When men are no longer threatened by the macho idea of manhood that society thrusts upon them, they sometimes change routines in their life.
Details. Some men are all about the details. And, like a dog with a bone, once they’ve got hold of the detail, they won’t let it drop until it’s chewed exactly into the shape the way they want it.
In our modern society, it seems that a variety of factors – an abundance of material possessions, multimedia devices and a focus on visual representations of ourselves. We are living through a period in society where we are pointing the lens back toward ourselves; a period which encourages obsessive behavior.
They are almost intensely particular about the order of things, from the way their cutlery sits in its draw, to the direction in which the toothpaste tube lies in the bathroom, to the way their shirts hang on their hangers. Call it the Don Draper effect if you like. Don, as we know, uses the surface sheen of aesthetic perfection to disguise a muddled and problematic mind-set and a personal set of ethics which could be at best described as ‘dubious.’ Are these guys also hiding something behind the veneer of the orderly?
This fastidious approach also extends to the various routines which dictate their lives. Sleeping, working, exercising, playing — are all meticulously managed. The routines almost become like a protective shell which they built around themselves to mediate the various pressures the world exerts upon them.
This male concentration on life’s minutiae also extends to the spaces where they spend the majority of their time. For sleep especially, the conditions must be absolutely perfect with no single detail allowed to sneak out of place.
Firstly all clothes must be pressed, folded, hung or tucked away without the slightest crinkle or crumple. The floor must be swept or hoovered. Hanging pictures must be totally rectilinear. Bed sheets must be of the crispest cotton in the most neutral of colours. The mattress and pillows will have been carefully chosen after speaking to the experts; their size, weight and shape tailored to the specific physical shape of the sleeper involved. The room temperature will be tweaked until just the right amount of air is let in and the body is cool. The light will be soft and natural; pleasantly dark and not too affected by the inevitable sun’s appearance in the morning. Any artificial lights – flickering LEDs on flat-screen TVs, tablets, laptops or smartphones will be safely tucked away, hidden from view. Any other distractions will be long gone too.
These guys know exactly, to the very minute, how much sleep they need in order to function at their best level the following day and they make damn sure they give themselves the best chance of achieving that too.
With this new breed of detail-oriented men on the rise, are we seeing a big sea change in the way that men approach sleeping?
If we think back to the 90s and the culturally common idea of ‘the dude’ in the US or ‘the lad’ in the UK, the differences were stark. It was much more culturally prevalent for the male of the species to be associated with slovenly behavior, a laissez-faire approach to personal hygiene and a bigger concentration on the more hedonistic pursuits that life has to offer. Bedrooms would be filled with beer cans, discarded pizza boxes, slightly (read: seriously) funky underwear and God knows what other detritus of a life carelessly lived.
The idea that a man might go out and invest a serious amount of time in a mattress that fitted his weight, physical shape and temperature preference would be completely anathema. Don Draper was nothing but a glint in an HBO screenwriter’s eye back then. But slowly and surely a change is taking effect. Men are now taking as much time and effort to sculpt their personal appearances as woman. Contemporary style icons for men include those frequent flirters with the effeminate – David Beckham, Zac Efron and Cristiano Ronaldo. Even that doyen of masculinity – James Bond himself – has made a marked move toward the metrosexual side of life; the latest films in the long-running series focusing heavily on fetishized shots of Daniel Craig’s physique.
This positive shift has gathered much momentum as more and more men embrace their more feminine sides; representations of male icons in the media continue to present the shift as not just acceptable but something worth aspiring to. Unafraid of what traditionally would have been considered ‘effeminate,’ these new males now happily embrace things like moisturizing creams, sarongs and billowing, soft cotton open shirts. And why not?
Perhaps men are now secure enough to know that using beauty aids has zero impact on the legitimacy of their gender. It is merely a manhood that is secure in itself to not be threatened by petty, fleeting cultural definitions of “manliness” like ‘the lad’ and ‘the dude.’ Manliness, they now more fully appreciate, comes from showing character and taking responsibility, not by covering your apartment in empty beer cans and pizza boxes.
What we’re seeing with this eagle-eyed control of the bedroom space is just the natural progression of this cultural shift away from outdated and misguided culturally ingrained ideas of manhood, and toward a growing comfort with man’s effeminate side, and taking things to their logical conclusion: a mind more at ease with itself and a tidy bedroom.
Photo credit: Flickr / dno1967b