Metro Man & Metro Home

By Bir Ganguly

Maybe this is not the ultimate compendium of gifts for the metro male. But we can bet that it makes for a pretty close substitute. From naughty to nice, you can find all kinds of goodies to suit a variety of manicured tastes and pedicured interests that a metrosexual is allowed to have. To make things easier, our sixteen suggestions have been divided into four categories, each consisting of four gift ideas. Happy hunting!

Making impressive first impressions …

Pretty is what pretty does. Not sure if that is a standard saying or we made it up just so that we could disagree. We firmly believe in – pretty is what pretty is.

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The best look-good ingredient, as most people would agree, is a dollop of youth. Prevage MD, product of the latest anti-aging research at Allergan Dermatology, packs in the highest concentration of idebenone – an antioxidant that has been proved to be extremely effective in reducing the signs of aging, such as, uneven skin tone, fine lines, and wrinkles. It also protects from environmental stressors that aggravate the aging process. The high penetrability of the product adds to its effectiveness. Prevage MD anti-aging treatment with one percent idebenone (1 oz, $115) is available through select physicians’ offices; prescriptions are not necessary. To locate an office or for more information, visit www.prevagemd.com.

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With a boutique approach gaining force in terms of lifestyle trends in general, it becomes embarrassing if one’s signature scent is something that could be found on the shelf at every other department store. www.luckyscent.com has gathered an amazing array of hard-to-find fragrances from some of the most exclusive perfume houses in the world – little known outside of the cognoscenti. Some of our favorites are L’Homme Sage by Divine (50 ml, $115), the unisex Rose Poivrée by The Different Company (90 ml, $120) and the Series fragrances by Comme des Garcons (various prices), and Keiko Mecheri’s Oliban (75 ml, $80). To test before ordering full sizes, samples are always available.

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Despite all the new innovative products and treatments that have become a part our lifestyle, shaving still remains the ultimate male grooming ritual. Decléor Aroma Home Spa for Men builds around this concept. The luxurious collection, which harnesses the best of the plant world, is suitable for even the most sensitive of skins. It includes: Rasage Tendresse Gentle Shaving Foam (200 ml); Aromessence Homme Shaving Care for Men (travel size, 5 ml), a pre- and post-shave oil using 100 per cent natural Essential Oils to lubricate, deep cleanse, disinfect, and soothe; Contre Temps Stop Wrinkles Fluid (50 ml), a daytime, energizing anti-aging product with a light, non-oily texture that works to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, soothe razor burn, and protect the skin against harsh environmental factors; and Aromessence Baume Homme (travel size, 5 ml), a luscious balm to relax and comfort weakened, dull or dried-out skin – perfect for the dry winter times. And in case the user gets confused, there is the Aroma Home Spa for Men mini-guide. How thoughtful! Decléor Aroma Home Spa for Men is available at www.beautyhabit.com and select spas and salons nationwide. To find one near you visit www.decleor.com.

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In cozy cashmere and bold colors, an argyle print jumper from duncan quinn makes for a great way to transition from buttoned up to shaken and stirred. These sweaters provide the perfect mix of British eccentricity and fine quality in the material with some rock ‘n roll thrown in to hint at the character within. The line has been featured adorning the backs of numerous Hollywood hipsters. duncan quinn argyle jumpers ($600.00) are available at duncan quinn: 8 Spring Street, New York and at www.duncanquinn.com.

Playtime gifts …

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. And so it does to us.

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The coolest thing since the iPod has just hit the market! Hardly any larger than an iPod, the iKey records directly to any USB-compatible storage device, including the iPod. Input from any compatible audio device is converted into MP3 or WAV format real-time. The small gadget is easy to operate and makes that holiday project of transferring old vinyl and CD collections to digital format an utterly feasible idea! To locate a dealer or for more information on the iKey (retails for $229.99), visit www.ikey-audio.com.

