You have seen them on Kigali’s streets, at the office or at the varsity campus. Their clothes are perfectly pressed and exquisitely coordinated.
Their nails are well manicured, hair trimmed and they smell floral. They are not gay; in fact they are as straight as an arrow. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me introduce to you the “metro-sexual man.”
Metro- sexuals are a budding breed of men who think outside the box of male stereotypes. They pay particular attention to their appearance; they care about how they look, what they wear and how they smell. One can say they are the urban males who are in touch with their feminine side and not afraid to show it.
However, many people shun them while on the other hand, several others find them cool and have no reason to question their lifestyle, and they are pretty popular with the ladies.
“Here in Africa these men have been limited to either cavemen or homosexuals, which is a terrible stereotype. But that is a grey area. You can have a decent talk with them that doesn’t concern sports, politics, cars and other male interests,” one woman, Brenda said.
“These are the guys you can go shopping with and not worry about boring them. They will discuss fashion with you and notice when you are wearing a new pair of shoes or have terribly mismatched your outfit. They are great listeners too,” she adds.
Metro-sexual men buy their grooming products from the same place their woman does and have no qualms about it.
“I like my husband to wear trendy clothes, have nice hair and smell nice but he should always know where to draw the line. I’d hate it if I had to fight with my man over makeup!” said Annet Kalimba, Holy Vine Church’s Pastor.
“I don’t like guys that just put on a shirt and walk out the door, but again I don’t want to feel like I’m competing with my man in terms of style and attire when we go out,” she adds.
A man has to strike a balance between dressing like he came straight from a history book and being metro-sexual.
“I just can’t stand a guy who spends all of his time looking in the mirror trying to be pretty. Let men look like men with none of that smooth oily women-stuff all over them. They should be clean and reasonably groomed and that’s it,” says 29-year-old Allen, a clearing and forwarding agent in Kigali.
According to Andrew Rusagara, a Kigali businessman, people who take care of themselves are perceived as motivated and self respecting individuals. People who do not take care of themselves are regarded as lazy and less confident.
“I think of myself as someone who is respectable and presentable and so, I take care of myself. I feel better going out into the world looking good,” 28-year-old Rusagara said.
“I know that looks aren’t everything but feeling good about yourself is important. Whether you like it or not, people will always judge you by how you present yourself,” explains Rusagara.
Our country is moving towards development at rocket speed. This implies that we need to appreciate the finer things in life and not waste time judging people and labelling them. As long as they are not bruising ethics or bending laws, I think it is okay for men to be who they want to be in the realm of fashion and style.