You walk into Home Depot or Lowe's to pick up a lightbulb. Instead, you leave with some new flooring, a circular saw, a framing square, and big ideas about re-tiling your kitchen.
The problem? You've never done anything more than change a lightbulb by yourself.
Growing numbers of Americans are tackling do-it-yourself home improvement projects that once might have been left to professionals. One reason for the shift: Stores like Home Depot, along with TV shows on networks like HGTV or the DIY Network,...
What's the difference between these two types of men?
In a study they wrote in 2003, the three trend spotters wrote that "One of the telltale signs of metrosexuals is their willingness to indulge themselves, whether by springing for a Prada suit or spending a couple of hours at a spa to get a massage and facial."
In contrast, they claim the ubersexual is less concerned with fashion and more inclined to develop his own sense of style.
"Compared with the metrosexual, the ubersexual is more into relationships than self," they say. "He dresses for himself more than for others (choosing a consistent personal style over fashion fads)."
Examples of Ubersexuals
Holding up actor George Clooney as an example, they say the ubersexual's "best friends are male; he doesn't consider the women in his life his 'buddies.'"
And the ubersexual is more concerned with principles and values. Bono, of the rock band U2, represents this, they say, by the way he campaigns to reduce poverty in Africa.
In short, the ubersexual possesses what the authors call "M-ness," a type of masculinity "that combines the best of traditional manliness (strength, honor, character) with positive traits traditionally associated with females (nurturance, communicativeness, cooperation)."
Although The Future of Men is based on interviews with 2,000 men nationwide, it is not an in-depth sociological analysis, as Salzman, a trained sociologist, readily admits.
"I'm in the business of marketing," she told WebMD. "The job of understanding men was undertaken from the perspective of how we can do a better job marketing to them. I have no apologies for that motivation."
Masculinity in Flux
But by arguing that the ubersexual is already succeeding the metrosexual, the authors of The Future of Men underscore an indisputable fact of life in the U.S. -- the concept of masculinity is in flux, leaving many confused about what it means to be a man.