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Talking of music and iPods, there is another hot new product that is quite a must-have this season. Logitech’s Wireless Headphones for MP3 is an amazing gift for anyone who owns an iPod. Its advanced Bluetooth frequency-hopping technology allows interference-free, crystal-clear audio over a 30-foot range, and rechargeable batteries play up to eight hours per charge. The headphones include a wireless adapter that snaps onto the MP3 player, while integrated controls allow the user to adjust the volume or mute tracks without touching the player at all. For more information or to purchase the product ($129.99), visit www.logitech.com. The headphones are also available at Office Depot stores.

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Brewing one’s own beer is so last season. It is time to impress friends and guests with freshly brewed soda, seltzer, or sparkling water. After making a splash in Europe, soda-club has launched its home soda-makers in the American market. In a matter of seconds, these machines can make virtually any flavor or amount of carbonated beverages. Even the carbonation level can be adjusted to taste. Soda-Club machines require no more countertop space than a coffeemaker. Add to that the facts that home-made soda is healthier and the process is more environment-friendly and you have clear winner. For more information or to purchase a product ($79.99- $149.99), visit www.sodaclub.com.

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Whether it is a newly-acquired neo-impressionistic painting to be put up on the wall, or the bottle of organic beer waiting to be opened, one can turn to the Sheffield 14-in-1 Multi Tool. Seriously, this is no mean little thing. On second thoughts, considering the power it packs in its slick palm-sized body, it is actually one mean lean toy. Included are – hammer, nail claw, screwdrivers in three sizes, two kinds of pliers, serrated blade, knife, wire cutter, wire stripper, can opener, key holder, and file! At a price of less than $20, this can be a real find. Available at Lowe’s, Home Depot, and independent retailers nationwide. For more information, go to www.sheffield-tools.com.

The gift of a ‘spiritual’ experience …

Not that kind of spiritual experience; this one is all about the senses, even though it involves plenty of fine spirits!

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With its exceptional quality and innovation, Ultimat from the Polmos distillery in Bielsko-Biala, Poland stands shoulders above the deluge of so-called top-shelf vodkas on the market these days. Unlike most vodkas, which happen to be single-ingredient-based, Ultimat is a blend of three separately distilled ingredients – 70 per cent potato, 15 per cent wheat, and 15 per cent rye – resulting in an enhanced bouquet and extremely smooth finish. The Ultimat Chocolate Vanilla Vodka (750 ml, $53.99) is especially remarkable in its decadent mix of this superior spirit with delicious hints of chocolate and vanilla. The Kronso crystal decanter that it comes in is just as much a work of art as the liquid inside. For retail information, visit www.ultimatvodka.com.

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The year 2005 marks the 200th Anniversary of Pernod, the famous aniseed spirit that used to be the original absinthe. In 1805, Henri-Louis Pernod created his company to sell absinthe extract.

It was an instant success in France and beyond. Artists and thinkers, such as Van Gogh and Oscar Wilde made it the drink of their choice. However, in the early 20th century, absinthe became the subject of much debate on account of its hallucinogenic ingredient – wormwood. In 1915, the French government finally banned it. The original Absinthe recipe was re-formulated minus the wormwood and re-introduced as Pernod in 1928. To this date, the blending of star-anise essences and aromatic herbs used to produce the unique flavor of this distilled spirit still remains a closely-guarded secret. Pernod is drunk diluted with cold water in France and mixed with soda or fruit juice elsewhere in the world. For more information and cocktail recipes, visit www.pernod-usa.com. Pernod is carried by major liquor retailers nationwide (750ml; about $30).

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The Marula tree is uncultivated by man and grows nowhere but in the warm frost-free regions of subequatorial Africa. The tree is supposed to have mystical powers and is believed to bestow vigor and fertility to those married under its branches, while the African elephant has a weakness for its succulent, tart fruit. Amarula Cream Liqueur is an absolutely delicious blend of oak-aged marula fruit and nature’s freshest cream with hints of chocolate, caramel, and butterscotch flavors. The liqueur can be enjoyed on its own (yum!), on the rocks (the traditional way to drink it on the African veldt), or used as an ingredient in cocktails. It also works fabulously with coffee, ice cream, and desserts. For more information and cocktail recipes visit www.amarula.com. To purchase a bottle (750ml, $22.99), check at your local retailer.

