When I first heard the term ‘man buns,’ I thought people were talking about guy butts. I could not have been more wrong.
For those of you who haven’t watched a Hozier music video, ‘man buns’ are when guys wear their hair in a bun. Some of you are probably asking, “What makes a ‘man bun’ different from other hair buns? Are there two little testicles hiding underneath the scalp?” Not that we know of, but there’s always hope! No, a ‘man bun’ is literally just guys putting their hair up in a bun! That’s it!
Man buns follow a long trend of feminine styles and products that are given masculine adjectives to sell to the male populace. In the early 2000’s, Jared Leto and Pete Wentz were rocking ‘guyliner.’ In the 90’s, Joey Tribbiani explored his corporate feminine side with a ‘man purse’ on an episode of Friends. And in the 1800’s, the revolutionary steam-powered ‘male dildo’ saved men from the affliction of ‘anal hysteria.’ For those you who don’t know, anal hysteria is when your taint won’t stop violently screaming till you put something inside of it, like a cork or your pet gerbil. Eyeliner, purse, dildo: all common day to day products most women are familiar with, yet need a hyper masculine introduction for guys to feel comfortable using.
Are men ashamed of their femininity? Do they feel vulnerable when they step outside of their masculine comfort zone? If you ask my therapist, then yes he does. But that’s what makes our sex life so exciting! Men have a tendency to add masculine descriptors to styles and products people consider feminine. It’s a tactic that allows men to steal from women without being labeled as ‘girly.’ Truth is terms like man bun and guyliner don’t sound masculine. They sound lazy and half-baked, like my therapist’s orgasms after strenuous “Downton Abbey” role-playing.
Try adding masculine descriptors before everyday words and see how far you go before you realize how crazy it sounds. Man hugs, guy poops, dude sobs, brobro stainless steel, non-dad yogurt, su-dude-ku, manatees. Seriously, manatees? I see you patriarchy and I am not having it!
My point is adding masculine descriptors to something doesn’t change anything. When you put your hair up and tie it, it’s called a bun. Pencil or sharpie, you’re wearing eyeliner. Spoiler alert, that’s not a purse you’re carrying, it’s a child with an amber alert. The fact of the matter is clothing, makeup, and hair don’t have genitalia.
Men, imagine for a moment if everything you wore or stylized had testicles. The world would be a lot more segregated and problematic. Mankinis, aka Borat’s sling swimsuit, would be stretchable foreskin. Man buns would have their own salons to reach those ‘sensitive, hard to reach’ spots. And man purses would get blue balls whenever you filled them up with too much stuff. While exciting foreplay, none of this is plausible. It’s almost as plausible as adding a masculine adjective to a genderless fad.
Let’s stop the divide between the sexes and quit renaming feminine looks as masculine accessories. Instead, let’s acknowledge them for what they are, genderless. Guys, rock the Maybelline foundation you shoplifted from Target, just don’t call it ‘mankup.’ It is what it is: makeup. You are who you are: a person who can’t pull off a Glenn Close haircut. Boys, embrace your personal style, and who cares if society thinks it’s ‘girly.’ Also, please don’t be afraid to show off your buns. (whispers) I’m not talking about your hair; I’m talking about your butts.
Stevie King is a freelance writer and comedian with a mild obsession for burning down ice cream trucks. They've often been mistaken for Jack Antonoff, Jason Schwartzman, and your mom.