29 Nov 2003 A Dandy, A Fop, But Not a Newcomer
A word we keep hearing about is “metrosexual.”
Supposedly, the term comes from the notion that a man who is interested in clothes is in touch with his feminine side. We are supposed to believe that his very existence is a new social phenomenon.
I don’t buy it. Beau Brummel, prince of dandies, lived 200 years ago. Our Founding Fathers powdered their hair, which was bad enough by itself, but their English cohorts had to pay an annual hair powder tax for the privilege, and still they did it. Elizabethean men wore lace ruffs and peascod doublets (essentially coulottes for men, often garishly striped), and decorated codpieces (the size of which were regulated by the Church). Men wore tights, tying them with ribbon near the knee to keep the fabric clingy enough to show off their legs.
And keep in mind that among our European and some American ancestors, young boys wore dresses and long hair — which often was artificially curled. Talk about keeping in touch with your feminine side!
Today’s metrosexual is a dandy, or a fop. But he’s no newcomer.