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
- Why Mitt Romney is perfectly poised for a comeback in 2016
- Why is the West so afraid of Islam?
- How to make classic pulled pork
- 8 secrets to steal from power networkers
- The Nazi smart bomb that inspired China's most dangerous weapon
- The best places to find love — and lust — according to science
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- Don't vote for Andrew Cuomo
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- How The Killing survived two cancellations and ended on its own terms
Subscribe to the Week