When local hair magnate Mario Russo told me that the coiffure informally known as “the mun” — or man bun — had crossed the Hudson River, snaked its way through Connecticut, and settled in Boston, I refused to believe him.
If hairstyles could fall under the category of invasive species, the mun certainly would fit the definition. Would the men of Boston really gather up their locks like a harried ballerina and pin it to the back of their heads? This, according to reports, was the case in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn last year. But we all know Williamsburg is a fantasy land filled with ironic applique vests and artisanal yogurt pops made from goat’s milk and sage.
But a trip to Manhattan and Brooklyn last week confirmed my fears. The mun had spread from a few early adopters to a wide swath of the city. This eyesore seemed to be moving through New York faster than the zombies in “World War Z.”
And like those zombies, the mun has traveled to other cities. Yes people, it’s in Boston, and Brad Pitt won’t save you. (He once fell victim to the mun, too.) Even worse, I ran into a friend wearing a mun. “Just for the summer,” he said apologetically.
I should have listened to Russo.
It was inevitable that the mun would find a supportive audience here. When it first emerged among celebrities, it (unfortunately) became a trend. Tumblr pages were born, devoted to hunky fellows wearing their hair in a mun. Naturally Chris Hemsworth, Bradley Cooper, Orlando Bloom, and David Beckham are going to look stunning in a mun. They’ve all worn them in a jaunty fashion in paparazzi snaps and at formal events. But these gentleman could get their hair gnawed off by a rabid beaver and they’d still look sensational.
“These guys exude masculinity,” Russo said. “The rest of us mortals have to pay a little more attention to what we pull off.”
There are dangers of a widespread mun trend. An army of ponytail-wearing men could decide that pulling their hair up into a bun will help them resemble Zac Efron or Adrian Grenier. In reality, they would likely look like sloppy mun fan and Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah or worse: John Belushi’s katana-wielding “Samurai Delicatessen” character from 1late 1970s “Saturday Night Live.”
My thought on the style is that unless you’re currently under contract as a Ford model, you should sidestep the mun, but Russo is not so harsh.
“If someone is going to do it, they should pay attention to the whole thing, not just the bun,” he said. “Make sure the hair is well-groomed and that you’re dressed well. I don’t think this is the kind of hair that works with sweats.”
I salute the select few who can successfully wear a mun and don’t make their living as a sumo wrestler, but I’m also encouraged by Russo’s prediction of the mun’s fate.
“How long will this be around for? When you start seeing it hitting the streets of Boston, it’s probably halfway through its life cycle,” Russo said. “I’d say by year’s end it will be finished. As soon as Brad Pitt and Gavin Rossdale decide to cut their hair off, it will be gone . . . at least for a few years.”
Christopher Muther can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.