Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Rise of the Metrosexual

I first heard the term "metrosexual" when my daughters were living in Arlington, Virginia. about 15 years ago.

If you are not familiar with the term, here is a New York Times description of a metrosexual and the rise of that genre on the cultural landscape.

Picture this: a young, professional male who loves tailored shirts, $40 face cream, wine bars and shopping with friends — and he’s not gay! I know, stop the presses. But 15 years ago, metrosexuals were news, and a gold mine for marketers.

Here are a couple of images that came up on Google when I typed in "metrosexual man".



How did I get interested in writing about "metrosexuals"?

I happened across a tweet by a woman on Twitter who was questioning why she saw so many women around her who were dating men they could share jeans with.

It seems she found her answer in credible research that indicates that women on birth control over long periods of time are more likely to choose less masculine men.

Being a curious guy, I checked out the research and it seems there is something to what she says.

This is an excerpt from a Scientific American article on the subject written in 2008.

This year 2.25 million Americans will get married—and a million will get divorced. Could birth control be to blame for some of these breakups? Recent research suggests that the contraceptive pill—which prevents women from ovulating by fooling their body into believing it is pregnant—could affect which types of men women desire. Going on or off the pill during a relationship, therefore, may tempt a woman away from her man.
It’s all about scent. Hidden in a man’s smell are clues about his major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, which play an important role in immune system surveillance. Studies suggest that females prefer the scent of males whose MHC genes differ from their own, a preference that has probably evolved because it helps offspring survive: couples with different MHC genes are less likely to be related to each other than couples with similar genes are, and their children are born with more varied MHC profiles and thus more robust immune systems.

In other words, a woman who is not on the pill is generally going to be more attracted to a mate.  that complements her and satisfies her more on a physical level.

A woman on the pill (which mimics the hormonal changes in the body associated with pregnancy) seems to be attracted more to people with similar genetic makeup--nurturing relatives for example.

Therefore, a woman who selects a man while on the pill may be making the wrong selection for the long term. It may eventually feel like she married her brother ( or someone resembling her sister) rather than a soul mate.

The Atlantic also did an article on this subject in 2013 citing research from Scotland that found that women on birth control pills prefer less masculine men.

This is how the article describes the results of the research that gave women the ability to digitally alter images to make them more attractive to themselves.

After beginning a regimen of hormonal birth control, the women's ideal of attractiveness in a potential romantic partner skewed significantly less masculine. They were more likely, for example, to prefer narrower jawbones and rounder faces. These preferences appear to translate to real life decisions: the men whose partners had been on the pill when they first started dating were found, as a whole, to be less masculine-looking.

The article concluded that it might actually be advisable for young masculine men on dating sites to digitally alter their face and features to make themselves more attractive to the many young women who may well be on the pill.

It all goes to show you that there are unseen effects every time we try to mess with Mother Nature.

It is also pretty clear to me that there would have been no rise in metrosexuals if there was no market for what these guys are selling. There would be few metrosexual men and guys sharing jeans with their girlfriends if they could not get a date on Saturday night.

Make no mistake. When it comes to basic biology there is a lot of marketing going on with both genders. There always has been and it will always be. It is all about attraction. And it appears that women on the pill are more likely to be attracted to what metrosexuals are selling. They are dating men who then can share their jeans because the birth control pill has fooled their genes.

Who knew what caused the rise of the metrosexual?

Now you do.

No comments:

Post a Comment