Shock horror: we found out this week that the brutish, unreformed Wayne Rooney actually cares about his appearance. He’s insecure about his thinning hair so has decided—even without Coleen’s prompting—to spend his cash on a hair transplant. He joins the growing league of other alpha males, including Gordon Ramsay and Shane Warne, who have indulged in this kind of expensive grooming.
Metrosexuality, it seems, was not just some early noughties craze, embraced only by eccentric, urbane men within a three-mile radius of Soho. Enhancing your looks is slowly becoming an acceptable face of modern-day masculinity. Just look how the male grooming market has expanded: it tripled in value between 2002 and 2006, and the sale of men’s lotions, gels and creams increased by 77 per cent. No wonder we have feckless youths: masculinity, and proper male models, are disappearing.
But embracing metrosexuality is actually the height of masculinity. It is a way of improving one’s status in the 21st century mating and employment markets; of gaining a competitive advantage in a more materialistic, image-obsessed society.
Women, happily, are more economically independent due to improved education and employment opportunities. This means a man’s earning power is less important for women when they seek partners. And the erosion of repressive moral norms has triggered higher divorces rates and frequent re-partnering. Men face a more competitive mating market, and boosting their attractiveness is a good way of improving their chances. What’s more, attractiveness—the way you dress and look—is critical for doing well in general.