May 21, 2012— -- Is the age of the metrosexual man ebbing or was it never really such a big deal?
These days, some so-called man's men are pushing back. So much so, that there are songs written to boycott the man-icures, facials, waxing, and man tans.
Take country singer Brad Paisley.
"I don't highlight my hair, I've still got a pair," Paisley sings in his hit, "I'm Still a Guy."
But a new documentary called "Mansome" finds that more men care about what they look like. And for them, getting pampered the way women have for so long doesn't mean being any less of a man.
Morgan Spurlock, who also directed the hit documentary, "Supersize Me," follows different men, all on a mission to define what it means to be a man. The characters range from an obsessive beard grower to a wrestler on a mission to rid his body of hair. Meanwhile, actors Jason Bateman and Will Arnett explore luxury spa treatments and services that cater to men to explore why men care so much about their vanity.
According to Tyger Latham, a clinical psychologist based in Washington, D.C., who was not in the documentary, the answer has a lot to do with the way men today understand and express their masculinity.
Many men are throwing out the rigid definition of masculinity -- "avoiding femininity, emotional restriction, avoiding of intimacy, pursuit of achievement and status, self-reliance, strength and aggression, and homophobia, " Latham wrote in his 2011 Psychology Today article, "Where Did all the Metrosexuals Go?"
"There is a growing body of research showing that men are rejecting these narrow gender stereotypes and exploring different ways of expressing what it means to them to be a man," said Latham. "One way of doing this is men's increased focus on personal appearance."
Latham's 2011 article questioned the extinction of that particular category of men. Now, he agreed, there's been a metrosexual revolution.
In fact, nationwide department store sales of male skin care products rose 13 percent from 2010 to $81.7 million last year, according to the market research firm NPD Group. And that number is only expected to increase.
"We're seeing strong growth in fragrance, men not only seeming to want to smell good but to look good as well," Karen Grant, vice president and senior global industry analyst with the NPD Group, said in a statement.
Jessica Watson, 26, manager of "Knockouts," a men's only salon and grooming place in Norwood, Mass., said she's not surprised by the spike in men interested in self-grooming. She's seen it first-hand.
The salon opened a year and a half ago and already has more than 100 clients she considers "regulars."
Besides haircuts, massages and hair-coloring are the most popular services, she said.
"We get guys who are really concerned about they look like because of business meetings, but we also get construction workers," she said.
The spot, likened to a toned-down "Hooters" for hair care, advertises beautiful women, and a sports-themed interior to keep the place "man friendly," she said.
"Men are very loyal and once they try it, they get hooked," said Watson.
Most men enjoy good pampering regardless of where the men lay on the spectrum of "man," she said. And "Mansome" proves to agree.
In "Mansome," a Yonkers, N.Y., barber who specializes in custom-made toupees knows the perfect hook for those men with a new or renewed love of self.
"Doing this come perfection, and I think you are the type of person, you want to be perfect," he told a client while tightly stretching saran wrap over the bald client's head and lathering paper mache on top.