Metrosexual man is so over (sorry, Becks). So it's Uber to you, George
Sensitive is out. Rugged is in. Liz Hoggard on the rough and ready rise of Ubersexual Man
Sunday 11 September 2005
Marian Salzman, the US trendspotter, says that women are bored by idols such as David Beckham and Jude Law. Instead they are yearning for the manly virtues of Cary Grant.
Her new book, out later this month, praises a new brand of "ubersexual" male who mixes old-fashioned honour with good conversation. The actors George Clooney and Ewan McGregor, and even Jamie Oliver, are now preferable, it concludes.
According to The Future of Men, what first appeared adorable about the metrosexual - he reads, he shops, he exfoliates - turned out to be nothing more than thinly veiled narcissism.
In contrast, the ubersexual is more into relationships than self. "He thinks positively of women but he doesn't go out of his way to seek their acceptance and approval. Because he's not bitter or boxed in, he can cope with living in a world increasingly dominated by femininity," she said.
Where the metrosexual was all about facial grooming, the ubersexual is defiantly masculine, but never macho. Confident without being obnoxious, he has the traditional male qualities of strength, honour and character, plus a willingness to communicate and co-operate.
He loves his family and has close male friends, to whom he can show affection. He has one or two serious hobbies. He even likes a bit of shopping.
A new survey conducted across four countries by Salzman and her colleagues at the advertising agency J Walter Thompson suggests that women are becoming increasingly assertive in relationships, and require a strong partner in return.
More than three-quarters of the 40,000 respondents, male and female, agreed that women are more sexually pro-active. When Salzman questioned a group of 21- to 29-year-old singletons in New York about how soon is the right time to have sex, men averaged four or five dates, giving them time to get to know a potential partner first, while women went for sex on the first or second date. "The women told us they didn't have a lot of time, so they didn't want to keep having drinks and dinner if he wasn't going to be worth it," she says.
Salzman was shocked to meet 21-year-old men who were taking Viagra to combat performance anxiety "because they felt women were pressuring them sexually".
Salzman has built up a track record identifying trends. In 2000, she spotted that single professional women would become the new free-spending yuppies. Long before Ali G, she coined the word "wigger" to describe suburban white kids copying black street styles.
So what's next? "Pornography going mainstream - it's getting harder and harder to shock in such a sexy landscape. Personal Control Freaks - we have the TiVo personal video recorder, the MP3 player, BlackBerry, personal trainers, personal coaches, you name it. And look out for the rise of cool Chinese and Indian culture. They understand the knack of making the clock stop, whereas we seem to have found out how to make the clock go faster."
'The Future of Men' by Marian Salzman, Ira Matathia and Ann O'Reilly is published by Palgrave Macmillan, £14.99
'He expected me to look as pretty as him'
Emma Worley, 30, actor and life coach, is married and lives in London
"My ex-boyfriend was beautiful and seemed charming and caring, but he was hiding his 'I actually think women are second-rate humans' behind a gentlemanly exterior. That's the trouble with metrosexual men. What he really wanted was a woman who was attractive and who'd stay at home and build a family, not use her brain or talent in any way. He expected me to look as pretty as he did.
"You can spot a metrosexual when they start calling shampoo 'products'. One metrosexual I know even has a folder at home, with neatly filed articles on 'how to lose weight', 'how to get bigger muscles'.
"Then I met Peter, who is an equal. He's totally secure about himself - he cooks while I do the manly stuff like drilling and mending the car, but he helps me out with his manly muscles when called upon. He's a far better communicator than me, but at the same time we still have that very girl-boy relationship. He likes it when I say 'can you open this can for me?'"
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