We’ve all heard of the man bun: an alternative ‘do adopted by hipsters that simultaneously gives off vibes of grunge, manliness and sensitivity. Also known as the “bro bun,” “dude bun,” and the short but sweet, “mun,” this iconic knot has defined a generation of men. In 2013, both British boy bands and edgy American celebrities popularized the man bun. Just a year later, the bun wrapped its messy tendrils around the heads of guys who dressed like lumberjacks and sipped mochaccinos like coffee cuppers.
However, the bun’s perch atop hipsters’ heads was a lonely one. Thus, re-grew the “recession beard.” This sweeping phenomenon began as a side effect of The Great Recession of 2008. Men were cut like dead-ends from careers that bored them in the first place. To muster up their remaining masculinity, enjoy their newfound lack of stricture or to publicize their unemployment blues, they stopped shaving. They sprouted patchy whiskers that grew to scraggly fuzz. With each passing week, their shaving cream bottle, razor and briefcase collected dust and their beard grew burlier. From 2008- 2010, reliable and professional news sources like The New York Times, NBC News and Daily Finance covered the trend with sarcastic tones. Now, while the recession beard hasn’t gotten quite as much buzz (literally, does it ever get trimmed?) as the mun, articles on and pictures of these chin locks can be found on social media hotspots like Buzzfeed, Instagram and Tumblr.
To a common hipster, the man bun is the crowning jewel and the beard: the throne on which it reigns over acres of lumber and hearts. While these bearded chaps sip on craft beer, we’re able to quench our serious thirst for thistle by Google image stalking Ben Dahlhaus, Austin Davis and Jared Leto. While they all sport the bun and beard combo flawlessly, that’s not to say men can’t sprout a beard sans bun. From professors, to your boyfriend’s cousin, to your local Starbucks cashier, artsy bald men can rock the style, strutting through life, beards a-blazin’.
Now, the age-old question: to grow a beard or to not grow a beard? As once, a symbol of unemployment and manliness and currently, a trendy DIY accessory, if you will, the recession beard could define you as a man of loss or an alternative addition to society.