I’m predicting that the word “metrosexual” will go the way of, um, Howard Dean’s candidacy in 2004. I never could figure out quite what it actually referred to in the first place. Bill Clinton? Bill Moyers? A straight guy who’s been through “Queer Eye?” Whatever it meant, it conjured up the horrifying specter of a man in touch with his feminine side. That always makes me want to run for cover. Would there be a lawsuit, so that I would have to share the ladies’ room with a metrosexual?

Nonetheless, so hot a buzzword was “metrosexual” in 2003 that everyone seemed to want to be one. William Safire devoted an entire column to trying to define the word. The high point–or perhaps the low point–for the word came in October, when Dean described himself a metrosexual at a breakfast in Boulder, Colorado, after confiding that gay men had told him he was handsome and boasting that he had signed a civil-union bill for gays, lesbians, transgenders, etc., while governor of Vermont. Then–whoops!–Dean backtracked, confessing that he didn’t really know what metrosexual meant, and he hastened to remind his audience (obliquely, of course), that he had a son–whew!–who thought he was a square.

But now, with Dean looking like a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination and, thanks to “Razor Blade” Hussein, “Lockerbie” Khaddafi, and a few others, a tanker in 49 states, the hip scribes who only a few months ago embraced the word to their bosom, are now distancing themselves like mad.

 I did a quick search of four major newspapers to see who’d been talking about metrosexuals recently. New York Times and Chicago Tribune: A syndicated piece on Dec. 21 about guys who buy candles (costs $$ to access this fluff at the Times and registration at the Tribune, so I’m not bothering with links). Los Angeles Times: Nada. Washington Post: Our friend Tina Brown (aready noted for you by my esteemed co-blogger Charlotte Hays), writing as follows on Dec. 17, just after the Saddam (for her fellow Democrats) debacle:

It had been a particularly obnoxious week for a crowd that favors a more metrosexual approach to foreign relations.

(The “obnoxious” part for Tina’s pals, by the way, was the existence of James Baker, not Saddam Hussein.)

I prophecy–you can prove me wrong if you like–that Tina’s salvo will mark the last we’ll be hearing seriously of metrosexuals.