For some it’s a confusing move towards androgyny. For others it’s the in vogue way to contain your locks. And for the follicle-deficient, it is simply unattainable.
It is, of course, the man bun. That it is prefixed with a definitive gender-specific modifier suggests it’s not the most conventionally manly look and is more at home nesting atop the female of the species. But things change.
BuzzFeed — that bastion of modern opinion, its fingers always on the zeitgeist — affirms that men look sexier with a bun.
Have we reached the stage where haircuts are no longer gender-specific? Have we eclipsed the halcyon days of identifying the gender of the being beneath the barnet purely by a cursory glance at its length? Or has the man bun been an ever-present solution to men fortunate enough to enjoy flowing locks? If so, why does it seem that in recent years, the m’un has swept men’s hair across the globe into neatly banded bunches?
It’s no new phenomenon, says celebrity hair stylist Asgar Saboo. “If you think about it, man buns have been a part of male fashion culture for years, dating back to Japanese Samurai and the Buddha, with the knot look.”
Rather than merely emulating Zlatan, Beckham or DiCaprio, modern man bun-wearers are in fact ‘doing a Buddha’.
“This trend is also down to the fact we are now a much more liberal society. A hairstyle previously attached to females, we now have people of both genders willing and able to wear their hair tied back — and it looks good,” adds Saboo.
So, long with a bun or short with the clippers: which style is better? Here’s what some UAE-based expats had to say on their chosen look.
Why did you choose the man bun look?
“The man bun is an idea I’ve toyed with for a few years. I’m not sure what triggered the hair growing journey, but I’ve been told it’s due to a mid, midlife crisis. Haters are gonna hate. I like the aesthetic and it proves extremely efficient: both financially and time-wise," says Luke Taylor, a 30-year-old British national living in Dubai.
Would you consider growing your hair to have a man bun?
“I stick with the cropped look. Man buns are not easy to pull off — some manage it, but most don’t," says Tariq Abdalla, a Palestinian designer in Dubai, 27. He adds, "Having your hair short is practical — especially in the Middle Eastern heat. It’s a smart, clean look.”
Are you just jumping on the bandwagon with your man bun?
“Longer hair is sexier – as long as it suits your face and body type. I’ve never really followed a fashion trend, so me growing my hair has unfortunately coincided with the current trends you see on shameless TV shows such as Love Island. Lucky my sense of style sets me apart," says Billy Wyatt, a 28-year-old South African digital communications manager in Abu Dhabi.
Is the man bun fashion just a phase you’ll grow out of?
“The man bun pandemic is here to stay. Long hair used to be seen as a feminine feature. But these days people are more accepting and liberal. Businesses don’t mind it either," says Mohammad Ali, a 25-year-old Bangladeshi mathematician from Sharjah.
"When I was younger it was all about being clean-shaven with a short, sharp haircut. But now you see highflying white collars with beards and man buns," he says.
Why did you bin the bun?
“I’ve always had an affinity with the Samurai. Thought I would try it, liked it and changed my entire look. It was also easier to manage than the slicked-back style I had before," says Duncan Couto, 30 year old Indian skincare marketing manager in Dubai, adding, “When I first adopted it in 2014, it was unique. I would walk into a room and be the only guy witha man bun. It’s just become too common. So I decided to chop it off.”