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Waxing and exfoliating all part of the game

I blame George Best. After his footballing career ended, he devoted his life to preening, drinking and proving himself the most notorious womaniser of his generation.

An Old-School soccer reporter visited him in England, meeting in a hotel after Best had just been paid a huge lump of cash for opening a supermarket or some such gig. Best's bed was strewn with large denomination notes, he was quaffing champagne and at the time was on his third Miss World.

The reporter was of a generation and ilk that regarded what we now call metrosexuality as an abomination in the eyes of the Lord. "George, where did it all go wrong?" he asked, in all seriousness. Best, even in the advanced stages of his sclerotic demise, still got a laugh out of that one. George led all the way to David Beckham's underwear advert for H&M, the homo-erotic enshrinement of the soccer player as classical Greek Olympian (except, the Greeks portrayed their sportsmen with tiny appendages unlike the Beckham image, in which he appears to have a steam iron stuffed down his briefs).

What would that Belfast soccer correspondent think about today's lads, with their plucked or waxed or threaded eyebrows, their pre-tans, their suspicious lack of body hair (let's not go too far on that one), and their perfect, non-Irish, white teeth?

What does the proletariat Terrace Man with his beer gut set off by his XXL-sized soccer shirt think of exfoliating?

By way of research, the Sunday Independent sought some views:

Dedicated working-class male supporter: "Don't even go there. Look at (well-known thuggish English Premier League player). He plucks his eyebrows but he'd kick your head in if you called him gay."

Mother of very hetero-metrosexual: "It's working class culture. Women shape them. They're mummies' boys and many have no paternal influences. It has always been part of male culture. Look at that bogman [Clonycavan Man, c. 300BC]. He had his hair all done up. They were saying he was gay. Maybe he was a soccer player."

Young gay man: "It's just 'celebrity' culture. They're getting their eyebrows tinted now as well, and eyelashes, you know, to make them darker. But it's not gay. Look at Wayne Rooney."

So, the big winners of the Euros will be the clothing and male grooming product manufacturers. Have you noticed the size of the male toiletries section in the supermarket recently?

Sunday Independent