I don’t look very metal. My long hair is my one vanity, my only outward sign that I’m even remotely metal. Sure, we all know looks don’t define how metal you are, but my hair’s been part of my identity for ten years. That’s longer than most members last in Megadeth.
But there’s little more frustrating than handing off the tyke and finding she’s got a fistful of my flowing mane. I hold my kid primarily on my shoulder, and it’s been enough to make me want to tear the damn stuff out myself. Babies, man! It’s bad enough I’m turning into a total softie by accident. How do I keep my metallic edginess? HOW DO I KEEP MY HAIR??
The answer is style. Metal hairstyles. Seven of them, in fact. They’re metal as fuck, but now have a more functional use. Namely, helping me not lose my damn mind.
1. The Ponytail
The all-purpose appeal of the Ponytail is hard to beat. It’s classic, simple, and takes like five seconds to do. Whether you’re setting up your guitar rig or playing “keep away” with grabby tots, the Ponytail’s no-nonsense approach lets you focus on the task at hand.
Common applications: Burping, changing diapers, setting up, tearing down, audio engineering
2. The Bun
A good Bun is almost as easy to put together as the Ponytail (unless you’re me; see #6). Used correctly, the Bun lets you pull off an artsy, almost pretentious look that says, “Yeah, I’ve got long hair, but I don’t know you well enough to show it.”
Preferred genres: Progressive metal, Avant Garde, virtuoso gigs at Guitar Center w/ less than 50 people
3. The Pagan Braid
The Braid is your first-class ticket to Valhalla. Both neat and stylish, the Braid lets everyone know you like your mead thick and your metal loud. The added weight of the Braid lets you flip it easily to either side of your shoulder – perfect for scoring some Scandinavian style points while keeping baby’s hands off.
Best bands to listen to while Braided: Amon Amarth, Enslaved, Tyr, Ensiferum, Eluveitie
4. The Legolas
Unleash your inner elf with the Legolas! This elven metal hairstyle won’t give you dead-eye aim, far sight, or the ability to grind down staircases on a trashcan lid, but you will be able to say you now share at least one thing with Orlando Bloom. The Legolas leaves the majority of your hair down, but pulls the most kid-appealing strands located at the front of your scalp to the back – and away from your kid’s fingers.
Your Legolas-wearing playlist: Blind Guardian, Blind Guardian, Blind Guardian
5. The Topknot
The Topknot is the Bun’s distant cousin. How distant? About two inches (laugh track). This one takes a bit of concentration to center correctly, but with a little practice in front of the mirror, you should master it in no time. This style also helps you avoid bashing your baby in the face when you turn your head. How considerate!
Number of YouTube tutorials watched before realizing you’ve been doing the topknot all wrong: 1
6. The Lazy Bun AKA the Dangling Head Turd
For dads who just can’t be bothered to tie a real Bun, here’s the Lazy version. One part Ponytail, one part Bun, all parts Lazy As Fuck, the LB is a fully functional choice for the dad on the go. When no spouse is around to get it right and you’re left to do your best, it usually ends up looking like your worst. Which is just fine with Baby.
Days of the week I wear a Lazy Bun: 7
7. The Skullet
Nothing says “fuck it” more than the Skullet. Pioneered by Devin Townsend in the mid-2000s, this unarguably metal hairstyle is edgy to the point of frightening. Like, it isn’t enough you’re playing devil music; now you can look like him too. No need for any advanced grooming, just let nature take its course.
Your baby may already be rocking a pretty brutal Skullet. If you follow her lead, your Christmas photos will look like you had planned it all along.
Optimum age range for the Skullet: 0-100
Never Leave Home Without a Hair Tie
Being metal is a mindset, not a fashion statement. You don’t need long hair to prove your metalness to anyone, least of all me. Even so. I’ve been trained to associate long hair and metal like they had some kind of mutual symbiosis. I can see some dude wearing a Bun at Costco and wonder if he’s into Opeth. It’s a bias, yet one I can’t quite shake.
Maybe I’m just going through some growing pains. Like how learning the drums gradually morphed me from metal fan to metal musician, the transition from Mostly Metal Dad to Remotely Metal Dad is a transition I may not realize has happened until much later. Both will surely result in my daughter finding me just about the most uncool person on the planet.
Thing is, I’ve already given up on trying to be cool. That’s like a symptom of fatherhood, isn’t it? I won’t be cool if I have long hair now or fifteen years from now, when she’s complaining about how awful my taste in music is. So I guess I’ll stick around with it for a little while longer.
And if the time comes to make that final donation, well. Father knows best, right?
Did I miss one? Is there a totally metal hairstyle I’ve missed? Good god, let me know. My sanity depends on it.