It seems like just yesterday when I came across my first man bun. Not, like, ever. That honor goes to Brad Pitt circa Legends of the Fall, though his might not have been so much of a man bun as it was a man ponytail, with the added visual benefit of a cascade of straight blonde hair over his perfect, perfect face. Particulars be damned–man pony or man bun–the seed was planted: Men could be far better looking than me, especially if their hairstyle rivaled that of my own.
Decades passed between Pitt and present day, with Man Hair staying within standard Man Hair parameters: close to the ears, shaved at the sides, slicked back, shorter than three inches. There were Mad Men haircuts, Orange County faux hawks, uninspired bro cuts. But then, sometime during late 2013, there was a groundswell, an undercurrent in the Man Hair world. A few brave souls cancelled their barber appointments, looked in the mirrors, and said, “Nah, man. We gonna let this one ride.”
Original Man Bun
By Spring 2014, those men–pioneers, really–had passed the awkward hair growth stage usually reserved for women growing out their Rosemary’s Baby prenatal pixie cuts and, voila, began to appear before me on New York City streets and subways, their little nubs of carelessly tied hair like a badge of hotness honor, begging for me to let that hair down, run my hands through it, and then steal their hair tie, because god-f%*king dammit, why am I always losing mine?!?!?!
It felt new, fresh, ironically rugged in an urban setting. But like all trends in New York City, it was doomed to get beaten to the ground, fated to burn out short and swift and violent like the faulty wick of a homemade Mexican firecracker. Hair today, gone tomorrow. [I’m sorry.]
Soon the second wave came, created by men who, like me, stared at those early adopters–marveled at their adept combination of the masculine and feminine, contemplated the occasional juxtaposition of Man Bun with Man Beard, considered asking what conditioner they used–and thought, Yes, I need one of those. And about six months from that very moment, the second wave had pushed through that awkward phase, augmented by barrettes and clips and various things that I and other young girls used to use when I was in the first grade, and arrived on the other side… trendy.
In the last year, man buns have thanklessly multiplied, the evidence of which lives not only on the streets of my fine city, but in the cultural gutters–sorry, annals–of Instagram. No longer reliably attached to exceptionally hot men, they now sit above the necks of overwrought tryhards, hashtagging their in-the-mirror shirtless selfies with #manbun with absolutely zero sense of irony.
Where I once dreamed of nights spent braiding one another’s hair, I have now replaced the fantasy with one of a mass, heartless culling, where I–wielding a scythe made by Frederic Fekkai–strip all this vanity hair from the Man Planet. Season’s over, bros. Time to harvest.