In the age of metrosexuals, man-scaping and mankinis, when is enough enough? I know not all blokes are blokey and I fully support a bit of healthy man-tenance, but some things are just plain womanly. At the risk of being politically incorrect or uncool (again), I’m going for some old fashioned sexual stereotyping, and asking why we women can’t just keep some things for ourselves. Things that are, well, womanly. Like these 5 things…
1. Long fingernails – This one is funny because some men have nice, manicured slightly long fingernails that are neat, clean and polished, while other men have long filthy ones that show they can’t be bothered looking after themselves. I don’t know which is worse. Then there’s painted nails – a hot trend for young hipsters and try-hard middle-agers that’s 50 shades of wrong. Probably the worst of all is the intentional long pinky nail, which we all know can only serve two purposes. One involves the nose and boogey, the other involves the nose and white substances. When it comes to nails, men only need to trim them, and keep them clean. Surely that’s not too much to ask?
2. Earrings: Not even George Michael and Andrew Ridgely could pull this off, and that was the 80s. Earrings are eternally womanly, and moreso in both ears. Embarrassingly, my husband once sported this look (again, the 80s), and tried to revive it for a fancy dress last year. I was mortified. He even tried to re-pierce the closed holes. Even more mortified. He thought it was hilarious. If you’re a pirate, earrings might match your look. If you’re a heterosexual suburban dad with a 4WD, a surfboard and a bus-pass to get to work, give it up and leave earrings for the ladies.
3. Rolled up jeans: Fashion forward young men everywhere - and they really are everywhere – seem obsessed with showing off their ladylike ankles. Mankles. They roll up their stovepipe jeans, which look great in black, but are now appearing in mustard, beige or ‘brick’, and they go sockless. Their mankles are sometimes hairless too, because their legs are waxed, but more on that later. Unless you’re a founding member of One Direction, or you’re running along the beach in an Enrique video-clip, please don’t roll your jeans up. Especially if they’re tight. It’s effeminate.
4. Sandals and sarongs – Not if you’re in Hawaii, Tahihti or Tonga. Actually maybe Tonga, but only if you’re Tongan. Jesus, of course sported sandals wherever he went, but he had the good sense to pair them with a toga, not a sarong that showed his moobs. Those ‘sport’ sandals that cost $2.50 from Phuket markets might be OK for men who are backpacking around Asia and can’t stand trekking in 38-degree temps wearing sneakers and socks. They’re also acceptable because of the holiday clothing paradox whereby you often wear things you wouldn’t be caught dead in at home. But the sarong? Not even on holiday. What's wrong with shorts?
5. Hair Removal – I’ve known men who have their backs or necks waxed, and that’s OK, because you feel for a dude who looks like they’re wearing a T-Shirt when they’re actually naked. Then, after the glam-rock days of the 90s, hairy chests started disappearing (Jon Bon Jovi, anyone?) and body hair on men started going waaaay out of fashion. In the 90s, the ‘back, sack and crack’ wax found popularity, and it simply hasn’t stopped. Now they get their eyebrows and legs waxed too! Is this going to far? Aren't men men because they’re hairier than women? It’s hormonal. It’s animal. It’s one of those things men are just supposed to have and women...well, hopefully we have less.
The bottom line is, I love men who look after themselves. I love men who know how to dress even more, but I still like men to look like men. Having said that, after I wrote this list, I watched last week's recording of channel 10's Can of Worms. Kris Smith – that gorgeously pruned and plucked specimen of modern manliness was wearing… rolled up jeans with no socks! I saw his mankles and they looked hairless. And he still looked like a man. A really, really, really, reaaaaally good looking man. And that might just be the key...