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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Metro. Sexual?

Metro. Sexual?

Written - spring 2008. Amended - fall 2014.

Homophobia sucks. IMHO.

We the heterosexuals are a bit superior, of course, naturally so, because we are able to procreate without technology. But why judge if it’s still love?

Actually, I never understood the mechanism of homosexuality, but I think God had a reason to create such people, because the other side can’t create anything at all, no matter what the antis say about the undesirable elements being the spawn of the devil. Well, it’s their problem. By the way, does the Bible mention anything about homosexuality? I don’t really remember. Hee.

Anyway. I don’t know how fruit pie works. But I know (as any cosmopolitan does) how the beauty cult works. And the gay were the first ones to claim the right to beauty for men. That’s why there is no distinct line between them and the heterosexual parishioners of the beauty temples also known as metrosexuals (courtesy of Mark Simpson and his “Meet the Mirror Men”). No matter how the metrosexual is called now – ubersexual or whatever (thank heavens it’s not Radio-One-sexual), he is “alive and well and lives in my apartment”, as Jung in Rose Morgan’s interpretation used to say about myths.

So, metro it’ll be. As long as it's not a Subway sandwich, I am OK with it.

The outward appearance is a direct indicator of success in some circles, not to mention its importance for the attractiveness to the opposite (and sometimes the same) sex, which is applicable to all circles, from male peacocks to Warren Buffett. Now, the “some circles” reservation is there for a reason. The people who are fussy about their looks are usually involved in professional activities inseparable from vanity, to some extent. Actors, models, fashion journalists, advertising people, party girls and tarts.... and there are people proud of wearing $50 shoes and shopping at thrift stores. Well, they have their own ideas about good looks.

The desire to look good is not quantifiable or classifiable, and it’s not the issue here. It’s just funny how the benchmarks change. Kate Moss wouldn’t inspire Rubens, and the voluptuous shapes of Renaissance ladies are ousted of the beauty standards' ranks.

Bacchus by Peter Paul Rubens.
Yeah, this is a man. I Pinned it under the name "True Cellulite".

Contemporary ladies who had the luck of inheriting large hips (which is after all better for childbirth, which is the reason of our existence, as many people think) are torturing themselves with starvation diets and shed lonely tears over their fat-free cottage cheese.

I wonder where are all those men who say they’re not dogs to like bony carcasses and they’re all for a curvy body? And if it’s a lie, why that lie? Mercy compliment? Well, reality is reality: women’s magazines still make fortunes out of diet lists and skinny tall models don’t suffer of attention deficit. But the funniest thing is that men walk in our footsteps, too. They also want to be beautiful.

Mark Simpson is definitely a trend-setter in semantics, no matter how short-lived those trends are. The gay opposition rose as one against the queer-ization of heterosexuals, but it didn’t help. The word “metrosexual” features in songs, movies, magazines, books, blogs, bank statements, profit and loss accounts, balance sheets… Sorry. Got a bit carried away. And the manifesto is “I’m not fag, I’m just well-groomed”. But the “real males” (opposed to all labels and clich├ęs) think they’re queer anyway. And it’s pretty unfair, if weird.

I mean, I can’t see a woman being too enchanted about her man wearing makeup and having more bottles and cans in the bathroom than she has. My best friend dated a metrosexual long before the word emerged. She almost went nuts. From the other hand, imagine the versatility of discussion topics between a metrosexual and an it-girl. Infinite. But I, for one, would be bored with endless fashion talk, unless it’s in the context of art. I mean, even Vogue bores me to death. Looking at the pictures is OK, but I’m well past the comic books age.

So a metrosexual, with his perfectly manicured hands and in-depth knowledge about labels, hidden seams and chemical peels would be wasted on me. Whereas a metrospiritual wouldn’t.

Now, I don’t intend to spread a new word. Wouldn’t succeed anyway. But it seems pretty accurate to me. Now, if David Beckham is the ultimate metrosexual, the ultimate metrospiritual would be Natalie Portman. Yes. It works for both sexes. Now, Natalie Portman is well-read, well-educated, well-traveled, an Ambassador of Hope and an environmental activist, and she has that distinct light of advanced intellect in her eyes that says loads to all - humans, Jedi, and R2D2-type Bleeping Bucketoids.

So, why the new word? Because it’s trendy to be “metro” and it was always trendy to be smart. “Gnostic” would probably suffice, but it’s more of a religion-studies term. But metrospirituals are not unlike the Gnostics in their constant pursuit of knowledge and new experiences. 

Metrospirituals are not nerds. No horrifying brackets and Woody Allen-ish eyeglasses. They are easily mistaken for metrosexuals until they open their mouths and start talking about the technology-era psyche or the financial implications of cybersex. But no makeup excesses, thank you very much. Neither for men nor for women. The best adjective describing them would actually be “knowledgeable”.

