The Metrosexual Man versus the Cowboy

What do women want?
by Toni Coleman

metrosexual man
metrosexual man © Studio-54 – All rights reserved.

He always looks
perfectly put together. He can be in a t-shirt and jeans or heading out to a
black-tie event. His hair never has a bad day. His nails are clean and buffed.
His clothes are perfectly pressed and exquisitely coordinated. He smells like
flowers and spice. Is he gay? No, he’s the new metrosexual man.

As many of you know by now, the term “metrosexual” was coined by a journalist
(and gay man) named Mark Simpson, to describe a new kind of urban male who is
straight, but in touch with his feminine side and not afraid to show it.
Essentially, metrosexuals are guys who take on behaviors and show an interest
in things that have traditionally belonged in the female domain.

Girls, you may have a metrosexual brother, male friend or boyfriend (ex). These are
the guys you can shop till you drop with. They can discuss fashion, will
notice your great new shoes, buy their grooming products from the same places
you do and have no qualms about having a manicure, pedicure or facial. You can
actually talk to these guys about something other than sports, cars and other
traditionally male interests. These are the guys you can take to the opera,
symphony and ballet. The perfect man, right? Depends on whom you talk to.

Let’s step back a minute and look at the where and how of the existence of the
metrosexual man. Simply put, he is a by-product of feminism and the changing
roles and related expectations of women. As women have moved into
(previously) male dominated environments and roles, it has caused a shift in
the male-female balance. Women are now active participants in industry,
politics and the professions- to name a few. However, as they have left their
old jobs as homemakers and full-time domestic caregivers, they left a lot of
empty space to be filled. Childcare providers and the domestic cleaning
industry could provide some of this. The problem was all the “other” stuff
women had always done.

Men were therefore called upon to contribute more to the raising of children,
housework, cooking, shopping, etc. Their sons were being exposed a new role
model, a dad who took on jobs and chores that had traditionally belonged to
mom. Young boys themselves were also being tapped to do housework and help
with siblings, exposing them to a new way of being a male in our society.
Women had become more independent and financially and professionally
successful. Men had become more domestic and had to soften their style as they
moved into more traditionally feminine roles.

A new social order had evolved that worked for everyone, right? Not necessarily. We never
take on something new without giving something up. So, what has been
discarded? Clearly defined social roles and the expectations that come
with them- for starters. Suddenly there was a new blueprint for how
men and women should relate- especially in the world of dating.
However, it was unclear and depending upon whom you asked, you would
get a different answer. Usher in the confusion and frustration
surrounding dating in the new millennium.

Women ask questions such as:

  • who asks who out
  • who calls who
  • who pays
  • who makes decisions about where to go, etc.
  • What are the expectations at the end of the date
  • how soon should we become intimate

Women comment on:

  • his lack of initiative in calling or asking her out
  • his expectation that they will go dutch
  • how he never offers to pick her up
  • his overall lack of assertiveness
  • his saying he will call, but not following through
  • his too polished style which lacks a certain spark of masculinity
  • his taking longer to get ready than she does
  • his crudeness or over aggressive style
  • his expectation that they will have sex

Men ask questions such as:

  • what do women want
  • why should a guy have to ask a girl out
  • why should the guy always pay
  • why do women say they want sensitivity, etc., but see guys like that
    as wimps
  • why do women give out such mixed signals in general
  • why do women seem to reject nice guys and go for jerks
  • why can’t a woman be the aggressor

Men comment on:

  • women acting spoiled
  • women wanting their independence, etc. but not wanting equal
    responsibility and weight
  • women expecting a lot from men, but offering little in return
  • women not knowing what they want
  • women playing games
  • women’s attraction to “bad boys”

Both women and men verbalize that they are ok with the current roles
that have evolved for them in our society, yet I hear both talk
wistfully about how it was in previous generations. Back then;
everyone knew what was expected from him or her. Life was predictable.
Dating was much simpler and “safer”. Men were men and women were
raised to be wives and homemakers. We have gained something and we
have lost something. One thing for sure, we can never have it both

What’s the answer? It is never simple. However, it does involve better
communication in general between men and women. Singles need to
clarify for themselves (first), what kind of partner they seek and
what their expectations from a relationship really are. Once a person
is clear about what they must have and what they can’t live with, they
need to go out and honestly seek that. Knowing what you want is good.
If you turn off someone by your frankness, he/she was not the someone
for you.

So, begin with a self-assessment. Then go out and pursue interests and
environments, which maximize your chances of meeting compatible
singles. And remember, there is no perfect person. He may be overly
fussy with his hair, take longer in the bathroom than most women, be
less ambitious in his work life than you are and put your cooking to
shame. However, if he’s sensitive to your needs, easy to talk to and
fun to be with, great with kids and very supportive of your goals, he
may be the guy of your dreams.

Article by
Toni Coleman
Helping Singles Create Lasting Love

This work first appeared at and is copyrighted by the author. No unauthorized duplication or presentation allowed. Copyright © 2004 Toni
Coleman All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission of the author.