‘A Fresh Clean Smell That Could ONLY Be Masculine!’

Mark Simpson has a sniff around a classic men’s deodorant ad that reveals how far we’ve come – and also how some things never change Back in the 1960s the mass-market ‘grooming’ of men by advertisers wanting to sell them vanity products was only just beginning its warm-up. This rare and pristine copy of a 1968 UK cinema ad for men’s deodorant with the reassuringly martial name ‘Target’ (a brand that seems to have gone missing in the intervening half century) recently posted on the BFI website is […]

Fag-Up, America

Column by yours truly over on HuffPo about why America needs to drop the manly strap-ons and fag-up instead.

A Bit of Laurie (& Fry)

“At first I thought it was a mistake, but then I realised that L’Oreal wasn’t looking for models but for people with strong personalities, who are worth it…and who aren’t afraid to proclaim that using cosmetics can be a very masculine decision after all.”    – Hugh Laurie.  L’Oreal’s new middle-aged poster boy Hugh Laurie — or Hugh L’Oreal as he shall henceforth be known — used to attend the same gym as me in the 1990s, in Tufnel Park, North London, before he moved […]

The Metrosexual is Undead

How many obituaries will the press write for the metrosexual before they finally accept that he’s immortal? Or at least, undead? That every time they cut off his head and pronounce him ‘deceased’ they replace him with even more metrosexuality? I was recently asked some questions by Maria Paz Lopez for the Spanish national newspaper La Vanguardia about the supposed ‘decline’ of the metrosexual in response to a piece in food and drink retailing magazine The Grocer called ‘Rise of the Retrosexual’, also widely-publicised in the UK — though […]

Henry Finally Throws in the Towel

Much-loved British heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper died this week. Unborn in 1963, the year he nearly defeated Cassius Clay (the Brits love near-winners much more than winners), I remember him for the curious Brut TV commercials he did in the 1970s that helped usher in the world of male product aisles in supermarkets and spornographic advertising we know today. ‘Enery’s ‘omely features and working class man’s man status, along with the ironic play on Brut/brute, guaranteed that there was nothing poofy about men using cologne […]

Retrosexuality isn’t what it used to be

My attention was recently drawn by a concerned member of the browsing public to a piece on Salon.com, ‘Retrosexuals: The latest lame macho catchphrase’ by Aaron Traister, entertainingly lambasting the ‘new’ retrosexual trend: I woke up this morning to discover my local paper, the Philadelphia Inquirer, peddling a story about America’s new favorite model of man: the retrosexual. Normally I ignore almost everything in my local paper, but this, in combination with a recent article in the New York Times about the sequel to “The […]

Republican Great White Hope Scott Brown’s Pink Leather Past

A profile on the truck driving Republican Presidential hopeful from Boston Scott Brown in Vanity Fair caused a few chuckles last week with his wife’s cheeky revelation about the pink leather shorts he wore to his first date with her in the 1980s.  Here’s the money shot: “The pinkish color drained from [Brown’s] face when I asked him about it during a conversation in his campaign office just before we took off in the truck. He clarified that the shorts weren’t something that he went […]