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Manties, manicures, and manbuns

By: Jefferson Weaver

Jefferson-WeaverI have never really been a slave to fashion.

My taste in clothes is stuck firmly between 1930 and 1960; as far as hairstyle, I guess mine could be described as well-groomed barbarian, except on Saturdays. Most Saturdays, I end up with twin braids reminiscent of a less-well-groomed barbarian. My only requirement for footwear is that shoes (usually boots) be easy on the feet, and reasonably resistant to snake bites, stomping horses, and political promises. The latter, by the way, is far harder to clean.

Although I border on blushing to even broach the subject, my underwear choices are even simpler. Yes, I will fight you for my military-issue silk weight base layers, followed by long woolens; I occasionally wear a so-called Farmer John when the weather isn’t quite freezing. Some things, however, a man really doesn’t need to talk about, and as far as I am concerned, underwear is one of them.

Neither should a man who calls himself such model, much less own, a pair of “manties.”

I actually saw some of those… things … on display in a clothing store recently. They are simply the latest attempt to turn men into something pliable and feminine. I’m fairly sure that whole trend started as a communist plot, but before they fell, even the communists had standards. The societal gelding movement just picked up the flag and carried on.

Manties, by the way, are men’s underwear cut and designed to look like women’s unmentionables, apparently from the “bloomer days”. They even come in the same colors as women’s underpinnings – one particular company, a well-known national brand, offers matching his and hers sets. Frankly, I ain’t sure why such is needed, since you can’t tell the difference between the two models. There again, I am a simple country newspaperman who wears a Farmer John from time to time. I can’t be much of a judge of haute couture, considering I have to look up the spelling whenever I write those words.

I reckon manties are the perfect accessory for a “manbun”.

I come from a line of generally hairy men, even though most men in my family, at least back to the War Between the States, were far better barbered.  After a weekly regimen of trims and cuts up into my early 30s, I now only get a haircut every six or seven years, whether I need it or not. Never mind shaving.

As such, my hair is significantly longer than that of most men, and many women, but I like it that way. It’s actually cooler in the summer, due to sweat, and obviously warmer in the winter. Orphaned baby possums and squirrels find my long hair reassuring. Small children enjoy playing with my braid. It’s a handy place for an extra knife, inkpen, or hoof pick (I am not making this up).

My bride does most of the work – after we have coffee and prayer in the morning, she does whatever she feels necessary to make me slightly less frightening to small children and the public at large. I don’t know if it’s called a fishtail or a fishscale, a French braid or a flip, but Miss Rhonda actually enjoys messin’ with my hair. I am thankful she loves me so much.

All I can figure is that these odd children wearing manbuns don’t have the privilege of being married to a wonderful woman who likes hair. Of course, for many of them, I fear the first syllable of the word is inaccurate.

I was positive the manbun thing, where a guy grows just enough hair to ball up on the back of his head like a hardworking grandmother, was just a silly fad, like the guys wearing their hair in crown-rings like a Disney princess. That trend quickly fell away, thank goodness. The stretch from Frozen cartoon character rings to Zulu warrior or Nordic Berserker wasn’t far, but those fellers just couldn’t make it.

But I will be dast if I didn’t see a guy with a manbun on a recent trip to a large city. Not only did he have a manbun, but he had beads in his beard.

Beads, of all things.

I wanted to strangle him with my Viking braids.

Girls can wear beads in their hair, and look cute and flirty. Horses can wear beads in their manes if their owners absolutely insist on doing so. Men can wear bracelets, or necklaces made of beads—I have a string or two of 16th century trade beads, interspersed with bone and teeth, that I occasionally wear to town on Saturdays, usually when I have the opportunity to frighten vegetarians and liberals.

But one just does not put beads in a beard.

It insults the beard, and that is grounds for a dry shave with a dull pocketknife.

But I am sure that we’ll survive these latest effeminate affronts to male society; after all, we survived the short-lived metrosexual revolution.

At least I could understand why some women liked metrosexuals—they smelled like women, liked many of the same things, but were still basically guys. Guys who dressed very well, and who you could take out in public without worrying about a foul smell coming from the bed of the truck (most of them didn’t drive trucks anyway). I find it significant that the birth rate dropped during that period of time in fashion history.

While I do take pride in presenting a clean, respectful and professional appearance, I was also taught that cleanliness shows more through a man’s actions than his fingernails. There’s usually more honor in a rime of grease or a bleeding callous than a strawberry-watermelon detoxifying lotion. I’ll trust a hand dripping fresh Go-Jo long before I will one shining with an herbal-scented dermabrasive scrub. I am deeply distrusting of any man who has better fingernails than most women. That isn’t to say everyone who values skin care is suspect, but just as there are good dogs, there are plenty of mad biters, too.

As far as I am concerned, men are supposed to be men, and women are supposed to be women. And no, I am not dumping on tomboys or guys whose interests just don’t extend past the front porch. There is nothing quite so fetching as a girl in overalls or camouflage – unless it’s a young lady who has gone to the trouble to dress her best. I do not expect every man to have a bushy beard and a deer slung across the hood of the truck.

I do, however, have a problem with men who apparently lack enough red meat in their diets to say “No” when a woman suggests they buy matching lacy silk underwear, bead a scruffy little beard, and wear their hair like their grandmother on a bad day.

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