guys --> are already retailing a hundred of for only $7.59???

So we’ve got killer junk in space (movie idea?!), coffee cup lids contaminating our best efforts to do well by mother earth, and a couple exceptional uses of taxpayers money. Call me nuts, but I’d say there’s something crazy wrong with our ideals if we’re not only sullying our streets and landfills, but our own planet’s orbit? And we think only our finances are in crisis? Really…


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Barack Obama's Biggest Challenge

Barack Obama has inherited more than an economy in free fall; he’s been left with a nation that most closely resembles a germaphobe huddled in the corner of a clean room, Kleenex boxes on his feet, eyes darting back and forth between the window and the air vent. The difference between this frightened fellow and the state of the American population however, is that the virus that instills fear in the eyes of a nation is much more insidious and infinitely more transmittable.

I’m speaking of course, about the mass media.

Throughout George W. Bush’s infamous career as president, he employed one of the most successful methods of motivation humans have ever dreamt up to influence, lobby, pacify, and control a group of people; fear. Mr. Bush employed the use of fear in a number of ways in order to accomplish many of his administration’s goals. He used fear of the unknown (or more appropriately, the non-understood) to create a wave of uncertainty that spread quickly across the United States, and made people feel as though it was their duty to prepare for the absolute worst; a loss of control. Presidential addresses went out time and time again about the unknown whereabouts of terrorists, the ever-changing state of the war in Iraq, the fluctuating price of oil, and thus, the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the U.S. we now know was born. It is very important to note how people were able to consume, or more accurately, how these addresses were able to consume the people. They were piped into our living rooms and minds over the airwaves of the media. Press releases dictating exactly how and what to portray in the news were fired off to the desks of every major agency in the United States every time the president wanted to let his actions be known.

Barack Obama has been elected president amidst a veritable whirlwind of uncertainty and turmoil. Americans are scared. They’re seeing family members head off to war in a shiny plane and return home in a matte wooden box. They’re watching their fortunes spiral down the drain. These circumstances combined with the rapidly worsening economic situation only serve to entrench these worries and fears, and Mr. Obama is going to have to take the reigns of this wild stallion of a nation and steer it over hurdle upon hurdle to greener pastures.

I believe the way in which Mr. Obama can accomplish this, is through the same means that former president Bush incited such unrest. Take control of a trigger happy mass media. His administration will have to work with the news agencies and media outlets to properly inform people of the news in such a way that educates them and encourages them as much as possible. Wave after wave of sensationalist stories about the “crisis” here and the “emergency” there will not boost people’s hopes and make them want to head to their local mall and ramp up that purchasing power again (unless it’s for canned goods, batteries and jerry cans of gasoline) .

Mr. Obama has his work cut out for him, but it’s in his best interest, and in the interest of every American, that he allies himself with those who have the power to reach the masses and educate the fear out of that frightened little germaphobe.