I Can Understand That My Toddler’s Man Bun Confuses You


If such a thing as a three-year-old “bro” existed, I’ve got one. My oldest is a guy’s guy through and through. He clearly and unapologetically prefers his uncles to his aunts, his Pop to his Mimi, and my husband to me.


He likes to watch football and wrestle with anyone who will roughhouse with him. He likes to be sweaty and dirty, and thinks farts are funny. Little dude sometimes rocks a man bun, and it confuses the hell out of people. I am not offended, in fact, I understand.

The man bun is a polarizing topic.

It is justifiably, an all or nothing preference. In our case, yes, it is a preference, but it’s also a practicality. The fact that I personally, don’t mind a man bun on a guy, does not actually influence me giving my toddler one.

His sweatiness and over all desire to “see better”, are the catalysts for this particular up-do. Sure, I could cut his hair short enough so that there were no need for one, but everyone including me agrees that he’s got the most beautiful, lush, curly, hair and truly is the envy of almost all sixty-year-old men and many sixty-year-old women he comes in contact with.

“But why would you do this?”, my own father exclaims, with genuine bewilderment.

Only having girls, himself, and not having enough hair for a man bun currently, I can’t help but understand his confusion.

However, it got me thinking about why this was so offensive to him, my mother in law, and many others in their generation.

It struck me that during the time period in which he grew up, looking like a girl was only acceptable if you were a girl, and being called a girl if you were a boy was a true insult. In 2019, girls run the world, and genders sharing particular characteristics, or boys donning a hair style that is “traditionally feminine” doesn’t mean that makes an individual weaker, less capable, or less smart.

Ask any millennial, or any three-year-old.

Please do not get me wrong here. Giving my toddler a man-bun is not me intentionally giving him a feminine appearance or gender identity confusion.

At three-years old, he will tell you confidently that he is a boy. He has a fairly comprehensive understanding of the differences between a boy and girl, without much teaching or direction from me on this topic.

I’m not putting him in dresses, painting his fingernails or clipping bows in his hair. Although, no judgement on the way anyone else wants to parent. Not to mention, Leonardo DiCaprio, Orlando Bloom, and even The Biebs have rocked this controversial hairstyle, and no one seems more confident in their masculinity than that trio of hotties.

The truth is, with or without man buns, both of my boys get mistaken for girls fairly regularly.

And if I am being totally honest, I have made the same mistake with other children. When I politely respond that, “they are actually boys”, I am told that it was the cheeks, the curls, or the color of their shirts that caused the confusion.

Even though my in-laws may not love it, and even though the people at the park don’t understand it, he and I are both okay with it. Until he tells me that he wants his hair cut shorter, or that he no longer wants one, my toddler will wear his man bun proudly and confidently, really, the only way it can be worn.


  1. My son is 3 also and rocks a man bun also. He rarely gets mistaken for a girl anymore but looks more like Tarzan or bam bam. He loves when it swishes in his bath but hates it down when he’s eating. But when he went to the beach he fit right in with the surfers.


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