Culture & Food » Arts & Culture

The Buzz Bin: Just a Bun

By Mitch Ryals, as told by his bun

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We're standing in line for coffee when out of nowhere, I get honked.

The lady behind us reached up, wrapped me up in her grubby paw and squeezed.

"Your man bun is so soft," she says to the man to whose head I'm affixed with a black elastic hair tie. "I've never touched one before."

An innocent compliment to most, but to me this violent assault is just another example of the indignities of my existence. I'm just a bun, after all. I didn't choose to be tied to a man.

Women gawk and stare. Sometimes they'll shout: "Nice man bun, baby!"

Men comment, too: "Your man-bun game is strong today, bro!"

Other jeers have been more violent: "Cut your hair, you stinkin' hippie!"

It's been a year since the "man bun" Ken doll was released, but I'm still triggered when I think about the onslaught of bun-shaming on Twitter:

"The new 'Man Bun' Ken doll comes with shirt, shoes and keys to Barbie's car that he's driving until he 'gets back on his feet again,'" one user quipped.

"I don't even own Mattel's new man bun Ken Doll but he already told me the dangers of processed food and how Bernie would have beaten Trump," another mused.

Even the president of the United States, master of the combover, has officially come out against buns on men: "Man buns? Never been my thing, I must admit."

It's a moniker that's thrust upon me and an inescapable reminder that I'm forever defined by the human to whom I'm tied.

But recently, I've gained some perspective. When we told our girlfriend about the coffee-shop assault, she just chuckled. Welcome to being a woman, she said, and told us of all the times she's been referred to as a "female journalist." Waiters call her "sweetie." Dudes hanging out of cars feel entitled to comment on her chest.

Consider all the pregnant women whose bellies get rubbed with impunity, she suggested.

Suddenly, the bun-shaming and unwanted squeezing fell into context.

Maybe being a man bun isn't so bad. ♦

The original print version of this article was headlined "Just a Bun"

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