Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hipster Kid Hair: What's Your Take?

A vacation in Berkeley this summer and a wedding party at the University of Minnesota this weekend gave me the biggest opportunity for man-bun viewing I’ve ever had. I couldn’t help but look at my husband from time to time and try to decide how he’d look with a man bun. Not that he’d ever try it and I have to say, it wouldn’t work on him. But all these man-buns made me think about Ruby’s era in 1958, hipsters and hair.

I think at least since I can remember, long hair has always been a sign of rebellion. Even cartoons show long-haired squirrels playing piano as a symbol for goofball artists. In 1958, hipsters had longer hair than more conventional folks, but not quite as long as guys did in the hippie days of the late 1960s and 1970s.

It’s interesting to me as well that Albert Einstein was a highly respected figure all over the world but his hair was definitely wilder than most of his contemporaries. So what does that mean? Is long hair a sign of genius? Craziness? Rebellion? Or all three?

An informal poll of my friends on Facebook seems about evenly divided between those who absolutely hate man buns (and mullets) and those who either kinda sorta like them or at least think it’s important to tolerate them. I’m starting to like them, at least on certain people, but I can’t exactly say why. Maybe it’s the whole rebellion thing and the fact that I like seeing people who don’t dress conventionally.

I’m also starting to think about kids and whether we are more tolerant of differences now than we used to be. I have a friend whose two sons have much longer hair than most girls, and she and her family seem fine with it.

My mom, on the other hand, freaked out in truly frightening ways if I didn’t wear my hair exactly the way she preferred it to be. That meant barrettes to pull back the front pieces, each and every day. If I didn’t do that, I was punished—and I mean that literally.

Going through that with my mother convinced me that hair is the first opportunity our children have to express themselves—and where and when possible, we should let them do it. Long, short, curly, mullets, man buns and all. Because no one criticized Einstein for his hair and in fact, most people correctly thought more about what was inside his head than on it.

I say bravo to that—so if my kid ever decides to wear a man bun, I won’t criticize him, though he said very clearly that won’t happen in a million years. (He did have a pierced ear for a while, but found that had to be fussed with too much).

What about your kids? Is there anything you would or wouldn’t let them do connected to appearance? And what does their hair (and overall style) tell you about who they are?

I guess to me, half the fun is finding out.

For more on kids and man buns, see this post at Pulptastic and Man Bun Hairstyle. These are just two of many blogs on these hipster dos, which seem to be everywhere (who knew?)

Child’s profile photo: Jessie Pearl