When I was growing up, my father was the one who took me on shopping excursions, and patiently waited outside many a woman’s dressing room at Saks or Bloomingdales. We studied the nuances of collectable cars from the lines of the body to the details of the interior and yes, we buffed our nails, polished our shoes, shared our Coogi sweaters and of course… spent many hours antiquing all over the East coast. Just last month we had a murse off (which he won – picture is at the bottom)
My Dad is a Metrosexual.
There, I said it. He’s finally out of the dressing room closet and I’m sure will be helping design the t-shirts for their first chevron patterned parade.
I wish I’d coined the term … Metrosexual: A straight man who likes shopping, manicures, trends, home décor, staring at paint chips, and reading Men’s Health.
Anywho, in an unfortunate turn of events, my husband has turned out to be “Metrophobic.” Now, this term I may have coined, and if you use it, you owe me royalties. I certainly didn’t know this when I married him… it never came up. All other sexual orientations are totally acceptable to him and had I went down a checklist trying to cover each of these categories I may have learned of this prejudice earlier. As it turns out he finds Metrosexuals to be a curious bunch. He can’t understand how a straight man would waste time keeping up with trends, care about quality of leather on a sofa or use the term mani/pedi without chuckling.
In my defense – when I first met Mark, he was malleable. I had him wearing trendy things, even hair gel. It was the 90’s okay? Stop questioning my judgment. But, I went too far. I got him a pair of Kenneth Cole chunky black shoes. At the time they were very in. The problem was that he is a size 12, and chunky 12’s are pretty, well…Frankenstein-esque. I saw it immediately, but couldn’t admit it because I wanted him to trust me and allow me to change him … obviously (is that not every girls goal?)
However, his friends weren’t so courteous and Mark’s “clown shoes,” became a standard dig that would be referenced for years to come. That was the end of Mark’s experimental phase and the last time he let me dress him in anything other than khaki shorts or jeans and tee’s.
He won’t wear anything too fitted, too shiny, too patterned, too sheer, too thick, too acid washed, too dark washed, or too trendy. On top of those requirements, he won’t wear button fly jeans or anything slimfit, as they do not provide the generous room needed to accommodate his package “take it easy, Jon Hamm.”
As if those weren’t enough parameters – He won’t actually shop, so if I want him to have any style at all, I have to guess at sizing and acceptability. As an ex-personal shopper and stylist, you can imagine how it kills me not to be able to buy him a pair of beautiful Ferragamo shoes or perfect fit designer jeans because of the metal hardware and giveaway pocket embroidery.
My father called me from Saks yesterday to run a gift for Mark’s birthday by me.
“Now Jenny, before you say anything, I have searched for an hour and found something so perfect. I would love to have this item myself and I think you could talk Mark into wearing it.”
“What is it?” I ask, already knowing from the buildup it’ll be way over the top.
“It’s an awesome black ‘Armani’ vest with stripes. It would look so great with jeans and a t-shirt.”
Now, I knew it was going to be over the top. I knew my Dad would throw out all previous knowledge of my husband and get something he wouldn’t want, but in my wildest, I would never have guessed a striped vest.
“Dad, no way in hell would he wear that.”
“Why, you don’t think you could talk him into it?”
“No.” Honestly speaking, if my conservative husband wore a vest and t-shirt to dinner I would lead the charge at making fun of him.
“Don’t you guys go out to dinner? What does he wear?”
“Yes Dad, we go out to dinner, and he wears a button down.”
“That’s so boring… how about a skinny tie, does he have any of those yet? They’re still big this fall.”
“No, I don’t think he wants a skinny tie.”
“They’re not super skinny, just a little.”
“Yes, I got it, not a bolo.”
“No, way thicker than that, but not too thick.”
“I promise, I get it, not a leather tie with piano keys a la 80s rockers, just a thinner than an average tie.”
“I can measure it — the first knuckle of my pointer is exactly one inch, I use it to guestimate.”
“I know you do, Dad. Just get him a nice button down. Think Ted Baker, Donna Karan, Theory, Old Navy. You know, simple?”
“Would he wear one with an amoeba pattern, because I saw a beautiful Robert Graham.”
In the end he got lovely shirt – simple nice stripes, good colors, and no patterns that you’d find under a microscope. No sheen, no metallic thread. Totally acceptable, except for a three metal snaps on the sleeve (My Dad’s favorite part.) One snap with a gun inlay, one with a star and one simply plain.
In a department store with 10,000 variations of a basic button down shirt, he couldn’t find even one?
It was returned.
When it comes to Metrophobics buy them gift certificate so their wives can get some shoes or at least a mani/pedi.