Yes, top-knots are ridiculous but banning them from campus is bizarre

A Mormon-run uni in America has deemed the man bun an ‘extreme hairstyle’


To most of us, top-knots are a greasy relic of a Britain we’re all doing our best to forget: oblivious Ed Miliband gurning himself into early retirement, Operation Yewtree, Tulisa Contostavlos as the nation’s sweetheart. But to the twitching boardroom squares of Idaho’s Brigham Young University, the lame but harmless man bun is a mortal threat – an “extreme hairstyle” that’s now the subject of a bizarre campus ban.

“It’s just something that deviates from the norm,” said the college’s ludicrously-titled “student honor administrator” Tyler Barton, explaining the terrified suits’ rationale for legislating against the lid.

Students now risk a disciplinary should they try to recapture the hirsute magic of Harry Styles and Joey Barton. They’re even encouraged to deploy snivelling prefect badge tactics and remind those aping David Beckham circa 2003 – who’ll surely now go down as the wettest martyrs in western history – their hair is now illegal.

While keeping people like this off campus may be tempting, there are bigger things to be worried about

While keeping people like this off campus may be tempting, there are bigger things to worry about

What’s the point? Brigham Young’s austere campus, run by the Mormon church, is hardly Animal House. With strict codes of conduct freeing it from frat boys hazing one another into early graves, it sounds like the imaginary Converse-and-short-back-and-sides uni of the prospectus made real – a place where everyone uses highlighters and budgets on a spreadsheet.

It’d be easy to paint the handful of students who turned up to their exams with so-called extreme hairstyles as brave prisoners of conscience taking a stand against a backward theocracy but they’re probably not. They’re just students, it’s just a haircut.

It’s not just universities who want to micromanage the behaviour of other adults – this is doubtless a dream come true for the ranks of sub-Buzzfeed nobodies still phoning in tired complaints about hipsters, frustrated Edwardian MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and probably your mum.

Somewhere, a nineteen-year-old boy – in between lonely re-runs of Top Gear and unanswered tweets to Tinie Tempah – is reading about a university where they’ve banned the man bun and nodding vigorously at their beloved Samsung in agreement.

“Too bloody right,” they think smugly to themselves. “Top-knots and skinny jeans and East London and beards are the worst things in the world and Freddie Mercury writes lyrics much better than Kanye West does and Marylin Monroe was the sexiest woman who ever lived.”

They start a petition to demand the Prime Minister makes it illegal in the UK. The Metro website screams “SOMEONE STARTED A HILARIOUS PETITION TO MAKE TOP-KNOTS ILLEGAL AND TWITTER LOST IT”.

Quickening, the feedback loop of shit whirs into life. Owen Jones says top-knots are all young people have left in Tory Britain. Katie Hopkins suggests mass sterilisations. Someone finds a picture of pig-era David Cameron with a top-knot and photoshops it onto a picture of Jeremy Corbyn on an apartheid march. Everyone retweets it before they forget about top-knots and move on to wondering aloud why restaurants serve such small portions of chips nowadays.

Who even cares? Yes, that man bun probably looks stupid. But it’s nothing more than that, and it’s no more worthy of a moral panic than a pair of trainers. Let people have their hair however they like. Even if you’re not running a university, you have more important things to worry about.