Mark Simpson, now a writer for the UK Telegraph, coined the term “metrosexual” in an article for The Independent in 1994. The term referred to a new generation of men who spent a significant amount of time and money on fashion, male grooming products, and appearances. In his essay, Simpson defined metrosexual as “the single young man with a high disposable income, living or working in the city (because that’s where all the best shops are)” and called him the “most promising consumer market of the decade.”
But that was the 90s. The 2000s saw an explosion in male beauty consumerism: the gelled, manicured, tanned, and toned boys on Jersey Shore are no longer specifically Jersey–Italian archetypes. Male body wash and lotion and even manicures are marketed toward insurance salesmen in Omaha the same as a metrosexual in Brooklyn. The male evolution of beauty is next level—and Simpson has done it again. Spornosexuals, he writes, are a new generation of sex and body-obsessed boys, the 2014 version of a 1994 metrosexual.
Here are five things you need to know to be able to identify a spornosexual.
1. Spornosexuals Are Pretty Boys
His hair is perfectly coiffed and—wait, is that the faint scent of Crabtree & Evelyn? According to Bloomberg Businessweek, personal toiletries marketed toward men rose to 5.6 percent of the market share in the past five years. Mintel found that the number of beauty and personal care products aimed specifically at men has increased 70 percent since 2007. Bars of soap are out: loofas and body wash are in.
2. Spornosexuals Are Ripped
You know the guy with glistening-abs and buffed shiny flesh guy on the cover of “health” magazines? A spornosexual will spend hours at the gym toning and re-toning to ensure that his body is his best asset. What’s the point of grooming something that you have to cover up? A six-pack is a good start, but a real spornosexual has pecs and biceps that make his abs jealous, and the gym is as regular a part of his routine as the protein shake afterwards.
3. Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize
By accessories here we don’t necessarily mean neckties and watches. Spornosexuals accentuate their bodies with strategically placed tattoos (think tribal bands around chiseled biceps) and piercings that go far beyond an ear lobe. Simpson calls these kinds of accessories totally tarty, because they’re attention grabbing attempts to woo women through means other than nice clothes—dressing well is so metrosexual.
4. Getting Made Up To Get Laid
Harry Styles, the teen heartthrob singer of New Direction, stepped out in lipstick earlier this year, and his flirt with femininity didn’t deter young lovesick fans. Not only are spornosexuals commanding a fair share of the toiletry market, but the makeup and beauty market as well. Men in the Middle East have been getting manicures and spa treatments forever (they’re Turkish baths for a reason), but the trend is catching on the West.
5. They Emulate Porn Stars
Really what it all comes down to is… sex. Spornosexuals are hyper-sexual, attention-seeking, body-touting, confidence-oozing men of the new world, who look like porn stars and give their body the same attention they lavish on similarly body-conscious women. Simpson asserts that they “eagerly objectify” their own bodies—and why shouldn’t they? In a spornosexual world, making yourself as sexy as possible is a manly lifestyle.