Monday, November 28, 2005

Plucked eyebrows, caviar facials, waxed chests, pink shirts. Welcome the urban Indian male in his brand new avatar: the metrosexual. The man who's as comfortable with multani mitti facials as he is with corporate finance spreadsheets. Or electric drills. Or better still....gurgling babies.

Cosmetics for men had hitherto meant all those colognes and after shaves. Throw in some more and we had deodorants and other toileteries. All that is passe. Today man in his quest for the skin beautiful is trying out skin care lotions. Emami's new fairness cream fair and handsome targeted at men has caught the market by the storm. The ad has a male model trying to woo pretty women with his complexion lightened by applying the cream. Says Emami's director Mohan Goenka "Our initial worry was men would be shy and not buy it. But these fears have proven unfounded."

From New Delhi to Chennai, male grooming centers and unisex salons are popping everywhere. Vikram Bahl, brand manager, Gillette India says a study they commissioned shows that Indian men spend an average of 20 minutes in front of the bathroom mirror every morning as opposed to 18 by women. "The global average is 44 minutes for men, but I'd say Indian men are catching up quite fast, considering the fact that it was looked upon as effeminate to do more than comb your hair just five years ago," he says. In other words, the moisturized, sweet 'n' seductive smelling, well-tweezed man is here to stay.

But beauty as we all know, is not skin deep. And so for a sculpted and beautiful body, an increasing number of men are going under the scalpel for breast reduction. Plastic surgery centers show an increase of about 30-40% in the number of men opting for breast reduction that costs anywhere between Rs. 30,000-Rs.40,000.

The wind is shifting in the advertisement world too. Savvy well groomed male models endorse products ranging from electronic gadgets to cookware. Diapers may soon join the roster.

And it's not just about the clear complexion, spruced look, stylish clothes and accessories. For the metrosexual, maleness is stitched seamlessly into feminity. The man therefore has a fine aesthetic sense, is sensitive and romantic and not embarrassed at all to be in touch with the feminine side of life.

The sarkar our mai baap is not far behind either. In an effort to encourage more fathers to take care of their drooling babies, the Central Govt. has approved paternity leave for its employees. Rajasthan's Vasundhara Raje Govt. has done the same at the state level. Other state governments are contemplating paternity leaves as is the All-India Federation of Universities.

SO...apply that face mask, diaper the baby and head to the corporate boardroom.....the beautiful and sensitive man has arrived.

PS. Enough digressing in the last two posts. The next post will be on Ursula Ke Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness (as requested by AS).....some gender benders there.....


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