Monthly Archives: December 2012

Nick Rhodes: World’s First Metrosexual?

The last subject to touch upon in class this semester was sexuality. It’s one of my favorite topics, also. Lesbian portrayal in the media is 2 hot women. Most gay men are portrayed as over the top and flamboyant. The word “transvestite” brings about visions of Rocky Horror. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bi-sexual in the media that I’ve taken in, interesting enough. A word has come out within the last decade, gaining popularity, and in fact, has been attached to the music group Duran Duran, and more specifically, the co-founder and keyboardist, Nick Rhodes. Metrosexual. When I first heard it, I had no clue what it was and had to look it up. According to the Urban Dictionary, the definition is “Males who are concerned with their looks more than the average female. A metrosexual generally takes a significant amount of time in the bathroom “grooming” themselves before going out. They often get quite upset or even aggressive when their hair is touched, and refuse to go outside in the rain. Spiked bleached hair and tan skin is common among metrosexuals, but it is not necessary. A metrosexual can be gay, but they often are not.

Ever since Duran Duran started in 1978, Nick has worn make-up. But of course everyone of that time period involved in the music movement of the time wore make-up; females and males, and especially in the UK. As the group grew in popularity, their styles changed. Rhodes never stopped wearing make-up, though. He has always loved fashionable clothes, designer suits and make-up. His hair color used to change frequently. The only thing that has changed today is his hair is blonde and he has stayed with that color for over a decade now. In fact, his original hair color hasn’t been seen since he was 16 years old, when he and friend John Taylor started the group. He has been called gay, although he is very much straight. He has been married once and has a beautiful daughter.

duran

Like the majority of Duranies in the 80s, I had my favorite member, and that was…surprise, surprise…Nick Rhodes. Why? Honestly, his eyes were the first draw. Those green eyes were just amazing! After that, it was because he played keyboards (I play piano) then I was attracted to the fact that he did were make-up and didn’t really care what others thought. He was a standout individual…and has remained that way through his career spanning over 3 decades. When he married Julie Anne Friedman in 1986, their wedding drew worldwide attention because it was such a lavish, outrageous affair, where the groom wore just as much make-up as the bride, and both wore matching pink lipstick.

wedding

Andy Warhol had been quoted publicly by several sources as having a crush on Rhodes. The two met in New York City in the 80s when Duran Duran visited. Andy took them to the infamous “Factory.” Nick and Andy were very close friends and shared the same interests in fashion, art and music.

Metrosexual today includes many males in the entertainment industry, although many of them are uncomfortable with that label. So what if a man likes to take care of his skin, wear make-up and is fashion conscience? In my humble opinion, it takes a real man to release their feminine side and be proud of it. Being a metrosexual is an attractive quality and by no means is it a bad quality to have.

Below I’ve taken a few excerpts from articles about Nick, Duran Duran and Metrosexuality. The following photos are Nick Rhodes and his changes over the decades.

nick1

Excerpts from “20 Odd Questions with Nick Rhodes:

Today I’m wearing a black Armani suit. I don’t do casual. I never wear jeans. Tomorrow I might put on a waistcoat, tie and smart pair of trousers with black lace-up shoes to go food shopping. I’m a little like Diana Vreeland in that respect.

Women’s fashion is more interesting than men’s. Funny enough, I’m better at choosing something for my girlfriend than for myself. Marc Jacobs is incredibly clever. I’ve seen many of his shows and have never been let down.

Britain’s best-kept secret is Antony Price. I’ve worked with him for over 20 years. He’s got the taste of Tom Ford, the ability of Saint Laurent and the edginess of the British Invasion. His clothing is beyond any couture I’ve ever seen—it belongs in the Victoria & Albert Museum.

I’ve always focused on tailoring. Ozwald Boateng makes the sharpest suit in town and Costume National has beautiful black jackets. Helmut Lang made unbelievable menswear through the ’90s. I miss his clothes the most.

