Gone are the days when you could get away with following Patrick Bateman’s grooming routine from American Psycho – an ice pack, stomach crunches, a water-activated gel cleanser, and a herb mint facial mask – and still call yourself a Metrosexual. While a similar level of commitment to a high-maintenance lifestyle continues to go a long way, for the Metrosexual 2.0 generation, the stakes are higher, their bathroom cabinets are fuller than ever with products, and the V-cut lines run deep below their abs.
Quite a bit of change has taken place since the initial burst of metrosexuality in the noughties. The male grooming industry has boomed impressively, with men spending more on male-specific toiletries than on shaving products for the first time in 2013. Today’s skincare products for men not only include the usual moisturisers and cleansers, but also cover lip balms, concealers, anti-ageing solutions, and eye serums (just look at Tom Ford’s divine Bronzing Gel for Men, for starters). The demand for more sophisticated men’s products stems not only from the usual suspects like the USA and the UK, but fast-rising consumer markets like India, South Korea, China, and Brazil – everyone’s climbing on the Metrosexual wagon.
David Beckham has remained standing as the paragon of metrosexuality, but this time, the focus falls less on his willingness to wear a sarong (it really was all about the clothes back then) and more on his athletic prowess – and, inevitably, the physique that comes with it. Other patron saints of the Metrosexual 2.0 movement, like David Gandy, Channing Tatum, and Henry Cavill, also sport the kind of shredded, superhero-esque bodies that would put most Greek marble statues to shame. In short, it’s about looking as good out of your clothes as you do in them, and in today’s camera-centric, pictures-as-proof world, there’s no faking the hard work that goes into it. As Hugh Jackman famously tweeted, “If the bar ain’t bendin’, then you’re just pretendin’.”
The recent mania for an ultra-ripped, sun’s-out-guns-out look has inspired many a modern metrosexual to look in the direction of other sports figures such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Rafael Nadal, both of whom have already ventured into the fashion world by posing for some fairly revealing Emporio Armani advertising campaigns. Buffed, tanned, and chiseled to perfection, these new icons of masculinity let their bodies do the talking, positing the Metrosexual 2.0 as an urban warrior who makes regular pilgrimages to the gym, and who’s comfortable enough with himself to be on first-name terms with the facialist who helps shape his eyebrows, as well as the barber who maintains his designer stubble.
As a rough idea of how much work it takes to go full metro here, Jason Lim – a fitness enthusiast who was previously voted one of the top 12 Hottest Hunks in Malaysia – visits the gym five times a week, for 90 minutes per session, and is careful to keep his body fat level below 15 percent. It’s also worth mentioning that he uses a facial treatment essence, face and eye moisturisers, and applies a weekly face masque, so there’s no slacking off on the skincare front, either. “Your physical appearance will be the very first impression you give to others in a crowd – no one is able to see your inner beauty at first glance,” Jason explains. That, surely, has to be the epitome of the Metrosexual 2.0 philosophy right there.
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