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metoseku otoko
Young urban men of refined taste who like to look good
Metrosexual is a recently coined English word made by combining the words metro and heterosexual. It is used to describe young city-dwelling men who lead refined lifestyles and are as dedicated to fashion and skin care as many women. The Japanese version is metoseku otoko (metrosexual man). These guys love shopping, care deeply about their health, and are connoisseurs of fine food and wine. They are not afraid of shelling out big money when it comes to looking good.

Perhaps the world's best-known metrosexual is British soccer superstar David Beckham. The emergence of Beckham and men like him has been a boon for the makers of men's cosmetics, beauty salons, and fashion labels.

In Japan, many commentators believe that impressing the opposite sex is only part of the motivation behind men's increasing concern with looking good. They posit that metrosexuals are also keen to make a good first impression with business associates and prospective employers, now that Japan's system of lifetime employment is on the wane, creating a more competitive labor market.

Compared with urban males of previous eras, twenty-first-century men lead more independent and individualistic lives and believe that the best way to be cool is to look smart and stylish. These men are now discovering that refining one's appearance and tastes can be satisfying and fun, something that women have long known. Metrosexual men have begun to understand the significance of one's outward appearance. (December 16, 2005)