Hyman, Peter (D.) 1968(?)-
Hyman, Peter (D.) 1968(?)-
CAREER: Writer, journalist, and stand-up comedian. Former staff writer for Vanity Fair.
The Reluctant Metrosexual: Dispatches from an Almost Hip Life, Villard Books (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to periodicals, including New York Times, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, People, New York Daily News, and New York Observer.
ADAPTATIONS: The Reluctant Metrosexual was adapted as an audiobook, 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Author, journalist, and occasional stand-up comedian Peter Hyman is a Manhattan-based freelance writer and former staff member of Vanity Fair. Hyman is also a self-confessed metrosexual, a member of the curious breed of early twenty-first century males who, though often considered gay, is in fact a committed heterosexual whose tastes and pursuits run to style, fashion, and sleek consumer objects. In The Reluctant Metrosexual: Dispatches from an Almost Hip Life, Hyman offers up episodes from his own life that serve as meditations on the highs and lows of the metrosexual search for love and fine interior design.
Washington Post reviewer Jonathan Yardley quoted Hyman as remarking that the term metrosexual "'was coined in 1994 by Mark Simpson,' who was 'a British queer theorist who used the word to satirize the phenomenon of strays—gay-acting straight men who, with their disposable incomes and consumeristic obsessions, were shopping in record numbers in London.'" In a transcript of an CNN interview with Fredricka Whitfield on the Peter Hyman Home Page, Hyman described a metrosexual as "a straight guy whose aesthetics are just gay enough." Though the term metrosexual is used to describe a stylish and culturally aware group of men thoroughly acquainted with their feminine side, Hyman admitted to Whitfield that sometimes "I think it's being used as more as a marketing construct than anything to define a legitimate subculture."
In the book, Hyman describes his tendency toward serial dating and his failed attempts at finding love, from a disastrous and ill-fated sexual threesome to an Internet-fueled encounter with a woman who vomited on their first date to a gay masseur whose idea of rubbing people the right way involved Hyman's own no-trespassing erogenous zones. He recounts nights on the town in leather pants, drug-laced trips to Mexico, and the dubious pleasures and distinct pains of a Brazilian bikini wax. Hyman "comes off as an everyman probing the outer edges of modern, mainstream, urban existence, and his essays recount his exploits with startling, often hilarious results," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer.
Yardley found ulterior motives in Hyman's book, calling it "an attempt to cash in on the fifteen minutes of fame that metrosexuality is enjoying (thanks largely to the inexplicable popularity of the television program Queer Eye for the Straight Guy) while mocking it at the same time." Still, Yardley remarked that the book's readers will "find a few small but unexpected rewards" within its pages. Though maintaining that Hyman "tries too hard to be funny," Library Journal reviewer Audrey Snowdon wrote that "his genuine sense of loss" over a failed relationship with someone he truly loved "informs much of the book and makes the title worthy" of perusal.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2004, Allison Block, review of The Reluctant Metrosexual: Dispatches from an Almost Hip Life, p. 1678; January 1, 2005, Laurie Hartshorn, review of The Reluctant Metrosexual (audiobook), p. 884.
Kirkus Reviews, June 1, 2004, review of The Reluctant Metrosexual, p. 527.
Library Journal, July, 2004, Audrey Snowden, review of The Reluctant Metrosexual, p. 82.
Publishers Weekly, June 14, 2004, review of The Reluctant Metrosexual, p. 55.
Houston Chronicle Online, http://www.chron.com/ (September 10, 2004), Jonathan Yardley, "Narcissus Reflects," review of The Reluctant Metrosexual.
Peter Hyman Home Page, http://www.pdhyman.com (February 23, 2005).
Snapper Web site, http://www.thesnapper.com/ (February 3, 2005), Stefan Piscitelli, review of The Reluctant Metrosexual.