So it amused me that the New York Times, having spread "metrosexual" into the world's vocabulary a few years back, now writes basically the same article, this time calling it 'gay vague' ("Gay or Straight? Hard to Tell"). The article struggles almightily to say just how this 'phenomenon' is different from 'metrosexuality':
All this faux hoo-ha seems to mean, really, is that American men are becoming as style-conscious as their European counterparts. (Remember those "gay or European" Internet quizzes a while back?) And even then I'd venture that it's American men living on the coasts who're doing so.
The result is a new gray area that is rendering gaydar - that totally unscientific sixth sense that many people rely on to tell if a man is gay or straight - as outmoded as Windows 2000. It's not that straight men look more stereotypically gay per se, or that out-of-the-closet gay men look straight. What's happening is that many men have migrated to a middle ground where the cues traditionally used to pigeonhole sexual orientation - hair, clothing, voice, body language - are more and more ambiguous. Make jokes about it. Call it what you will: "gay vague" will do. But the poles are melting fast.
The new convergence of gay-vague style is not to be confused with metrosexuality, which steered straight men to a handful of feminine perks like pedicures, scented candles and prettily striped dress shirts. Gay vagueness affects both straight and gay men. It involves more than grooming and clothes. It notably includes an attitude of indifference to having one's sexual orientation misread; hence the breakdown of many people's formerly reliable gaydar.
Brands/bands namedropped in the article that I own at least one item from: 2xist, Modern Amusement, the Bravery ("Honest Mistake" is on the soundtrack to MVP Baseball 2005 - I'd never really thought about the lyrics, but the juxtaposition of an ambiguously gay song as the soundtrack to a sports game is amusing to me), Details magazine, Speedo. Hmm.
The Village Voice on metrosexual backlash