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Dudes Become Men > at Finishing School December 19, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in MetroSexual.

In the Age of the Metrosexual, Charm School Is No Longer Just for Ladies

In the era of the metrosexual male, primping and preening are no longer just for the ladies. More and more men are trading in their beer and chips for something more refined. Tea and crumpets, guys?

Mr. Manners > The so-called “finishing” school has been around for generations to train young women in etiquette and the social arts. But recently, many schools are trading their debutantes for dudes.

On its Web site, The Finishing Academy in Scotland announces: “The Finishing Academy is not only for today’s young ladies. Due to popular demand we are now running courses for ladies, gentlemen, young gentlemen and business people.”

Not surprisingly, not all the men studying at the academy enrolled voluntarily. Some got a ladylike shove from the women in their lives.

“One of the things that women expect now is to have a nicely groomed man,” says Diane Mather, an instructor at the academy. “Even if he’s not so well-mannered, she wants him to look good.”

Looking Good and Feeling Gorgeous > Anees is a war crimes lawyer who enrolled on his own accord, in part to learn what to do with his hair.

“Nobody has ever told me that it looks good,” he said. As a bonus, he learned he was too short to wear the wide stripes he favored.

These insecurities are not lost on the cosmetics industry. Products for men are the fastest growing sector of the beauty business. L’Oreal, the world’s largest cosmetics firm, increased its male beauty sales by 18 percent last year and even featured a man on the cover of its annual report.

The metrosexual revolution has spurred the booming male beauty industry. Men are getting in touch with their feminine sides, and retailers are taking notice.

Bye Bye Brawny Man > Even the rough, rustic, regular guy featured on Brawny paper towels is trading in his plaid flannel shirt for a classy button-down. The company has launched a campaign called the Brawny Academy, where the average Joe can learn how to remove a red wine stain, clean the toilet or even clean windows, using Brawny paper towels, of course.

If the Brawny man, a symbol of all that is masculine, is foregoing rugged for refined, could this be the start of a new phenomenon?

While male finishing schools are most popular in Europe, institutions like the Finishing Academy are popping up all over the globe, even in the United States.

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, known more for its minds than its manners, has a charm school. The eight-year-old program now has more than 1,000 students, including many men. Those who complete six courses receive a bachelor’s certificate in charm, but those who attend all 12 courses earn an etiquette PhD, proving geekiness is no obstacle to gracefulness.

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