My least favorite trend is grunge. That look of slightly unwashed layers of T-shirts is not appealing to me. I hedge towards things that shine.

I like to encourage new talent. Some of the young British designers like Christopher Kane and Gareth Pugh have shown creative ability from the days of Vivienne Westwood and McQueen. Their clothes are sharp and modern. Bigger designers are often more sanitized.

The ultimate rock star accessory is a nice pair of shades. Cutler & Gross are consistently very good. I have a pair from Chrome Hearts that make you look like a bug. I don’t mind that look.

With musicians today, I prefer people who stand out. Brandon Flowers from The Killers has great style. He’s not afraid of feathers. I always love a man who is not afraid of feathers.

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An excerpt from The Roving Stove, a blog by Julie Anne Rhodes who is now a celebrated personal chef:

“Mommy, Mommy…you’ll never guess what color Daddy’s hair is now!” my 7 year old daughter excitedly reported over the telephone one day (while she was on tour with Duran Duran.)

“What color Tatjana?” I replied a bit blasé…after all, how many wives can say their husband wore the same shade of pink Yves St. Laurent lipstick as they did at their wedding? Nick changed his hair color so often during the years we spent together it was hardly front page news…

“It’s PURPLE!” she shouted, and then I heard Nick in the background correcting her “it’s lilac Tatjana, lilac!” ….A great example of one of the qualities I loved most about Nick…his tendency towards eccentricity.

Note: a photo of the lilac hair is in the set above for the curious.

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Excerpts from “Who’s A Pretty Boy, Then?” Tatler June 2003:

While Simon Le Bon and John Taylor sent their teenage fans into romantic tailspins, it was Nick Rhodes, head bobbing at the keyboard, a geisha-face full of make-up, that is the band’s most enduring image. “News presenters cover themselves in pan stick – why shouldn’t he?” asks his friend Antony Price, the fashion designer. “He’s never done it to look like a woman but to be a better-looking man. It doesn’t make him gay, does it?” Thank God someone’s brought that up because, frankly, he’s got to be, hasn’t he? All that slap, the fancy wardrobe, the female side so strong it wreaks. But, face-to-face, my gaydar doesn’t even twitch – he’s both masculine and sexual. “He’s always been able to pull fabulous birds,” confirms a begrudging Le Bon. “Almost better than… well, I haven’t done so badly, have I?”

Most of all, Nick Rhodes likes to confound all our preconceptions of how a straight man should behave. You could meet him 20 times and still not get the measure of him. That’s because you think you know who he is – an effeminate pop star pretending to be straight. You think that because he comes from the concrete soullessness of Birmingham he’s a little rough round the edges, someone who keeps his famous flame burning by sticking to his Eighties androgynous look. You should be right about all of the above. But you’re not.

As it turned out, Nick Rhodes’s friends were a little more forthcoming than he was at first. “There’s no one quite like Nick,” says Antony Price. “His idea of Heaven is being in a top restaurant surrounded by 10 supermodels, discussing make-up. He’s a girl with male genitals.” The feminine side of him possesses a collection of Vogue magazines, dating back to 1912; it makes him answer “the camp ones, of course” when I ask him what artist he prefers, and also why he enjoys going to fashion shows. Nothing to do with front row seats, apparently – he just loves fashion.

”His ex, Madeleine Farley, tells me.” He taught me how to wear make-up, how to dress. He’s the closest link between gay men and straight women. He was the woman in our relationship…”

Madeleine relished recounting every last detail of her ‘darling Nicholas’. Did his habits drive her mad? “Are you mad?” she says. “It endeared one to him.”

And you can see why. He firmly believes that the female species is superior to the male, which will one day die out. “Like me, he suffers from only-child syndrome,” says Galitzine. “We speak to our mothers every day. It’s part of his character that he believes that he’s the centre of his world, that he can do anything he wants.”

