I'm not one to hold a great deal of appreciation for traditional gender roles. My boyfriends, as a general rule, have had no qualms about crying during sad movies and dismiss football as brainless, overcommercialized violence (I disagree and enjoy going to football games, but that's a tangent). Neither they nor I equate masculinity with being stoic or aggressive. My friends include people who identify themselves as homosexual, heterosexual, and bisexual. It's all good, as far as I'm concerned.

But the current metrosexual fad sets my teeth on edge.

If it were about liberating people to be who they want to be, I'd be celebrating this culture shift. Likewise if it were about making gay people more acceptable to the mainstream.

But from where I'm standing, metrosexuality is about getting men to buy into the same shallow, consumerist culture women have felt compelled to adhere to for years. Far from liberating men, this is just another straitjacket to fit into to be "cool" -- and a rather more expensive and time-consuming one at that.

I've been dreaming of a day when all the shit God Fashion commands women engage in got dumped in the trash heap where it belongs. It's one thing if you genuinely want to shave 90% of your body, dye your hair, painfully pluck out or bleach errant hairs, and pump silicone into various body parts, but it's quite another if you feel obliged to do such things to feel accepted by society.

It aggravates me no end that I'm obliged, as a woman, to spend a lot of time and money on my appearance. It's a waste of human resources to drop hundreds to thousands of dollars on a new wardrobe, haircuts, makeup, etc. all for the sake of conforming to the Joneses. But if I don't do these things, I reduce my chances of being hired and promoted; I've worked in places where a person's image counts far more than their work.

The trouble is, if you quietly refuse to do something you think is stupid and wasteful, even if society expects it of you, you are completely indistinguishable from the people who don't do those things simply out of laziness. The conscientious fashion objector is indistinguishable from the scrub.

So the last fucking thing I want to see is a cultural shift that dictates that men are expected to neurotically preen and obsess over a whole lot of superficial bullshit alongside the women. As Jongleur commented to me, it's gender equality in the wrong freakin' direction.

Welcome to America, where freedom is equated with the right to bully lesser drivers with your SUV in the supermarket parking lot, and where individualism means you have your choice of faceplates for your new Nokia cellphone.