Today I sit contemplating which one of my dozen or so pairs of shoes I should wear with which one of my twenty or so pairs of pants. The fore mentioned statement wasn't meant to be a boast or brag of sorts, but rather the folly that leads me into my entry today. See, like many men in today's "Esquire" society, I try to keep up with the latest trends and popular styles. Through my spectacles I see the lost of "manliness", as it once existed. Facials, manicures, pedicures, spa days, Botox injections, muscle scoping (I'm looking at LL Cool J), etcetera, these treatments are all things that the male gender spends millions on annually. Some of these beauty treatments have been used by men for centuries, but in my opinion, have gotten a little out of hand. Let's approach the subject from an anthropological point of view. In ancient societies, kings and men of the noble order would preen and pamper themselves in the pursuit of beautification (even though it must be stated, most of these men weren't "manly"; I'm looking at Ancient Rome). The worth and nobility of a man was seen through his armor, his formal wear, or the adornments upon his attire. For a time in America, man was seen as just that, a man, defined by his ruggedness and his animalistic nature. During the age of dust storms and gun wielding horse riders, men were the masculine counterpart to the prim and prissy women of that period. Now onto today and why I say that man, as he were, is almost no more. I am a twenty-five year old, African American male, from Queens, NY, so I was virtually born into Hip-Hop culture, so that is where I'll direct my ire at that first. For years, the pupils of "The School Of Hard Knocks" have always maintained a somewhat basic uniform consisting of baggy jeans, a hoodie or tee-shirt, and sneakers or Timberland boots. But with the rise of today's Hip-Hop youth, the uniform has transformed into tight jeans (Jim Jones), young shirts (Lil Wayne), and Day-Glo sneakers (anyone that wears A Bathing Ape's). The style icons for Hip-Hop culture have seemed to have shifted from prison inmates to the residents of New York City's famed (and homosexually driven) Village. For the other people in my age bracket of twenty-five through thirty (who have given up on the near dead Hip-Hop culture) have also changed and shifted our sense of fashion. In the Eighties, fashion was a female driven industry. Designers crafted expensive items for their female consumers, men being delegated to shopping for function rather than fashion (unless they were gay, lived in Miami, or was a member of the Lo-Life's). In today's market, men are consumers of the same four hundred dollar jeans as women, designer shoes, hundred dollar shirts, and diamond encrusted jewelry (diamonds are a GIRLS best friend, not yours son). I too am a victim of today's "War against Manliness", I too get mani-pedi's, I too exfoliate and moisturize daily, I too seek the latest styles and hottest trends, and I too try to "preserve my sexy". My living room table has a stack of magazines with titles that read off, "GQ: Gentlemen's Quarterly", "Esquire", "Complex", "Details" and "Men's Vogue". But now I ask, with ruggedness and masculinity slowly being chipped away, chivalry being long dead, and the rise of the "Independent Women", what will happen to "man" in the future? The magazine "Esquire" is subtitled "Man at His Best", but at this current moment, is man actually at his best? Stop the pussification of man (go chop down a tree or something).
Peace, I mean WAR!