The Gainesville Sun
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Three days a week, Michael Roberts drives his Infiniti SUV to the Woodfield Hunt Club, hands his keys to the valet and meets his personal trainer. Staying physically fit is only part of what makes him “high maintenance,” saya his girlfriend Tali Johnson, a Nursing student at the University of Florida.
Hair gel, shaving cream with aloe, a manicure kit, small scissors and a well-organized array of cotton swabs and Crest White Strips are all typical primping products found in most women’s medicine cabinets. Yet — here’s the twist — this bathroom belongs to a guy.
After the hit Bravo series “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” made “metrosexual” a household word, many men all over the country realized that the grunge and slacker looks were passé and it was time to primp. While the term “metrosexual” is headed out of mainstream conversation and being replaced by various other terms, the high-maintenance man remains and women continue to date him.
“To me, a metrosexual is a man who defies society's perception of masculinity and leans toward our stereotype of homosexuality, at least in terms of upkeep and appearance,” said Jennifer Metayer, senior journalism major at Boston University. “I consider high maintenance in a man to be anything more than cleanly showered, shaven and clothed. There's a fine line to be drawn, somewhere around hair gel.”
Metayer’s ex-boyfriend of six years, Elliot, placed a great deal of emphasis on his appearance. The most important part of his routine was choosing the right outfit and shoes to accompany it, Metayer said. Perhaps his most extreme quality was the way he “insisted on buying two pairs of every shoe he owned, just so he always had one pristine, untouched pair waiting in the box,” she said. “He always used to comment on how dirty my clean, white sneakers were in his eyes.”
The two frequently shopped together and Elliot appeared as enthusiastic about selecting clothes for Jennifer as she was for herself. The only problem, Metayer said, was the amount of time spent preparing outfits to ensure his approval. “Going out together was a hassle because sometimes we would both have to change our clothes a few times to meet his standards.”
Tali Johnson’s boyfriend of two and a half months harbors a similar clothing addiction. “Everything he owns is name brand,” Johnson said. “He owns every single color Polo shirt.”
Burberry, Diesel, Polo, Brooks Brothers and Coach are only a few of the typical brands found in the Roberts’ closet.
With such a concern about how he looks, Johnson said her boyfriend understands the time it takes her to get ready.
Aside from getting professional massages, Roberts enjoys letting Johnson rub his sore feet. He never declines after she breaks out the Ahava lotion. “He’s so spoiled,” she said.
Irene Chiang, sophomore accounting major at UF, admitted her high school boyfriend, Will, “was almost girly in a manly way.” Similar to Roberts, Will owned the same shirt in numerous colors. Will’s routine involved having his eyebrows trimmed at the barber, ironing his outfits before leaving the house, and inside his shower Chiang found Herbal Essence products.
With his hair spikes as straight as the ironing lines on his Abercrombie pants, an earring in each ear and a chap stick in hand (shiny lips were essential), Will was finally for an outing. Chiang admitted he also received manicures and pedicures on occasion. She recalled one instance where she painted his nails clear and used him as a pallet for her makeup skills. “Any guy who would let you do that is a metro,” she said.
These women gave various reasons for why they date these types of men. “They’re physically attractive because you know they’re clean; well-kept,” Chiang said. In opposition, Metayer finds looks no longer important in selecting a man, though she always appreciated that Elliot looked nice wherever they went.