Nick once said to Andy Warhol: “Duran is something I enjoy doing, but I have a bigger world out there.” He doesn’t crave the plaudits and he certainly doesn’t need the money. He possess a Diana Vreelandish quality in that he is able to be himself, make grand pronouncements (“I prefer champagne in chocolate than having to drink it” and “Tony Blair is Margaret Thatcher in drag”), put himself together peculiarly and still be admired. He doesn’t fit into any box, a factor that may find irritating in others, but with Rhodes it somehow works. He’s worked out how to do and live life well. He’s the pretty boy with brains who, even though the jokes on him, gets it, as always, before everybody else.

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Excerpts from The ORIGINAL Fab Five – Duran Duran Are Back”:

The Fab Five are back to make peoples lives better, more groovy, and of course metrosexual.

The ORIGINAL Fab Five Duran Duran – that is. “Someone told us one day that these five queens had stolen our moniker,” recalls keyboardist Nick Rhodes, pointing out that Duran Duran had been lovingly dubbed The Fab Five some 20 years before Queer Eye’s fairy dust-sprinkling cast. “So we were properly cross with them, right, we’ll getcha.”

The infectiously danceable, driving single, “(Reach Up For The) Sunrise,” is already familiar to many gay ears thanks to Jason Nevins club-ready remix on the “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” soundtrack. Of course Rhodes was joking about a potential catfight and besides, the Queer Eyes Fab Five wouldn’t dare lay a hand on Duran Duran. ”Because we’re already perfect,” Rhodes says. “That’s absolutely true, that’s what one of them said. Somebody accused us when I was in New York of being wholly responsible for Metrosexuality. And I asked, is that an accusation or a compliment? We’re all for male grooming, honey. Anything that can make life just that little bit more beautiful, that doesn’t take up that much time or money, everyone should do it. The world would be a better place.”

Sexuality is one thing the band members have no hang-ups discussing. The pro-gay LeBon and Rhodes are certainly no strangers to sexual rumors and tabloid scandals, which tickle them more than anything. “Marc Almond once said I was a male prostitute. I thought that was fantastic,” LeBon laughs. “I could make a lot of extra money doing that.”

Excerpts from “86 Minutes with Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes”:

I finally dare to ask: Did they realize back then that a lot of American guys called them fags?

“Did we give a fuck?” says Le Bon, toasty-fun from the whiskey. “No!”

“I’m not sure it was any worse here,” says Rhodes, meaning the U.S., “than anywhere else.”

“Yes, it was,” says Le Bon.

Certainly Duran Duran’s look was of their own choosing. The band picked their own clothes and did their own makeup, eyeliner and all. “Girlfriends taught us,” Le Bon says.

“I taught my girlfriends,” says Rhodes.

“You were always the different one.”

“We’ve been accused of creating metrosexuality,” says Rhodes, now texting friends to try to make dinner plans. “If that’s what you think, then fine. We’re not that different from a lot of English guys who are perhaps a little more … flexible about the way they are.”

“What you’re seeing now,” says Le Bon, quite grand through his drink, “is a result of people like us who pioneered it in the face of adversity.”

Misc. Quotes from Nick Rhodes:

“People used to say that Duran Duran had gay overtones and must therefore have an enormous gay following. But they discovered that we had more of a girl following than a gay one. I suppose we have adopted a certain flamboyance which for some reason has always been associated with gays and not everybody finds that easy to accept…this is just an example of people’s attempts to separate everything into categories…it seems silly to me because gay people are exactly the same as everybody else except for their sexual habits.” early 80s – Nick

“There’s nothing strange about it. Men want to look good as much as women do.” 1997, on men wearing makeup

“When I wake up in the morning, I look in the mirror, see what the damage is, then take from there [chuckles]. What a lot of people don’t realize, is all men who are on television or stage (even newscasters) wear makeup. I believe it’s a tool to be utilized if you wish.” 1998

