Metrosexual marketing

man creamToday I received a curious little book from Nordstrom’s called “The Grooming Game,” which features a host of men’s hair and skin products (available online as The Men’s Grooming Guide). Up until now I had thought Nordstrom’s figured me for a woman since they regularly send me lingerie and dainty dress catalogs. This book though is an extremely tactful piece of marketing, with ambiguous writing and suggestive photography. The opening page says it all: an image of a man shaving, staring off into the distance in Narcissian gaze, reaffirmed by the text, “think strategically: forget vanity—sharpening your image lets you take your big self out in the world. If life is a game, why not play? When it comes to grooming, Nordstrom knows the rules.”

Every page features some sort of beauty—er—masculine product, from face care to cologne, even a man-blush (a Jean Paul Gaultier product called Better Than Tan Matte Bronzer). There is also a host of Queer Eye wisdom, such as “look the part: natural may be nice, but sometimes you’ve got to buff your bluff,” or “keep them guessing: maintain your fresh face by moisturizing at night.” For the man with all the products they even offer an Alpha Lipoic Acid Face Firming Activator from N.V. Perricone Cosmeceuticals in 2 oz. bottle for $95. The question on everyone’s mind: what the hell is a cosmecutical?

My friend Zach has been saying for quite some time that metrosexualism is the cosmetic company’s solution to a saturated market. In this age, it’s nearly impossible to sell a woman another product regardless of its quality, innovation or ingredients. What these companies need is a new market, and what better than an untapped population equal in size to women? I’m sure that Queer Eye is just the beginning, and that over the next few years I’ll be inundated with enough eye creams to make me sick (even if I don’t eat them). I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve had a facial before, and I tend to use moisturizer in the morning, but I’m not sure I’m ready for the onslaught of advertising I’ve been able to ignore up until now. It’s just a matter of time before I get my first Loreal catalog.

6 thoughts on “Metrosexual marketing

  1. “sometimes you’ve got to buff your bluff.”

    Which part of me is my bluff? Or are they casting aspersions upon my naturalness?

  2. oh my. watch out guys. pretty soon you’re going to be having conversations with your friends along the lines of “do you SEE this zit?! i used tea tree oil concealer from buffboyz cosmeceuticals and you can still see it. do i look fat?”

  3. Anyone else read American Psycho? You know the scene where he goes through his whole shower routine, naming all the products he uses by brand and in which order, and it’s like 20 different creams and unguents? That is what the metrosexual trend invariably makes me think of.

    Dear Nordstrom’s,

    Your men’s grooming catalog is no good to me, since it does not also include your fine selection of hamster tubing and accessories.

    I do, however, find your cutlery to be excellent.


  4. “My name is Patrick Bateman. I’m 27 years old. I believe in taking care of myself, and a balanced diet and a rigorous exercise routine. In the morning, if my face is a little puffy, I’ll put on an ice pack while doing my stomach crunches. I can do a thousand now. After I remove the ice pack, I use a deep pore cleanser lotion. In the shower, I use a water activated gel cleanser. Then a honey almond body scrub. And on the face, an exfoliating gel scrub. Then apply an herb mint facial mask, which I leave on for 10 minutes while I prepare the rest of my routine. I always use an aftershave lotion with little or no alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out and makes you look older. Then moisturizer, then an anti-aging eye balm followed by a final moisturizing protective lotion…”

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