Most bandwagons are easy to hop on. Buy the right shirt or shoes, the right album, the right cookbook, and then act like you had it first. Make fun of all posers. Repeat as necessary.
But it’s different with the man bun. There’s no shortcut to growing an extra foot of hair overnight to fit in, and whatever tuft you can pull through your girlfriend’s red elastic band doesn’t count. Those stubby, limp shocks of hair, often referred to as “the Pineapple” and barely long enough to knot on top of a head, are the easy way out. They aren’t cool, no matter what Tumblr, that famous actor, or your local poet/barista says, and they’re certainly not worthy of being celebrated or emulated by the masses.
A real man bun takes time, and the commitment to a certain lifestyle. Those who wear them have the testicular fortitude and guttural yawp to back it up. Decked in flannels and beards, they’re usually mistaken for Chris Hemsworth’s cousins; a modern-day Sampson whose hair is an afterthought, but who sometimes needs to light a campfire or see where he’s swinging his ax. He man buns out of utility or indifference. He doesn’t compare his look to fruit while sipping vodka through a small red straw. He doesn’t actually remember straws.
When The New York Times asked a collection of men their reasons for adopting the mini bun style, most responders referred to a deliberate action, with answers that ranged from wanting to look like a hipster to appearing “less straight-edge.” Few said “it just happened,” and one guy said he hoped the trend would die so he could finally cut his hair. “I’m done with it,” he admitted, not realizing that, like Dorothy, the power existed inside him all along.
If you have long hair, wear it. Be proud of the months and years it took to grow, and throw it in a bun when the action calls for it (after all, long hair can be a bitch). If you’re a clean-cut junior executive or have hair short enough to play for the Yankees, don’t bother. No amount of false confidence and no number of glossy articles can distract from the fact that you’re trying too hard to be cool, and that’s the least cool thing of all.
Additional reporting by Julia Savacool.
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