“I didn’t mind either way. I’m sure a lot of people still think I am. I never thought things like that mattered. It’s like, why?” 1998, on how people assumed he was homosexual in the 80s

“I started wearing makeup when I was a bit older. I would’ve used my mum’s makeup box, but she probably didn’t have the colours I was after. So I always used my girlfriend’s makeup instead. I wore anything that glittered and shone.” 1998

“One of my gay friends calls me a lesbian, actually – she says, ‘You’re just a girl who likes girls.’ I’ve got a lot of empathy for the gay world, always have had, I think a lot of the most creative people are gay. And a lot of my dear, dear friends, but as for my own tastes, it just doesn’t work like that. Genetically it didn’t go that way.” 2000

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“I Will Learn To Survive…”

For the final weekly link reflections, we were to look through a list of articles and choose two.  I didn’t realize that both articles I chose were by the same author, Thomas Huang.

The first one I read was called Reflections in the DarkIt was mainly about disorientation in life, including jobs and general outlooks.

The uncertainty, laced with anger and anxiety, disorients us. Fear can make us leave, and fear can make us stay.
How can we find our focus? How can we come to understand who we are, and what is important to us?

As I reflect on the disorientation, I consider it in another context: It is the key to embracing diversity. Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to incorporate diversity into our journalism. As journalists, we are driven to make sense of things, to explain them.

We pursue clarity.

We try to divine the simple within the complex. So it’s often safer to stick with topics, events and people familiar to us. Reporting on people who are different from us, writing about cultures that lie outside our personal experience — all of this demands our disorientation. There is that moment when you approach the person whom you have, for so long, perceived as the Other. Will he understand what you’re saying? What could you possibly have in common? Will he come to trust you? Will you trust him?

You have to take a leap of faith. But even as you do, the disorientation comes. Some of his attitudes and ways of life will mystify you. A part of him will remain unknowable. You won’t have any cultural reference points. You are now out of your comfort zone. To stay there, you will have to find some comfort in being uncomfortable.

The second article is entitled Finding Ourselves as They Walk out the Door. Mr. Huang never really knew some colleagues until a gathering at a quiet bar to say goodbye to those that chose to leave the Dallas newspaper.  He finds out that Bryan lived in the city Cambridge, MS the year he was born.  He suddenly pictured him exploring the streets of Cambridge, passing a couple of Chinese graduate students out for a walk while pushing a baby carriage.

                Could it be that Bryan’s soul and mine had crossed paths several times before we ever knew each other? Could it be that the love of journalism and storytelling had descended upon us in those moments, shaping our identities, becoming something we shared despite our different paths
and backgrounds?

            …One of my biggest fears was that I would lose my identity if I ever left the newsroom or
was forced to leave. For many of us, being a journalist is more than pulling a paycheck. It’s who we are. Our passion to tell stories, to search for whatever truths are out there — all of that is ingrained in us.

At the same time, I was worried that my fears would imprison me. I didn’t want to be paralyzed
by the fact that I couldn’t imagine who I would be if I weren’t a journalist. I also didn’t want to be naïve. In the corporate culture that has enveloped our industry, what sense was it to hold onto some sentimental notion of journalism?

We never know from one day to the next what is going to happen.  As Duran Duran did a song called “What Happens Tomorrow” from which the chorus tells us:  “…but nobody knows what’s gonna happen tomorrow.  We try not to show how frightened we are…  You’ve got to believe it’ll be alright in the end.  You’ve got to believe it’ll be alright again…”  If you lost your job today, what would you do?  Where would you go?  Through our fears and disorientation we find ourselves…find out who we are.  A journalist can go on to do many things.

You just have to find the courage and have the willingness to look inside and bring out the happiness to face a new day and make the most of it.

