Philadelphia Metropolis


From Metro To Retro

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By Stacy Heenan Biscardi

Two mesh body sponges hang side by side in our master bathroom shower; one purple, one blue. Neither one is mine.

My Laura Mercier french vanilla body wash is nearly empty, except for a few drips, and I haven't used it in weeks.

Someone has been using my sleek black bottle of hair spray and my gigantic round brush to comb his hair.

That's right. His hair.

My husband is totally metro. Metrosexual, that is.

His eyebrows have a nicer shape than mine. He smells of luxurious soaps, lovely colognes, and expensive hair products. He has loads of primping tools, including a Mangroomer, for eliminating hair in hard to reach places, like the back.

Although he was metro when I first met him three years ago I feel partly responsible for the metro mania that swept our household.

It went to an all-time high when I took him to a specialty soap store in New York City called Sabon. He rolled his eyes in protest of browsing through yet another soap store, but followed me in. After quickly picking up a few of my favorite things, I met him at the cash register. He was smelling a chunk of brown-and-beige glycerin soap.

"What do you think of this?" he asked casually. I took a whiff.

"Yum, I love it. What is it?

"Dulce de leche," he read from the label on the packaging. "I'm going to grab a couple of bars."

Within a week, Dulce de leche was dripping from his pores and he was contemplating how Sabon could create other products in the same delicious scent.

"Babe, I emailed the product development team at Sabon today," he announced one afternoon.

"No you didn't!"

"I did. I suggested that they make a Dulce de Leche candle too."

"Who are you?" I yelled, in hysterics..

My man was madly metro.

And it didn't stop there. He started saying to his buddies over the phone, "Dude, I got this great new soap, you have to try it...."

When friends or relatives would come visit us from NYC, they would bring along pounds and pounds of Dulce de Leche soap at my husband's request.

I thought this was more than I could take. But, a few weeks ago, something happened.

My metro man came home from Rite Aid with Old Spice body wash and cologne. I wanted to take his temperature. I asked to check his Blackberry for evidence of an affair with some 50-year-old woman with feathered hair. I wanted to know what happened to my metrosexual husband who would ordinarily turn his nose up to such a putrid retro product.

He dismissed my fears, laughing. "I wanted to try something new, that's all. It reminds me of my dad."

"First of all, your dad is alive and he doesn't even wear Old Spice," I complained. "It's awful."

Thumbnail image for Burt_Reynolds_300.jpg"Just give it a chance," he said, slicking his hair to the side like an extra on Mad Men.

"You know I have a nose like a blood hound. Please, go back to Dulce de Leche, Laura Mercier, Kiehls....your usual cast of characters. I can't take that Old Spice smell.

The next day, after he left for work, I grabbed the red family-size bottle of Old Spice body wash from the shower and hid it in a kitchen cupboard while on my tippy toes. He would never find it there.

"Where's my goddamn Old Spice?" he pondered with a western drawl, the second he came home and saw me giggling.

"I don't have a clue," I laughed.

"Come on, give it back, it's starting to grow on me."

"No, the only thing growing on you is all that hair on your chest! You look like a '70s porn star."

"It's a new look for me," he said.

"A small animal could be burrowing in there and you wouldn't even know it."

Somehow the purchase of Old Spice changed everything. My husband went from totally metro to totally retro. It was like I was married to Burt Reynolds, circa 1975.

I quickly started to miss my husband's well-groomed eyebrows, his gelled spiky hair, his clean-shaven face and body.

I thought a weekend in NYC might do the trick. In the middle of a restaurant in Bryant Park, my sister mentioned, "There's a small Sabon store over there with the other shops." My husband's face lit up.

"Let's go check it out."

There were 100 people crammed into a store the size of my bathroom.

"I'll wait out here," I told him, "take your time."

I smiled at him through the frosted window. He asked the sales girl to hold up a giant bar of Dulce de Leche soap, the length of my leg.

"Should I get the whole thing?" he mouthed to me.


And, with that one purchase, my husband went from totally retro straight back to totally metro.


Stacy Heenan Biscardi lives with her husband and son in Penn Valley




Photo: Burt Reynolds



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