Without the large bold signs in clothing shops marked ‘MEN’S WEAR’ and ‘WOMEN’S WEAR’, it would be very hard nowadays to distinguish exactly who goes where. Men these days are not afraid to show a bit of knee, walk the streets draped in scarves and have even swapped the various shades of grey for the pinks and purples.
It does not end with the clothes, because the gents nowadays have their own skin care ranges, they cleanse exfoliate, tone and moisturise. And for those bold enough, they go all out with a dab of eyeliner, which is jokingly referred to as guyliner.
A confident young man donning tight and bright orange shorts, coupled with a tighter green vest, confidently strolling at one of the popular shopping malls in Gaborone choosing to be referred to as ‘T’ explains that in his world not only do humans evolve but so do the clothes they wear,
“I wouldn’t be caught dead in some boring ensemble just because it’s the ‘manly’ thing to do,” said T. With a twirl and a finger snap, T further explains that people need to get on with the program and realise that, “Our bodies are canvases and we are artists.”
Regarding sexuality, T clarifies that he is at par with Pathos (The Greek Sex God) and is very much into women. T is what in the modern day world is referred to as a metro sexual.
When writer Mark Simpson debuted a brand new category of sexuality in the 20th century, what most people did not know is that metro sexuality is, in fact, a narcissistic trait which can be traced as far back as the times of the ancient Greeks. ?According to Greek mythology, there was a handsome man named Narcissus who was told that he would live for a long time if he never saw himself. He continued to break the hearts of many female and male admirers until one day he saw a reflection of himself in a pool of water.
He screamed out saying, “Now I know what others have suffered from me, for I burn with love of my own self and yet how can I reach that loveliness I see mirrored in the water,” as he faded away, his reflection could not reciprocate.?The metro sexual of the 21st century is defined by their looks. They generally come across as prim, proper, pristine and extremely groomed young men. The conventional rugged looked donned by most men has been cast aside and replaced by designer label clothes, colognes, unisex hairstyles and clothes. ?Before understanding metro sexuality, most Batswana generally perceived them as borderline homosexuals.
“They are gay,” said a middle-aged conservative Motswana man when asked for his opinion.
However, a younger more liberal Motswana lady stated that, “I think that it is great that men are looking after themselves and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with a man who is well shaven…clean and concerned about the way he looks. I know that there is a tendency for people to want to think that a metro sexual man is not “man enough”; I think this is complete nonsense.”
Despite these parallel perceptions that exist within our society some people are okay with this phenomenon.
Psychologist Collen Dipate, however, has another point.
“I think that plenty of men have adopted the ‘look good feel good’ mantra. I call them metropolitan men. Times are dictating that looking good can never be just the prerogative of women.”
Dipate further explains that this burgeoning trend is not only in Africa; it is in other countries too, to stay. Men have begun to focus on themselves, eseng mo nneng gotwe ‘bontle ja monna ke mosadi’. (A man’s beauty is seen through his woman)”.
However, some are extremely adamant that: “They are annoying! Nothing worse than a man who shares mirror space with you. Need a man to be well groomed of course, close shaven hair, clean teeth and well kept beard.”
Metro sexuality has very little to do with sexuality (homo/hetero) but rather has more to do with lifestyle, attitude and public perception. Before it infiltrated many cultures and societies, metro sexuality was deemed to be a prototype for homosexuality.