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A New No-Shave November

It’s that time of the year again: No-Shave November has arrived and, whether we like it or not, we’re going to be dealing with a lot of scruff for the next month.

For some of us, No-Shave November might not make a real impact on our lives. In the past, we may have greeted the new month with nothing more than a ceremonious flip of the calendar page and a Thanksgiving dessert themed Pinterest spree. Some of us may only think of November as the thirty days of being scratched by our boyfriends’ faces, or of begging our little brothers to stop trying to assert their manhood with what patchy peach fuzz they can muster.

In reality, No-Shave November is actually a movement for a great cause. By passing up on the shaving cream, razor and scissors we start a conversation in which we can raise awareness about cancer patients living without the wonderful privilege of long, unkempt hair! We can even donate what money we would normally spend on our hair this month to them.

November also welcomes those who have always wanted to grow a mustache, through the similarly powerful Movember movement, which works to promote men’s health on a global scale.

At UMass Amherst, we see the potential for another campaign. There’s an emerging trend this fall, a diverse population of men on campus with one thing in common: their man buns. More specifically, they tell us, either a man bun or a top knot. Could this be the New No-Shave November? We talked to a few of the stylish guys to find out what it takes to let grow their long locks and came up with the following few essentials.

1. It takes commitment

Eric Marcantonio stresses the importance of full commitment, “A real man bun is one that is not shaven on the sides. There’s a difference between a top knot and a man bun.” Jeremy Kamari seems to agree, adding a word of advice for those considering the new look. “Stick with it,” he said, “There’s an ugly phase, but you just gotta fight through it.”

Kamari (left) and Marcantonio (right) sport their man buns during an intense gym session.

2. It takes courage

UMass Amherst’s own Homecoming King may have won the hearts of students this fall, but did his top knot? Matthew Morin shares the harsh truth with us, “A lot of people dislike it.” While this could discourage self-expression for some, Morin does not seem the least bit fazed. We love that the guys in this long-haired community are not afraid of what other people think.

Morin (center) strolls regally amongst tailgating fans.

3. It takes a caring bond

A caring, healthy relationship is essential for man bun and top knot maintenance. “My man bun and I are very close,” confides Nick Gully. “We have a very good friendship. It has an attitude sometimes, but we have learned to coexist.” We feel you, Nick. It’s the ultimate love/hate relationship.

Gully (right) and Tetsu Zhao (left) discuss their long-haired lifestyle over lunch at Hamp.

The New York Times features Zach Hammer in an article, “9 Men on Why They Love Their Man Buns.” Although he questioned whether to keep the style at the time, a recent Campus Center sighting confirms that Hammer has not yet made the cut and that he must, in fact, love his man bun.

Hammer’s photograph in the New York Times.

4. It takes an easygoing mindset

A few of our trend setters stumble upon their new community almost by accident. “You know, I never really planned on having a man bun. My hair was just kind of long and all of a sudden I had this sort of epiphany. The man bun chose me,” Nick Singer muses as his girlfriend, Haley Sutera, French braids his hair. “And then he took all of my elastics,” she laughs.

Sutera (top) braiding boyfriend Singer’s (bottom) hair.

Zak Russell enjoys a sunny spot in the ILC.

Though these guys aren’t directly raising awareness for cancer or men’s health (yet!), we love that they’re diverging from the status quo and think they have what it takes to start a New No-Shave November. Man buns and top knots don’t discriminate — we see them on the football team, the Homecoming Royalty Court, in the New York Times and at Blue Wall. 

Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. All others courtesy of author.

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Carly Brand

U Mass Amherst

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