There are a great many things I miss about the 2000s. The era’s TV programming (see: The O.C., The Hills) tops that list. A select few fashion trends, like sweater dusters and platform sneakers, do as well. But by far the most nostalgic element of the aughts, at least for me, is the music—and I’m not just talking about the Garden State soundtrack. Ten years ago, bands like The Killers, Green Day and Fall Out Boy dominated the radio—and while their respective sounds certainly differed, they all had one important thing in common: guyliner.
Yep, all three of those groups were led by men who proudly lined their eyes, whether as a nod to ’80s glam rock (hi, Brandon Flowers!) or simply to subvert the system (here’s looking at you, Billie Joe Armstrong). But, of course, these guys weren’t the first to prove that lid liner’s not just for ladies. Back in the ’70s, stars like David Bowie and Alice Cooper were all over the look. It later made its way to the silver screen, with dudes sporting kohl-rimmed eyes in movies like Pirates of the Caribbean (
Jack Sparrow Johnny Depp) and Velvet Goldmine (Ewan McGregor). And then, of course, there’s Jared Leto, who helped popularize guyliner long before he debuted his now-infamous man bun.
To be sure, guyliner isn’t for everyone. It takes a certain, very confident man to pull it off, for starters, and kohl-rimmed eyes aren’t exactly embraced at most dude-dominated office environments (unless they involve a stage, screen or studio, that is). But a 2013 AdWeek study revealed that more millennial males than ever are willing to dabble with makeup—and 12 percent of men surveyed agreed they’d be willing to try guyliner. At best, this indicates an overall shift and softening in years-old gender roles, which is a truly great thing—and at the very least, it’s a nice throwback to a former decade when "Blurred Lines" wasn’t just an overplayed pop song, but a way for dudes to experiment with their own beauty look.
Click through above to peep 12 of my personal favorite liner-loving lads—the unofficial "gods of guyliner," if you will. Who do you think pulls off male eye makeup the best? Do you miss the look as much as I do?