What’s the Deal With That Guy’s Fluffy Hair?

Not long ago, The Washington Post published a image essay entitled “Great moments in Bernie Sanders’s hair.” The gallery offered the Vermont senator’s minimal manlo in a variety of incarnations, incorporating “When it gracefully flowed in the Washington atmosphere” and “When it puffed itself out like a glorious mane.”

Theories abound on the manlo’s m.o.

“I don’t think you would find many bankers or legal professionals with those haircuts,” explained Anne Kreamer, the author of “Going Gray: What I Learned About Beauty, Sex, Job, Motherhood, Authenticity and THE REST THAT MATTERS.” “It’s a tag of individualism: ‘We are not of the normal rank and document.’ It marks considerable self confidence.”

Kristen M. Barber, an associate professor of sociology at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, sees evidence of class status. “There is a sign there that you are not worried about being judged,” explained Ms. Barber, the author of “Design Masculinity: Gender, Course and Inequality in the Men’s Grooming Industry.”

“These men have the privilege of not caring,” she said. “The idea is that they’re as well smart and busy. It almost becomes symbolic of how dedicated they are with their art and their technology.”

There’s likewise the thinly veiled issue of male vanity. “The airplane wings that are arriving off so many of these men help them give attention to that, instead of balding,” Ms. Kreamer explained. “I think it’s a willful feeling of camouflaging how old they are.”

Allan Peterkin, the author of “1000 Beards: A Cultural History of Facial Hair” and “1000 Mustaches: A Cultural History of the Mo,” suggested the word “side-over” to describe the phenomenon.

“Cynics might state they are doing a more sophisticated variation of the comb-over or perhaps the middle-aged ponytail, a.k.a. proceed bushy where you can, to counter what’s scant,” explained Mr. Peterkin, a professor of psychiatry and family group drugs at the University of Toronto.

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On the other hand, the manlo can indicate that the wearer has more than enough years under his belt to be past fretting about appearances. “It’s declaring, ‘I’ve attained my gray – or my white colored,’” Mr. Peterkin said.

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It may be well worth remarking that some of the most memorable follicular explosions are fictional. In the 19th century, the actor Joseph Jefferson portrayed Peter Pangloss in the humor “The Heir at Rules” with a coiffure that advised a horizontal volcanic eruption. Decades later on, Bozo the Clown built a similar impression in orangy-red.

And then there was the mad inventor Doc Brown, played by Christopher Lloyd, in the 1985 film “Back to the near future.” (He might well have taken his cue from the shaggy avatar Albert Einstein.)

Mr. Peterkin observed the deliberately cultivated and “performative” aspects of various a manlo, also suggesting that Graydon Carter possesses “sprayed his into submission.” Completely, Mr. Peterkin feels, “It’s clearly an affectation.”

Or could it be? It’s unlikely that the 19th-century recluse Langley Collyer, half of the Collyer Brothers, cared what the exterior world thought of his wild fringe. Nor did Larry Excellent of the Three Stooges, who reportedly got his trademark finger-in-the-socket do when he neglected to dry off after a rinse in his dressing-space sink.

“I’d call the design ‘benign neglect’ or even, to be more existential about it, ‘benign indifference,’” explained Alexis Levitin, a professor of English at the Talk about University of New York at Plattsburgh, who once had an accidental set of low-lying curls. “I am in the vanguard of this look completely in spite of myself. God made it grow, at least on the sides, and I didn’t interfere.”

The continuing future of the manlo is in no way clear. Younger, not quite gray outliers include the maker Brian Grazer and the article writer Malcolm Gladwell, and their methods seem to be variants on a theme from punk to puffy.

Who knows – the person bun bearer of today may grow to be the manlo embracer of tomorrow. After all, as gravity gets results its inexorable forces, there is nowhere to proceed but down.

“I think millennials are as well selfish never to look best for their trigger,” Mr. Peterkin said.

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