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A good margarita can always be relied to replace the cold and grey of these winter months with the warmth and color of summer. As long as it is prepared with Don Eduardo tequilas, one can be sure of that. Distilling tequila since 1840, the Ordelain family still follows the original handcrafted techniques of Eduardo Orendain, after whom the brand is named. Don Eduardo Tequilas are produced from 100 per cent blue agave and bottled in three expressions – Silver or Blanco, Aà±ejo or aged, and Reposado or rested. The ultra-premium portfolio is a true connoisseur’s choice and offers a tequila for every occasion – cocktails, after-dinner enjoyment (perhaps with a cigar), or just served on the rocks with lime. For more information, visit www.doneduardo.com. Available at major retailers nationwide ($40-$45 for 750 ml).

A picture is worth a thousand words …

Additionally, even though we believe in great literary works, looking at shiny cars and sexy people or flipping through glossies is so much pleasanter and less likely to cause wrinkles and frown-lines.

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From Playboy’s classic archives comes a trilogy of stocking-stuffer-sized (eight by six inches) volumes to celebrate gorgeous blondes, brunettes and redheads. Each contains 80 pictures (centerfold included!) from issues from the 50s up to the 70s. The vintage photos are sexy enough to raise eyebrows, but sweet enough to be a cute gift – even for a dad. Shots include fun-loving all-American girl next-door types to sensual international beauties like Ursula Andress and China Lee. Each volume features an entertainingly innovative introduction by Playboy advisor columnist Jim Petersen and witticisms about the charms of blondes, brunettes, or redheads. Playboy Blondes, Playboy Brunettes, and Playboy Redheads are available as single volumes at www.amazon.com for about $12 each. Those who are unwilling to play favorites can, of course, get all three.

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Anthony Sansone (1905-1987), one of the first physique models and the most admired bodybuilder of his time, could have claimed himself to be the first American metrosexual. Along with the likes of Rudolph Valentino, Sansone pioneered the cult of male beauty. His photographs, fitness program publications, and the three gyms that he founded set and shaped the physical ideal for a generation of men. In this stunning hardcover book, art historian John Massey uncovers the lost story of Sansone’s life that spanned the varied worlds of art, bodybuilding, dance, Hollywood, theater, and photography. The text is punctuated with spectacular reproductions of his sculpted, godlike body – many of which have been out of circulation in the past half-century. American Adonis: Tony Sansone, The First Male Physique Idol (list price $45) is available at www.amazon.com for only $28.35. Also available at barnes & Noble and www.barnesandnoble.com.

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The Porsche 911, one of the longest-running models currently in production by any manufacturer, is revered by engineers and fans the world over. In an amazing hard-cover book, best-selling author/photographer and noted Porsche historian Randy Leffingwell traces the sports car’s 30 years of step-by-step development and rise to international success with 300 vivid color and black-n-white photographs and dozens of exclusive interviews. Porsche 911: Perfection by Design is published by Motorbooks and retails for $50. It is currently available at www.barnesandnoble.com for only $35.

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Just in time for the holidays, from Times inc. comes Giftscriptions, a new way to give magazine subscription as a gift. The gift kit consists of an designed box holding the gift certificate and a colorful booklet that previews the selection of 50 magazine titles to be chosen from. The titles span a wide range of interests from lifestyle, health, sports, and business to celebrity, cooking, travel, and many more. Priced at less than $20, this extremely versatile gift can be a heaven-sent when dealing with those hard-to-buy-for people. Giftscriptions is available at www.bestbuy.com, www.giftscriptions.com, www.barnesandnoble.com, nationally at Barnes & Noble stores, and at select Borders, Best Buy, and Walmart stores.

Originally published December 2005
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