The Philadelphia Inquirer has uncovered an exciting new trend: The "retrosexual," a "man's man" who is leading a stylistic "menaissance" away from well-groomed, emasculating "metrosexuality." The Inquirer story quotes academics, bloggers, and other experts — none of whom seem to realize that this so-called trend is at least six years old.
What evidence did the Inquirer miss?
Plenty. UrbanDictionary.com cites 24 definitions of "retrosexual," including some dating back to 2004. In 2006, MSNBC.com identified actors Jack Black and Vince Vaughn as Hollywood's new "retrosexuals." A book, The Retrosexual Manual: How to Be a Real Man, has counseled men how to be the "opposite of a namby-pamby metrosexual" since its 2008 publication. And "retrosexual" has its own lame-internet-joke list, a sure sign of a dated trend.
Did other media outlets fall for it?
Sloppy trend reporting often triggers a wave of equally misinformed copycat stories, but at least two outlets cast doubt on this piece. This "trend," says Jen Doll at The Village Voice, "sounds like the same old crap in different clothing." Aaron Traister at Salon was unimpressed not only with the timing of the Inquirer's "ridiculous trend piece," but also with its shallowness. Men are "at a crossroads," Traister allows, but "creepy dress-up" in retro accoutrement is just as contrived as metrosexuality. Besides, he adds, "I find it hard to believe any guy beyond the schmucks in this article would actually be dumb enough to identify themselves as 'retrosexual.'"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Obama just kneecapped Jeb Bush and Chris Christie's 2016 prospects
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- It's official: The religious right is calling it quits
- How science is accelerating our search for alien life
- Inside Turkey's shadow war with ISIS
- 10 things you need to know today: November 23, 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- The dangerously childish morality of liberal ObamaCare supporters
- The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 1: 10 major differences between the book and the movie
- 10 classic Sesame Street moments we wouldn't show today's kids
Subscribe to the Week