December 21, 2014

SHOW US YOUR BUNS, BABY! (self-reference alert)

Man-buns are the sexiest thing in the world. This is why they drive us wild (Tshepo Mokoena and Megan Carpentier, 21 December 2014, The Guardian)

Disbelieve us all you want. But when you catch a woman (or man) in your life staring at not just a man's upswept hair but that intimate spot at the nape of a man's neck, framed by his bun and transformed into a detail on display for us ... well, don't say we didn't warn you.

A man-bun occupies that erotic space between androgynous and hypermasculine, simultaneously feminine in its length and masculine in it's devil-may-care updo - because a man-bun is never, ever tightly wound. It's just about the sexiest thing on the sidewalk. A reappropriation of the hard semi-androgyny of a ballet dancer's hair and the messy 'dos of a fashion runway, an iconoclastic moment of genderfuck, it's a style choice that is both high- and low-maintenance at once. Most of all, the man-bun makes us want to slowly take your hair down and run our fingers through it. And then it makes us want to do something else.

A well-kept man-bun sends all kinds of mixed signals without saying a word - but it definitely invites us to wonder.

Straddling both masculine peacocking and historically feminine hair length, the man-bun wearer knows that he is inviting the heteronormative female gaze - and he doesn't shy away from the glances of gay and bisexual men. The man-bun signals an adherence to completely messing with people's heads: with a suit, for instance, it also masterfully debunks stereotypes about long-haired men as slackers, hippies and low-ponytailed metalheads.

Man-buns ruffle feathers - and send hearts aflutter - because they embody a gender subversion without being arrogant or pretentious. When a man sweeps his hair into a bun and walks out the house, he says something - Yeah, this is me, and my face, and most likely my neck - in a manner we're used to seeing on women with long hair. He flips on his head (quite literally) the idea of an updo as a woman's look. Short haircuts show off men's faces as much as a bun, but they don't (and can't) compare to the bun's brashness.

So that upsweep of hair from your back isn't considered sexy nowadays?

Posted by at December 21, 2014 9:01 AM

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