You walk into your GE literature class on the first day of the semester. You are nervous because the list of course books is longer than the line out of Breakers Market after chapel. You aren’t sure what to expect, and you will probably drop the class after two days. Then, you meet Professor Robbie Maakestad. You still think about dropping the class. Then, you see his magnificent hair, tied up in a man bun.
You’ve never been more excited to be in higher education.
Maakestad, a writing and literature professor at PLNU, first grew out his hair while in grad school, avoiding the barbershop for a year. Quickly, one year turned into two years, and his legendary locks are now cemented in PLNU history. Once it was long enough, he decided he might as well keep it long. Other than the bonus point of his wife liking the long hair, there isn’t a huge meaning behind the man bun in particular, Maakestad said.
“Just ease of preparation, I guess,” he said. “If I am going to wear it down, I usually have to wake up earlier to then shower and get ready. It takes more time.”
Yrineo Tapia, a psychology major and one of Maakestad’s students, also sports a man bun on a regular basis.
“It makes me feel special to have a professor who has the same hairstyle as me, especially since professor Maakestad seems to be a very easygoing and nice guy,” Tapia said.
He also values man buns for the same functionality purposes as Maakestad.
“Man buns are so practical. One moment I could be in class taking notes, and the next moment I could be at the gym going for a run,” Tapia said. “Man buns make the experience of having long hair easier.”
Other students respond to Maakestad’s signature hairstyle in more unique ways. He’s witnessed himself become a Halloween costume, with students purchasing clip-in buns on Amazon in hopes of replicating the hairdo. He once had a student write a poem about his man bun, showing their appreciation for poetry and Maakestad’s mane simultaneously.
“It was a poorly written poem, but it was so funny,” he said. “There’s not a normal response. They’re all odd things that people say or do.”
Tapia has a theory about the magic nature of man buns.
“Regarding guys with long hair, I feel like they are more creative. It could just be me, but at the very least they are different than most guys,” Tapia said. “I think that if a guy wants to be more creative he should grow his hair.”
Man buns broke into the social sphere in 2015, quickly becoming a classic hipster hairstyle. Since then, they seem to have faded back into comb overs, pompadours and undercuts. Despite the shift of popular hairdos, the professor doesn’t want to risk disrupting his classes by cutting off his now signature man bun. Maakestad also isn’t worried about following trends, and he plans on keeping the long hair around for the foreseeable future.
He said, “Until I start losing it, it’s staying.”