Knowledge. It’s not just piling up information in your head like in a human database file. It’s about musing, and reflecting, and analyzing, and creating, and moving to new frontiers. Men and women of such kind have their lives woven into adventure novels, but women do dress smart, and men do take showers, which would be the only requirement that a sound feminocrat would have to a man.

Well, some of us ladies do loathe dirty shoes, creased jackets, and dandruff, but these are the distinct signs of a bachelor i.e. target. Well, sometimes these paraphernalia of messiness are coupled with a wedding band, which doesn’t make it easier for single women.

We speak of choice so often that it has become an a priori condition of existence. And existence can be so much better when you choose to pamper your spirit, not just your body. The delights of fine literature, art, music, cuisine, fashion, travel, and even technology are at our disposal. Watching an old b&w movie on a miniature MP4 player on your flight to an experience trip to Bali, intermingling it with stock-market small-talk with the nice investment banker sitting next to you – what better reward can the civilization provide?

For now, as we don’t have mainstream space travel yet, confined to our tiny globe, we have to look for the God of Small Things in the well-known places. And as long as we have poverty, recession, collapsing bridges, natural disasters, melting ice-caps, polar vortexes, and high crime rates, we won’t declare ourselves victims of Utopian boredom.

I rather like the words of one of my favorite Soviet sci-fi writers: ‘In the XXIst century there will be no ordinary people. There will be six billion exceptional, outstanding, talented people living on Earth’.

Now, this is utopia. We probably are all exceptional, potential-wise. But the fates, or the choices, or the mental disorders are not on the side of the humankind tortured by bigotry, xenophobic hatred and narrow-mindedness. We should probably engage in artificial breeding of metrospirituals, with their cosmopolitan approach to life and general bonhomie which comes naturally to an educated mind.

This is not a law, however. I know some people who could give Diderot a run for his money, and they’re as intolerant and bigot as your ordinary bourgeois. And it’s the other way round. There are simple minds, Apollonian souls that charm you with their openness and common sense, and it doesn’t occur to you in the slightest that such persons are not so well-read and hence are not good company for the pundit that you are.

Now, the ability to tell Conrad from comrade is not a defining criterion of a metrospiritual. I don’t believe in criteria except as in the world of science. How can you quantify emotion and creativity? As emotionally complex beings, we do not fall under strict rules. There’s always one exception or other.

But there’s one general truth: metrospirituals do not have boundaries in their thinking. Why not call them just spirituals, then? Because it would again have more of a religious nuance, and the modern Renaissance people are not limited by that, although they definitely can recite you the advantages of Dao, make some fine allusions to the New Testament, and even have the guts to follow some of Confucius’s instructions for a noble man (I mean the Hagakure bushi-do. Well, you got me).

Besides, the “metro” prefix just makes it sound cooler.

I think I already mentioned the distinction from nerd, except that they know a lot. But, as I never tire of repeating, knowledge and data storage are two different things. Besides, metrospirituals are devilishly charming, and have natural appeal, which doesn’t prevent them from being sophisticated all right.

Well, Mark Simpson did incorporate the intellectual component into his definition, but it was pretty much denatured. And it seems like a logical consequence to me. When a notion becomes a mainstream trend, it is usually modified in accordance with the general taste. And we chose the looks, naturally. We humans are rather intolerant to both outward and inward perfection. We like to know that others are human, too.

And it’s always been like that, from Christ to Giordano Bruno and from Archimedes to Richard Sorge. The exceptional out-of-this-world people born ahead of their time have always been torn apart by the crowd. But how do you define crowd? Those of us who were gifted with a bit more IQ points than the average MENSA score are always forgetting that they are the crowd, too.

We all like to think we’re exceptional. Well, maybe not all (and such inadvertent modesty is appealing, too). And it comforts me to believe it’s true. But why didn’t we choose the intellectual component out of the two faces of metrosexuality? Why is it reduced to designer sweaters and capoeira classes for rich boys?

Maybe it’s because our quest for body care leaves no room for other occupations? That’s too primitive a conclusion. Hedonism is more plausible, but it’s boring.

It’s all down to choice again, and I guess I’ve got the pants bored off you with endless discussions of choice. But I’m afraid it’s much deeper and more serious than that. Metrosexuals do read and visit art galleries, but only in order to be able to discuss it later with the right people. And it’s sad to see a good purpose vulgarized like that. But let’em go on. Anything for improving the general level of education.

Anyway, these are just musings of a daughter of Chaos tired of her own flippancy. Judging the others is very easy. Doing something all by yourself is not. Plus, there are much worse sins than memorizing reviews for further showing off at book launches.

Yet value is another gray area in a non-quantifiable world, and we didn’t master ethical engineering yet. Hope we never will. Or it will definitely be a the-Matrix-has-you situation.