Do straight guys who aren’t Dennis Rodman ever wear makeup in their everyday lives? Maybe go to the office with a little hider on? Or a little more? If women can wear all this stuff to improve their appearance, why can’t men?

— Curious George

A man improves his appearance by getting into a Jaguar, not Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation.

Consider your target audience. On one hand, women do want the "strong-but-sensitive" man, the guy tough enough to shed a couple of tears when the chick-flick turns tragic. On the other hand, that’s assuming it doesn’t cause his mascara to run into his beard. Of course, women wear makeup because men are attracted to pretty women. Although some gay men and starstruck 14-year-old girls are into pretty men, most women are not.

Research shows women prefer tall men, and those with that nice broad-shoulders-into-narrow-hips "vee." But, in study after study, they rated money, status, power and potential more important than looks — which is why you’ll see the world’s most beautiful women out with the ugliest little meatballs of men. There’s nothing that makes a stubby schlub look six feet tall like $10 million piled on his head.

Of course, money isn’t everything. A woman has to consider how a man’ll handle any saber-toothed tigers they might encounter on their way to the coffee joint. Yeah, yeah, I know, those things died out some 10,000 years ago, but try getting the message to a girl’s genes. She might be partying like it’s 1999, but, like all humans, she’s genetically hard-wired for 1.8 million years ago; which means she’s not only drawn to "providers," but to protectors, too. That’s why the guy who wants the girl should look like he’ll be the one going downstairs with the baseball bat when she hears an intruder — and without stopping in the bathroom to check for enlarged pores.

But, wait, what about "metrosexuals," the hordes of preening, plucking, flaming heterosexuals who supposedly get the girl by becoming just like her? Metrosexuals? What metrosexuals? Sorry, but did you actually notice men across America stampeding out of sports bars to go on a gender bender, and running around like Brit soccer star David Beckham in pink nail polish and a sarong? Sure, there are guys who are femmy control freaks. There always have been, and they’ve never been attractive to women. The term "metrosexual" was coined in 1994 by Brit journo Mark Simpson, to poke fun at the commercialized man. And wouldn’t you know it, after he wrote a follow-up for in 2002, American ad agency honcho Marian Salzman proclaimed it a trend. Yeah, it’s a trend all right — among marketing execs who’d like to see the other half of the population lining up to swipe their Amex at the Clinique counter.

If you’re a 19-year-old skinny kid in a goth band, OK, you can borrow your girlfriend’s eyeliner. If you’re a 32-year-old, paunchy, balding insurance salesman, nuh-uh. For you, and for all men who aren’t rock stars, drag queens, or Pirates of the Caribbean, good grooming is limited grooming: clean fingernails, a shave, maybe a dab of hair gel, and "Aren’t you glad you used Dial?" If you have a zit going off like a car alarm, yes, you can take your big man paw and spackle it with a little colored Clearasil. But, remember, venturing any further into face painting gives rise to all the wrong questions, like the last thing you want some hot woman in a dimly lit bar to whisper in your ear: "Do you happen to have a spare tampon?"


The beginning of the friend


I was with Almost Perfect Guy, but he decided to keep looking. He wants to be "good friends," but I’m not sure I can be his lesser friend once he finds "the one." Does being mature about this mean pretending I don’t care that I wasn’t good enough?

— Unwanted

"Being mature about this" means not hanging around a guy who makes you feel like the girl who brought the Jim Beam to the A.A. meeting. It means admitting that some small part of you pictures him dying alone, a broken man, clutching your faded picture, and using his last breath to describe dumping you as the greatest mistake of his life. Regarding the notion that you weren’t "good enough," this isn’t an assessment of your worth, it’s merely a news bulletin that you weren’t quite right for him. Instead of pretending you don’t care, work on accepting that he doesn’t care as you do — which is best done from afar. As for remaining "good friends," what’s in it for you? Well, besides learning how it feels to be fired from some big job, then coming back in a fake nose and glasses and trying to get rehired in the mailroom.