Is the post-metrosexual manscape landscape the 'mansome era'?
When it comes to answering the big questions about masculine identity and the male grooming ritual, Morgan Spurlock's latest movie, "Mansome" may barely scratch the surface (in spa terms that would make it more of an exfoliation than an extraction), but since the topic is being tackled on the silver screen at the same the makers of men's lotions, potions, salves, tonics and shaving implements are seeing increased sales, I decided to have a chat with Spurlock during his recent West Coast press junket. The result appears in Sunday's Image section.
Over the course of the interview, Spurlock shared some of the surprises and regrets from getting the documentary from idea to screen. One high point was finding Ricky Manchanda, a New Yorker who, at first glance, appears to be nothing more than a preening peacock of a narcissist.
"What I love about Ricky’s story is that he's a guy who has dealt with something we’ve all dealt with on some level -- peer pressure and being ridiculed by friends .... [A]nd Ricky’s saying: 'I’m not going to be that guy, I’m going to fit in by society’s standards.' That was a real 'aha' moment for me. "
Although there are a lot of voices (and I mean a lot; the press notes list 28 commentators by name -- from famous comedians to bloggers -- which doesn't include a slew of random men- and women-on-the-street interviews) there was some insight Spurlock wishes he'd been able to include.
"I would have loved more magazine editors and more people like that to chime in on their role in what’s happened," Spurlock said. "But it’s hard to get a lot of people to talk about how they've contributed to it. ... And we tried to get people from the modeling business to talk about it from the male modeling side and we couldn’t get people to go on camera to talk about that."
Most discussions about male grooming and societal expectations eventually touch on the dreaded M-word -- metrosexual -- and when the topic finally came up Spurlock sounded ready to kick it to the curb once and for all.
"What’s the word for the post post-metrosexual era? I don’t know what it is," Spurlock said. "But I do know that we're beyond metrosexual. That was a term that came out to describe these men -- was almost a slag against them -- because they were engaging in something that had been quintessentially associated with gay culture [and] it was a negative connotation."
"We're at a place where [men taking care of their appearance] is being seen as normal, and it's becoming more accepted in society. So maybe we're living in 'mansome' era."
-- Adam Tschorn
Photos: The men featured in "Mansome," Morgan Spurlock's new docu-comedy exploration of male grooming rituals, include New York City clothing company executive Ricky Manchanda, left, and the filmmaker himself. Credit: Warrior Poets