He’d just come back from London. It was 1998. He had a on a pair of Diesel Zathan’s, Nike Air Max, his Carharrt hoodie, Aigner fragrance he found in Venice, and a designer Toni & Guy haircut.
This was my metrosexual Belgian born boyfriend and I on our 3rd date. My friends all teased me about his well-groomed coiffness.
Quiet and reserved, I had no idea if this man was still “in the wardrobe”.
And then we were driving, in his new leather seated BMW. It was still in the days when I drove (long long ago). We were on the way into the wild, for a friends wedding.
When… I carelessly drove over piece of jagged metal.
He, calm as a cucumber, said “That’s ok. I think I know what to do.”
Within minutes, my boyfriend went from a 90’s heroin chic looking model to ripsnorting hetero male.
“Oh my God I’m so sorry, is the tyre ok?”
“Ah yes, no problem. Luckily the army prepared me well”, he said.
We dated for 10 years. He is the most metrosexual man on Earth, I can be certain. He also knows how plugs from any continent work, other causes urine is useful for, how to use a tourniquet and how to stop a car whose brakes have failed.
I’m a South African woman in her 30’s, so that means I am familiar with my male family’s war stories, badges of honour, uniforms in storage and opinions on compulsory military service.
I’m all for it.
In fact, I should’ve been the face behind those WE WANT YOU! propaganda adverts.
I’m only half joking.
If I neatly and politely smoosh all my dating experiences into 2 categories, there’d be A) men who’ve served in the military and B) men who have not.
I haven’t dated nearly enough men younger than me (there’s still time) to pass fair judgement (is there ever a time to pass fair judgement?) but I have to concede there are some glaringly obvious differences:
1) Men who’ve “served” know how to wash and iron their clothes.
2) They also completely recognise the value of a can of baked beans, firewood, running water and folk music.
3) They are less arrogant.
4) They understand being a graphic designer holds no purpose in Real Life.
5) They don’t call in sick when their nose is running.
The rest is on a need-to-know basis.