50 Shades of Pure Escapism

50ShadesGreyIt started with a case study for class.  I got curious and researched more about it.  Then I had to read it for myself.  I read 50 Shades of Grey in a few days and was so impressed that I had to go back to Barnes & Noble and get the other 2 books in the trilogy.  And I still don’t understand what the big fuss is all about!

50 Shades of Grey is a great romance novel by E.L. James.  I honestly believe that people are criticizing the book because they think it’s not an accurate of a taboo sexual subject:  BDSM.  I don’t believe it was supposed to be.  I will be the first to say that it isn’t entirely accurate but has some good factual evidence about this kind of relationship and sexual activity.

A Dominate and a submissive have to trust each other…and not just sexually but as people.  It is an understanding of the other and what they do.  A Dom is to help their sub free themselves from the mental restraints placed on them by society.  A Dom pushes the sub to understand their bodies, the feelings within and open their curiosity for further exploration.  It’s not one whipping the other to shreds.  That is the idea that the mainstream culture puts out there for people to believe.

The relationship starts by setting the limits of the sub 50ShadesGrey2and those limits being respected by the Dom.  The trust is there that they won’t cross that line.  A safe word is set and respected if used.  The limits are revised from time to time to accommodate curiosity and growing desire for more.  Bondage is used for control and restraint.  S&M is used to explore pain, to stretch tolerance, and to discover and explore new feelings.  It is not a bad thing.  It’s actually a strong relationship between two people with much trust and respect for each other.

50 Shades of Grey is simple an escape book.  Many things in it are true.  But it is just a story…and extremely tantalizing, might I add.  I don’t want to delve further into the book because I don’t want to spoil anything for those that haven’t read it yet and want to.

I didn’t come by this from research.  I am a submissive.

I Was a Princess but now I’m a Queen!

We were shown a video in class and ran out of time to discuss our thoughts.  So I’m using one of my entries this week to talk a little about it.

LittleGirlsI Am a Princess

This was put out by Disney with good intentions.  I believe in the message that it is giving young girls…and it’s a message that should be carried on through adulthood.  It is telling us to believe in friendship, loyalty, kindness and compassion…that it’s okay to be scared and afraid.  It should be because life is a scary creature!  The only complaints are that they show healthy, active and “thin” girls.  What about girls that have disabilities and can’t be as active and those that are overweight?tiara  There is a princess inside of them, also…probably more so.  The second is that they need to have one for boys:  “I Am a Prince!”

When I was young, I never wore jeans.  I wore “dress” pants, shorts and skirts/dresses.  I really didn’t care because that didn’t stop me from playing Barbie with my girlfriend down the street, joining the neighborhood boys in the pine tree forest, climbing them and playing games, or sledding down the steep hill in our neighbor’s yard that was just on the other side of our backyard fence.  When we moved to Missouri when I was 10 years old, it didn’t change anything.  As a matter of fact, all the way through my senior year things didn’t change much; however I was wearing jeans once in a while in high school.  Today, I wear jeans and t-shirts but feel most comfortable in sundresses, and casual slacks, like when I go to work.  I still consider myself a “girly” girl.  I love having my nails done.  I love ruffles on shirts.  I hate to sweat.

My best friend is my total opposite.  She is a tomboy through and through and has been since she was born, I suspect.  She wears jeans and t-shirts and shorts most of the time, only dresses up when she has to…and even then it’s dress pants and a nice shirt with comfortable heels.  No dresses!  She does get manicures, hates ruffles and loves to sweat.

Now compare me and my friend to each other.  Does that make me more of a princess than her?   No.  We’ve grown up learning and practicing loyalty, kindness and compassion.  We both have a conscience…which has created more stress for us at past places of employment.  We share a friendship that is rare and has spanned the test of time (a 20 year span of not talking to each other because of the way our lives went).

I am a queen now, all grown up. Crown As a former princess, it is my duty to pass on the exact qualities to the younger generations of girls and boys.LittleBoys  Our youth is a magical time.  It is the time to teach our children so that they all can be princesses and princes.