Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Slow, Steady, and Tragic Decline of the Man Bun

The movement started with a faint whispertales of glorious strands being pulled back into a tight little knot and sman-manes billowing in the wind, only to be tamed by the strength of an elastic band. Originating with dirty Australian backpackers and steadily finding its way onto the heads of Brooklyn's elite, the bohemian hairstyle, centuries old, began to find a new life. But from these arcane subcultures it streamed forth, ensnaring men who had previously sworn by a clean cut and a fresh shave. These former prepsters found themselves starring into bathroom mirrors and asking friends, "Yo, what do you think about me growing out my hair?" with mock nonchalance and heightened self-awareness. However, when the top knot started appearing in the most mundane of settingsa fast food commercial here, a Forever 21 ad there—there was no denying it: The man bun had gone mainstream. They could be spotted on subway cars, at the Met, in Trader Joe'sthere were even sightings in Murray Hill, much to the outward disgust and secret pleasure of the local fro-yo imbibing females.

Then slowly but surely, articles started popping up defaming the holy aesthetic, vindictively announcing the "shocking" amounts of bacteria found on beards and smashing every germaphobe's dreams (not mine, of course, I embrace all forms of microorganisms). Moreover, a recent study confirmed that 63% of women now despise the man bun trend. So when did the tide begin to turn? Why did popular opinion rise against, and what was the catalyst that started denying the man bun the admiration it deserves? 

Perhaps it was the same fate that happened upon flower crowns: While beautiful and pure in appearance, well-meaning and ethereal, they belong to a different time, a different place. Floral headdresses were created to grace the heads of nymphs in Botticelli paintings, so at music festivals they come across as trite and overeager. One could argue that by exuding masculinity and strength, the man bun belongs in a world of battlefields and armor, bloodshed and glory (think Jon Snow meets Thor). Even I, self-proclaimed lover of all things facial hair, sensed my own recent recoiling when I unfollowed Man Bun Monday, an Instagram account whose images I used to tag friends on religiously, but has gradually begun to feel tired and erroneous. 

With that said, it is still with great sadness that I bid the fad farewell, and usher in an era of close crops and undercuts. Au revoir man bunssociety may be moving on, but I will never deny you a subtle nod of appreciation when die-hards pass me by on the street, throwing all cares of trend and popularity to the wind, along with their beautiful heads of hair.