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What’s with the sudden rise of the man bun?

Russell Brand

Screen grab from YouTube

The question

What's with the sudden rise of the man bun? Why are long-haired guys all tying their locks up into top knots?

The answer

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It does look oddly demure, doesn't it? As if all the bearded hippies have decided they also want to be governesses in Edwardian novels.

A couple of things I have noticed about man buns: First, they are only ever worn by hirsute guys. They not only have long hair, they also have beards. You never see a thick mass of hair piled on top of the head with a clean-shaven face. The messy beard is the counterfoil to the girly hairstyle.

Second, you don't see these guys in suits and ties. Or even socks. They are proudly T-shirted. Indeed, the whole point of the man bun, I have surmised, is to assert a high proficiency at yoga. There are no yoga-achievement badges, no coloured belts like judo, so the male yoga expert needs some other kind of visible symbol. You can bet your recycling bin that the man with the top knot can outbend, outstretch and outmeditate you. Odds are he knows a thing or two about Pema Chodron and the best place to stay in Varanasi.

Look, I'm really not against such peacockery. I'm in favour of hipster androgyny: Any trend that permits men to rebel against strict gender rules of appearance is going to make the world a more expressive and sensitive place for all of us.

I have no advice for the bun-headed man: He is not even reading this anyway.

Novelist Russell Smith's memoir, Blindsided, is available as a Kobo e-book. Have a style question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com.

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