My husband has started sporting a man bun. This distresses me deeply. I am a staid, sturdy, plain-Jane Midwestern girl without a trendy bone in my body. The man-bun offends all of those sensibilities.
But Andy LOVES it. In spite of his delight I tried my best to suppress the man bun. I forbade it from being worn, so he had to work it into his life slowly and sneakily. At first he asked if he could wear it in the house. I grudgingly relented. Then one morning we were leaving to go the gym. We go to the gym early, so I am not really functioning, but even in my sleepiness I soon realized—a man-bun was about to creep out of the house!
“Just to the gym!” he said.
“Ugh, fine!” I said.
He continued to catch me in moments of weakness. You may remember that he was able to wear it his whole birthday weekend. He started wearing it on other weekend outings when we weren’t going to see anyone we knew.
I wasn’t happy about any of this. I think he looks much nicer without it. And I worry what other people will think about it—that he’s being superficial and hyper-trendy and that he isn’t a person to take seriously. And because he’s studying to be a pastor in a conservative denomination, it’s important to me that he is taken seriously.
But then I realized that I was more worried about what people would think about me. There is a cultural expectation that wives/girlfriends are responsible for their husbands/boyfriends appearances. If a husband looks like a slob, the wife isn’t doing her job. If he’s wearing a man bun, she’s let the reins get too loose. This is reinforced by the fact that if people don’t like the man bun they complain about to me, like it’s my job to get him in line.
This idea was strengthened further for me by an article I read when I was single that encouraged women to not overlook diamond-in-the-rough men. The example was a girl who wasn’t interested in a guy because he wasn’t very put together. She liked his character, though, so she gave him a chance, and after they started dating he really cleaned up his act and started dressing stylishly out of love for her.
I realize that I have the opposite problem (my husband is just too darn stylish) but either way this was not a good expectation to put in my mind. My expectation was that if my husband REALLY loved me he would look exactly how I wanted him to look. He would also recognize his duty to bow to my superior womanly aesthetic impulses. If he wasn’t doing that, then either he didn’t really love me or I wasn’t being a woman who was worthy of true love. No pressure.
But none of this has turned out to be right. For starters, my aesthetic sense is not better than my husbands, it’s just different. Secondly, my husband loves me very much. He just also loves his man bun. And cultural expectations notwithstanding, it’s not my job to police his appearance. It’s a frustrating and futile task. He’s a grown man who can make his own choices. He’s pretty trustworthy, so I realized that I can trust him not to man-bun himself out of ordained ministry.
So I told him that he can wear that man bun if he wants, and he does and he loves it. He makes sure to not push me over the edge with excessive use. And I don’t really worry about it anymore. In marriage the two become one flesh, and our behavior does reflect upon one another. But we are still our own people. If I were a man I would never wear a man bun, or at least I wouldn’t until it was completely mainstream and about to go out of style. But I’m not a man, so I don’t have to worry about it.
He’s happy, I’m happy, and if you don’t like the man bun, that’s fine; it’s still not my favorite. But instead of bringing your complaints to me, you’ll have to take it up with him. He’s a grown man; he can handle it.