Contrary to popular understanding—fueled by conservatives who are fond of caricaturing liberals as well-coiffed and manicured wimps—Simpson does not define the metrosexual as particularly feminine or even gay, but as “a collector of fantasies about the male sold to him by the media.” Thus George W. Bush strutting around on an aircraft carrier is every bit as metrosexual as a teen idol like Orlando Bloom. In a media universe ruled by marketing gods, “the traditional forms and sufferings of stoic, self-denying, self-sacrificing old-fashioned masculinity are merely cutesy, quaint props for the new, aestheticised, moisturized self-regarding variety.” In the new millenium, it’s more important to look like a hero than act like one—as John Kerry could well testify.

Lakshmi Chaudhry, “Men Growing Up to Be Boys”