Look out metrosexuals (search), there’s a new man in town.
He's the ubersexual (search) — the man who can talk fashion with women but also compete for them with the fireman at the bar.
He’s got male buddies, but also enjoys female friends. He might groom himself with expensive products, but he would never, under any circumstances, highlight, wax or self-tan.
He works out, but he’s not vainly striving for a six-pack.
“The ubersexual man would look down on a Calvin Klein model,” said Marian Salzman, who writes about ubersexuals in her book, "The Future of Men" (search), co-written by Ira Matathia and Ann O'Reilly. “He still cares about the way he looks — he hasn’t given up aesthetically on himself — he’s just not doing it to satisfy what the outer world sees him as, he’s doing it for how he feels about himself.”
Who fits the bill? Advertising agency JWT (search), which employs Salzman as director of strategic content, says the Top Ten ubersexuals are Jon Stewart, Guy Ritchie, Pierce Brosnan, Ewan McGregor, Barack Obama, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, George Glooney and — at No. 1 — U2 rock star and world peace activist Bono (search).
Click here for more information on the world's Top Ten ubersexuals.
This is a departure of sorts. For the last few years, the term metrosexual has been used as a defense of men’s open adoption of traditionally female things. We are men, hear us ... blow dry. Magazines like Vitals, Details, GQ and Esquire began celebrating men’s right to preen, primp and tweeze.
The ubersexual harkens back to a man from an older world — a man who might shave with a badger brush and an imported soap, but would never peel “in order to gently restore radiance to the skin.”
More than just style, though, the ubersexual embraces the positive aspects of his masculinity —his “M-ness” — without giving into the stereotypes that give guys a bad name.
He’s confident, passionate and feels good leading, but he respects women, is comfortable with his emotions and isn’t completely ignorant of anything cultural outside of sports, beer and burgers.
Talk show host Rush Limbaugh (search), who reportedly was disappointed to be left off the list of ubersexuals, told listeners: "An 'ubersexual' is simply what men used to be before feminists came along and neutered them. It is hilarious that we now have a book claiming women want, essentially, a new type of man, who is in reality the traditional man."
Salzman would agree: “[For the past 15 years] women have become so comfortable in the idea that they could define what was feminine, they had also taken over responsibility of dictating what was masculine ... the uberman is not going to take it anymore.”
Limbaugh may be right when he says women are looking for the "traditional man." A JWT study determined that while only 20 percent of men consider themselves ubermen, 80 percent of women want them to be.
Los Angeles-based psychologist Dr. William Hoppock said this issue comes up a lot in his sessions with female clients.
"I have some very high-powered, successful women in the entertainment business as clients. They’re strong in their work but — they want their man to come home to. We’re not talking about ‘hey, get me a beer’ — that’s not a man, that’s a boy man. We’re talking about the man who takes responsibility — who makes them feel safe: he ‘chops wood and carries water’ and he’s not pissed off at the woman for having to do that.”
Screenwriter Lorene Scafaria, a self-avowed "real woman," feels the same way.
"I think women are wanting to feel safe and taken care of more these days, and I don’t really know that that’s the sensation you get with a metrosexual.”
She also said she’s sick of having to take the lead when she goes out with a man.
“I’m sick of going on dates where I’m the one smelling the cork.”
She said she finally might have found a guy she has hopes for in part because “he says things like ‘what’s with women and shoes.’ I like that he doesn’t get that."
Another JWT poll asked 500 men and 500 women at what point in a relationship did they think it was OK to have sex. The majority of men said on the fourth or fifth date; women said between the first and second.
The roles have become reversed. And it’s confusing men.
Jonah Meyers, a partner in a leading New York-based Internet firm, said his girlfriend wants him to be a man’s man, but he has a hard time keeping up with her forever shifting perception of masculinity.
“It’s very confusing. One day men are told to have a mustache, the next week, they’re told to shave their chest. It’s confusing, it’s conflicting.”
Then again, maybe the mark of the new masculinized man is that he just doesn’t care. Maybe that’s what makes the ubersexual so different from the metrosexual.
You asked for the man’s man back, ladies. Are you sure you’re ready for it?