It’s time to break the silence: what’s up with all the man buns?
Don’t deny it, you’ve seen them too. This past September has been witness to record high numbers of man buns in the lecture halls and on the playing fields at Queen’s. They came back to campus with us when we returned from summer break and settled in our midst.
That isn’t to say that the man bun is a new phenomenon. In fact, the rise of the man bun over the course of the past year can be tracked using a tool called Google Trends.
Interest in man buns is plotted on a graph and has been increasing steadily over the years.
But at the beginning of 2014, things start getting interesting. That’s when Jared Leto wore a man bun to the Golden Globes, complete with a tux and a shaggy beard.
Save for the odd early adopter during the winter term last year, it seems to have taken until last month for the trend to catch on in earnest.
This is also reflected on Google Trends, with interest in man buns increasing roughly 63 per cent between mid-August and mid-September this year. What gives?
The infamous man bun is defined on Urban Dictionary as follows: “[noun]: A questionably sexy hairstyle in which a man with hair of the medium to long (and usually greasy) variety secures said hair into a firmly rounded bun.”
Key words: questionably sexy. There appears to be some measure of disagreement among Queen’s students on the matter of the man bun.
Nikki Clydesdale is a self-professed lover of man buns, but laments at the high prevalence of mediocre ones.
“What makes a good man bun is the style accompanying the man bun,” Clydesdale, ArtSci ’16, said, adding the best kind of man bun sits on top of the head with a shaved back like a nape undercut.
Living near the ARC, Clydesdale has witnessed first-hand the rise of the man-bun.
“You just see all these weird bros with their hair in a bun walking around like they’re the [bomb-dot-com],” she said. One of them may have been James Alexander.
Alexander, ArtSci ’17, began growing his hair out a year ago. His bun is a recent addition, and it contradicts Clydesdale’s description of the perfect man bun with its messy style.
“A lot of the time when you’ve got the man bun, facial hair is necessary,” he said.
All else aside, the man bun serves primarily for Alexander to keep his hair out of his face.
Stephen Wu is also a fan of the man bun. Like Alexander, Wu’s man bun just started out as an effort to keep hair out of his face, but it stuck.
His current man bun is his second attempt at the style, after a brief hiatus for a few months.
He first noticed the trend two months ago and aligns with Clydesdale’s description.
“I cut my own hair, so it’s not a problem,” Wu, ConEd ’18, said, adding he likes the man bun hairstyle for its balance of comfort and style.
Lucas Petersen’s man bun wasn’t initially an intentional enterprise.
“I just haven’t cut it since I buzzed it after last frosh week,” Petersen, Sci ’16, said.
When it started getting longer, Petersen realized its potential. He was sporting a man bun by August.
Petersen doesn’t have his sides shaved the way Clydesdale prefers, but he acknowledges the benefit of not having to deal with loose side hair.
“It just cleans it up,” he said.
Petersen also remarked that shaving the sides could also shorten the pre-bun growth period, resulting in a lack of commitment for some.
It’s clear that the man bun leaves a lot of room to personal adaptation and interpretation. Perhaps it’s this factor of flexibility that made the style catch on.
Although the trend has been brewing since January, it’s taken until September to become widespread. The style seems to have all sprung from nowhere, but many of today’s man buns have been in the works for some time.
Google Trends even indicates that interest in the man bun is still rising.
The question remains: how far will it go?
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