Five years ago, as my book The Future of Men was published, I worked out the definition of the new man, or rather the new aspirational man, and called him the übersexual, for his über-ness versus his sexuality. As my co-authors and I wrote, “These are men who embrace the positive aspects of their masculinity or ‘M-ness’ (e.g., confidence, leadership, passion, compassion) without giving in to the stereotypes that give guys a bad name (e.g., disrespect toward women, emotional emptiness, complete ignorance of anything cultural outside of sports, beer, burgers, and athletic shoes).”
Partially in the name of being playful and mostly because we needed crib notes on which man was more now, I set out to list the differences between the then-fading metroman and his emerging über role model.
Metrosexual or übersexual? How to spot the difference:
• Both are passionate, but the über is passionate about causes and principles, while the metro is mostly passionate about himself.
• The über spends more time grooming his mind than his hair.
• Both treat and respect women as equals, but the über considers other men, not women, his best friends.
• The über is more sensual and not at all self-conscious; he doesn’t need other people to tell him he’s sexy—nor does he plan his errands around which shop windows offer the best reflection.
• The metro gets design tips from the Fab Five; the über gets them from his travels and interest in art and culture.
• The über knows the difference between right and wrong and will make the right decision regardless of what others around him might think; the metro knows the difference between toner and exfoliant—and worries that he’s using yesterday’s brand.
So who was über in 2005 and how might they fare today? Still hot or now not?
10. Jon Stewart. He is outspoken without regard to what other people think (as evidenced by his skewering his hosts during this year’s Advertising Week). He is supportive of women and pokes fun at himself in a self-deprecating way. [2010 assessment: Hot.]
9. Guy Ritchie. His masculinity is unquestioned even though he’s married to one of the world’s top music icons. (In fact, gravitating toward strong women tends to be an über trait.) [2010 assessment: Faded fast. He was Madonna-ed.]
8. Pierce Brosnan. His James Bond strength was never compromised when we watched him publicly mourn his first wife (and raise her children). He has Remington Steele’s classic elegance and savoir faire. [2010 assessment: Steady.]
7. Ewan McGregor. A handsome, fashionable family man, McGregor is versatile enough to go from riding his Harley-Davidson around the world to walking the red carpet. He is comfortable in his own sexuality. [2010 assessment: Hot.]
6. Barack Obama. At the DNC, he managed to marry sentimental love of family with a new face of patriotism. And he looks sharp in a suit. [2010 assessment: So now he’s president, and hot would be a political challenge?]
5. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He journeyed from bodybuilder to mega movie star to politician, all the while keeping his shoes buffed and hair in place. He has succeeded in every challenge he has faced, and he has a Kennedy for a wife. [2010 assessment: Fading. Maria is still hot.]
4. Donald Trump. Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money. [2010 assessment: Faded. At last, his hair and bravado isn’t sexy.]
3. Bill Clinton. A born charmer with Southern roots who is not afraid to cry. He is a supremely confident, decisive leader. And he has supremely sexy hands. [2010 assessment: Less sexy but more desirable. Can he heal Haiti?]
2. George Clooney. He appreciates the finer things in life (including his villa on the shores of Lake Como), and he is strongly bonded with and loyal to a cadre of male friends. His timeless image has allowed him to rise from B sitcoms to box-office hits, some of which he has directed and/or produced. [2010 assessment: He has made aging high fashion. Still hot.]
1. Bono. He’s global, socially aware, confident, and compassionate, and he commands a huge base of followers who are fans of his music and his humanitarianism. Is it any wonder rumors are swirling about a Nobel Peace Prize? [2010 assessment: Less hot but surely more important. Maybe sexy is something beyond heat?]
Marian Salzman is president of Euro RSCG Worldwide PR, North America.