Why men are taking a good look at themselves

If it s good enough for David Beckham... More and more men are finding it acceptable – even necessary – to follow in the footsteps of the stars and have beauty treatment. Comet reporter REBECCA FINDLEY went in search of metrosexual man THEY RE everywh

If it's good enough for David Beckham...

More and more men are finding it acceptable - even necessary - to follow in the footsteps of the stars and have beauty treatment.

Comet reporter REBECCA FINDLEY went in search of metrosexual man

THEY'RE everywhere now - dancing in clubs, hanging out in coffee shops, booking into beauty salons. The metrosexual male is alive and well in Comet country.

Until recent years many men wouldn't have dreamt of boasting about the state of their nails and splashing on the fake tan to keep them glowing through the winter months.

But they are now following in the footsteps of footballers and giving girls a run for their money in the style stakes.

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The phrase 'metrosexual' was originally coined to describe the new breed of urban, stylish, fashion-conscious, heterosexual male.

And Comet country lads have caught on pretty sharpish to the benefits of living in the Sex And The City generation.

There are levels of metrosexualness though - from the odd offenders to the preened pretty boys who know what's "in vogue" this month and the latest design trends.

Shelves in supermarkets now stock a full range of men's products and salons offer specific treatments.

This leaves men less afraid to come out of the metrosexual closet and announce that they may be straight but they still know about style.

Men's grooming is now a billion pound industry and Maxine Onstenk, owner of Maximum Beauty in Stevenage Old Town, said: "Over the last couple of years men's beauty has got more popular, it has become more fashionable.

"Some companies didn't use to do any men's products but now they're all bringing out a men's range.

"I think that it's a generation thing. My dad will pop bits on because mum and I give him stuff, but I think a lot of his friends won't."

She added: "Once they've done it once they will probably come back." And she said that, far from the stereotype, "most are just normal run of the mill guys".

In comparison to previous years "more and more salons are doing men. In London there are salons opening up specifically for men that are more masculine. More men are seeing it as a necessity not a luxury."

And, of course, "If David Beckham says he had a certain type of tan, all the guys will want it done!"

David Beckham, Peter Andre, Gavin Henson, George Clooney, Jesse Metcalfe, Ashley Cole - all the girls in the salon could name the celebrity men that were doing it for their generation.

However, one groomed guy that goes against the stereotype is Mark Parker. The 46-year-old is a regular visitor at Maximum Beauty and a site manager for a building site.

He said: "It's really 99 per cent females that come in this place, but what's the harm in a man coming in and getting things done?

"Women have got necessities, they have to do it on a regular basis. Men don't have essentials and I think it's down to men to make their own essentials and draw their own lines.

"A lot of things I do are a necessity and if I don't get them done I don't feel confident. If it makes me a tart then I'm a tart. I don't think there's anything wrong with it either. I like 'metrosexual' though. I have facials, I have massages once a week, saunas, steam room, gym. I also always scrub and like my clothes as well if I'm totally honest."

"I wouldn't say it's important. I just think it's important to feel good about yourself the way you are. I can get over the lads taking the mickey out of the facial and manicures and anything else but you have to draw a line!"

And that line would be drawn at waxing and make-up, but he would not be adverse to a spot of cosmetic surgery. "I'm all for plastic surgery, if it's done properly. I got kicked in the face at football and I lost four teeth. There's a place in New York and I'll be looking to go there at some stage to get it done."

Mark said that he only knows two other men that do it, but that he's not alone. He said: "There are an awful lot of men out there that what I'm getting Laura to do now they're at home doing themselves."

Although the number of metrosexuals is still growing Mark said: "It depends on the area. In London it's much more accepted.

"A lot of fellows are probably looking at the cost as well, but if you look at how much it costs to sit in the pub after work to when it closes...!"

But there are also lads who prefer to stick to the basics and would rather splash their cash in the pub.

Dave Sweetlove, 25, from Stevenage, said: "It's not necessary. It's never crossed my mind. It's a girl's thing. It's all a bit commercialised."

Andy Neal, 27, from Petworth Close, Stevenage, said: "I think it's taken a while for the metrosexual male to reach Herts and Beds in comparison to cities. I wouldn't say I'm a metrosexual male at all, I take care of myself but I don't have beauty treatments, fake tan or anything like that, a razor's good enough for me!"

Metrosexuality may be here to stay in Comet country but many lads still won't swap their pints for a pedicure without a fight!