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Men with abounding duster accept been in the account lately, amid Jared Leto’s Oscar win and Jon Snow’s GQ cover. Additionally, we accept been told of the acceleration of the man bun and the capital flop. But little is accustomed about the long-hair community, a alive online arrangement of men “with beard continued abundant to abatement aloft the shoulders.” Longhairs accept abundant tips on how to accumulate your locks healthy, but they additionally accord with bent and corruption as they analysis the edges of acceptable gender roles. I batten with Jason Bartlett, a adjudicator of a avant-garde long-hair website, about dating, religion, and award his own mane’s “terminal length.”
Slate: I didn’t apperceive there was a long-hair association afore award the Men’s Continued Beard Hyperboard.
Jason Bartlett: Yes, it’s a absolute community. I mean, if I’m out at a concert and I see addition longhair, we accord anniversary added a little arch nod. The armpit itself started in 1996, and now we articulation to a lot of long-hair groups geared against both men and women.
I came to MLHH in 1999. I had abbreviate beard then, because I was allotment of a adoration [Jehovah’s Witnesses] that activated that. But my affiliation [to the Witnesses] was fading. Aback I got on the Internet, one of the aboriginal things I did was blazon in “men’s continued hair.” Of course, in adjustment to be a MLHH moderator, you accept to already accept continued hair. I didn’t advance in the bureaucracy until I larboard my adoration for good, in 2005.
Slate: Are the beard restrictions allotment of the acumen you left?
Bartlett: It was complicated.
Slate: What fabricated you appetite to become a longhair?
Bartlett: What we accept activate is that longhairs abatement into two altered groups. One accumulation is innate—men who’ve accustomed they capital to abound their beard continued aback they were 6 or 7. It’s in them and a allotment of them. For me, it’s one of my ancient recollections. For added men, it’s added like a appearance account that comes and goes—for instance if they appetite to accompany a bedrock band.
My botheration was that I had parents who weren’t admiring of the idea, and I couldn’t accept best a worse ability to be built-in into. The Witnesses don’t acquiesce beards, goatees, or continued beard on men. But I acquainted like it was a allotment of me, that this was how I should look. I started to advance the limits, growing it continued on top and seeing what I could get abroad with. If I hadn’t been aloft a Witness, I would absolutely accept exhausted my beard continued as a adolescent boy.
Slate: What do you anticipate your continued beard expresses about you?
Bartlett: Primarily that it’s a allotment of me. I couldn’t affliction beneath if it goes in and out of style, and I don’t affliction what bodies think. But I do like the connotations of continued hair. We’re individualists; we go to the exhausted of our own drum. We accept a nonherd mentality. But the connotations aren’t why I do it. I’m not aggravating to arresting anything.
Slate: How do bodies acknowledge to your hair?
Bartlett: Well, I sometimes get addled in airports. Certain bodies may draw abstracts about me based on my hair. But I anticipate attitudes accept absolutely changed, alike from 20 years ago. I access bodies after trepidation. On the added hand, I started my job aback I had abbreviate hair, and I haven’t been in the job bazaar to see how that would be. It’s a affair that comes up a lot on the bulletin board: I charge to acquisition a job. What are my options? Bodies appear aback with success stories, adage their administration never alike mentioned their hair, that they didn’t feel it was an impediment.
Slate: Do you get absolute responses too?
Bartlett: Oh, sure. Stuff like, “Hey, air-conditioned hair.” In the dating world, I was actual accessible about the actuality that I had continued hair, and I had no botheration award women who were admiring to it. I would never cut my beard for a woman. On my aboriginal date with the woman who became my wife, she commented on how abundant she admired my hair.
Slate: Do you adjudicator guys with abbreviate hair?
Bartlett: No. That is not at all what we’re about. Sometimes it’s just: OK, this man has abbreviate hair. Does he appetite to accept abbreviate hair? Or is he afraid? If he’s not afraid, if accepting abbreviate beard is who he is, again we account that. But there is a allotment of men out there who would apparently accept best beard if they didn’t abhorrence the repercussions.
Slate: Is there a bureaucracy based on beard breadth at MLHH?
Bartlett: You’re absolutely allotment of the association the additional you activate the process. But, yes, I would say the pillars, the guys we accede supermembers, are abnormally long. We’ve got a few men with knee-length hair. Best men and women can’t do that genetically. So aback the ones who can column pictures and action advice, they’re accustomed added honor. And those with the best amazing breadth and array combined, we accord them superstar status.
Part of this is practical. I’m a cyclist, and I accept to acquisition means to accord with the accident that causes. Being alive with knee-length hair, I can’t imagine. Aback I aboriginal started, I was naïve about terminal length, which is the accustomed absolute of how continued your beard can grow. Around 2008, my beard started slowing down. The best I can get it to is my waist, and I usually cut a few inches aloft that, because contrarily the ends get ratty. I accept accomplished hair. Men with coarser beard accept a bigger adventitious of accepting it attending nice at the ends.
Slate: What articles do you use?
Bartlett: I try to go ablaze on the shampoo, authoritative abiding it doesn’t run bottomward the breadth of the hair, because that can be damaging. I am added focused on conditioners: My beard does best with alternating conditioners. I abnormally like Suave Coconut—Suave acclimated to accept a accomplished agglomeration of abundant options, but they’ve cut their band down. Instead of leave-in conditioner, abounding of us use assorted oils. Apply a little attic oil or Ojon oil to clammy hair, and it does wonders. I never use a comb, but I’ll use a boar-bristle besom on my attic and on bottomward to my neckline. For beneath my neckline, I aloof use my hands, because untangling beard with your fingers is beneath damaging, abnormally aback the beard is wet.
I abrasion a complect every day. My beard works able-bodied in a braid, and I approved to apprentice braiding as anon as possible. I consistently acquainted it was my style. But I started with a ponytail at first. Longhairs go through an awkward appearance aback they’re growing their beard out—it’s accepting best but it’s not yet continued abundant to tie back. You’ve array of “made it” already you can tie it back. A lot of guys get beat during that stage. In our vernacular, it took me about 18 months to “arrive.”
Slate: What do you anticipate of Jared Leto?
Bartlett: I’m actual blessed about Jared Leto. We are all for continued beard on men acceptable added popular. It makes it easier for us, abnormally aback we’re attractive for work, aggravating to be accepted. I anticipate that aback added men see actual accessible abstracts growing their beard out, the abstraction gets buried in their heads.
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