Forget the metrosexual, there is a new breed of men turning on Nairobi women

Ladies admiring a man
    Charming beautiful girls looking at handsome young guy in a bar.  Photo: Courtesy

People have questioned the lyrical and musical merit of Sauti Sol’s latest song ‘Nishike.’ What they have not questioned is the quality of the video and its intent on making women drool. It achieved that purpose and surpassed expectations. Our women went gaga about the video.

The video has clocked more than 600,000 views on YouTube, with more than 1,500 comments. Few Kenyan songs or videos manage more than 500,000 views. It is a testament to the growing ogling culture among women. While men were dismissive of the video, every woman nursed a private dream of being held in the muscular arms of the artistes.

And who better to showcase their gym report card to women than Sauti Sol, currently riding on the highest tide of their music career? They are now the secret fantasy of many urban women. If it was taboo for women to ogle openly, Sauti Sol have offered them the sweetest taboo of them all.

Bolstered by anonymity on YouTube, women went crazy. One Lola Hone does not hide her intentions on the comments section: “Baraza can shika me anytime with those moves...if he is taken, I feel sorry for his girl..the thirst is too real outchea!”

Men told off

Half the comments on YouTube are too racy to be published in this paper. But the song did open floodgates of brazen female expectations, with some encouraging their men to borrow a leaf from Sauti Sol.

While some women think the video is too revealing and raunchy, others will tell you it is the best thing that has happened since mad men stopped walking naked in town.

“They killed it. I like the firm body. It’s sooo hoooot!” exclaims Charlene Wangui, a 23-year-old banker.

Charlene likes her men well-toned. It’s obvious because her favourite footballer is Cristiano Ronaldo - especially without his shirt on, not so much because of his exceptional footballing skills. But his body just ‘turns me on,’ she says. Her favourite musician is a shirtless Trey Songz. His vocal skills are not that exceptional, but his abs are to die for.

How times have changed

Slightly older women admired David Beckham and Tyrese Gibson. Younger ones drool at any man who has a six-pack and takes care of his hygiene, owns more than one lotion and a good perfume. Better still if he attends to his hair meticulously. Such a man in 1980s would have been considered gay.

In 1994, Mark Simpson, an English journalist coined the term ‘metrosexual’ to refer to a man with a disposable income and lives in a city because that is where all the best shops are and perhaps the most promising consumer market of the decade (1990s).

It was not until the turn of the millennium that Beckham made posing with underwear normal for men and essentially laid the ground for the likes of Ronaldo to pose naked 14 years later. A month ago, Ronaldo posed naked with his girlfriend for Vogue magazine. While men frown upon such blatant exhibitionism, for women, it is eye candy.

Reversed roles

In the 2000s, the metrosexual man was frowned upon (by men) and admired in equal measure (mostly by women). It became more about grooming and painstaking attention to physique as peddled by Hollywood and glossy magazines.

In 2011, Kelly Rowland released ‘Lay It on Me,’ a song that became wildly popular. The hit featuring men with well-toned bodies playing subjects to a skimpily dressed Kelly proved too erotic, yet popular.

Rowland’s subsequent releases are more or less are dependent on men being the subject of ogling than women, a reversal of roles, one could say. In the 1990s and 2000s, music videos focused on tattooed, bullish men surrounded by skimpily dressed women as the men dropped expletives. But after Kelly, it seems a few men who have spent time in the gym and hours in the bathroom can give music videos a lot of mileage.

But why are men displaying their bodies? Mark Simpson has an answer. It is the latest phenomenon, one we are likely to see more of in the coming decade, according to his latest piece in ‘The Telegraph’ (UK), this past Tuesday.

“In fact, the momentous nature of the masculine revolution that metrosexuality represents has been largely obscured by much of the superficial coverage it got,” writes Simpson.

He reckons that spornosexuality is not about facials, man bags or flip flops or men being feminised or being gay.

“It’s about men becoming everything to themselves. Just as women have been encouraged to do for some time,” asserts Simpson.

They are the second generation of metrosexuality and they are totally tarty. They worship their bodies and have accessorised them. Commoditised them.

Simpson argues that with Ronaldo and Beckham, sports got into bed with porn and Armani (read any fashion outlet) and took pictures. From sports and pornography, we have the new ‘sexual’- spornosexual.

Spornosexuals can give anything, including photo-shopping themselves into fame. While glossy magazines planted seeds of metrosexuality and pushed it into mainstream acceptance, celebrity culture normalised it. But social media through selfies and pornography, men are now pushing their bodies to be accepted as opposed to their fashion sense.

Before, men needed money, intellect and wit. Now, it seems, they just need good bodies and sex appeal.

Given the comment section of Sauti Sol, with a well-toned body, you don’t need to be spontaneous or witty. The endless erotic promises your body oozes is enough for the many young urban ladies.

If this is the case, the future of manhood among urban men looks quite bleak.