[Image via Instagram]
Not so long ago I was sat by a swimming pool, far, far away enjoying the company of a book, when something caught my eye. It was too close for comfort. A man had sat down on the plastic sun lounger next to me and was sporting the most heinous of top knots on his bonce. To add insult to injury he’d accessorised his man-bun with a Jeremy Clarkson book. His girlfriend looked on adoringly as he digested some pseudo right-wing politics, seemingly unaware of her human abyss of a boyfriend. I lay there laughing, pondering the state of the British male. How had this happened? And most importantly, did anyone have any scissors to hand to remove the ferret on his head?
Just where had he got this image and personality from - right wing politics and hipsterdom are unlikely bedfellows, I thought? What would his next move be? The Paul Gadd plait? The answer was easy, it lay in his smartphone, the great influencer of the British male.
Style for some has never been so transient, so susceptible to outside influence. Just count the number of bearded lads adorned with children’s scrawl on their arms. And what’s behind all of this? A desire to appear interesting and be liked by all 500 of their Instagram followers. It’s gone beyond a basic level of healthy vanity and developed into a weird narcissism. For some, fadiness has become the new handsome.
Take that Proudlock from Made in Chelsea, a man whose look seems to have been cobbled together from the problems pages of Monocle magazine and a Jos stick seller from Parsons Green. And the odd thing is this love child of Lee Trundle and Simon Le Bon is somehow deemed acceptable.
Hardly a new idea, the top knot, but never really a great one. Its re-emergence on the catwalk in recent years has proven fatal, for now where ever you are in Britain you’re never statistically less than 25 foot away from a man with one. Worrying. They’ve evolved as well, becoming sharper, more stylised and offensively small in some cases. And it’s not just hipsters who parade around sporting the top knot, it’s moved on to the pumped up gym boys and League 2 wannabees who too want to go around with the haircut equivalent of Nickelback on their heads.
With the top knot going well beyond its hipster beginnings and into the mainstream, surely the end is in sight? And its’ only mention will be in twenty years’ time in a three minute segment of a “Remember the Twenty-Tens?” programme presented by Frankie Cocozza.
Let’s consign the top-knot to the annals of history and recognise it as the nadir of men’s style, the moment when we some lads spent a bit too much time on the internet and decided Francis Rossi’s barnet was the one for them. Go and get yourself a proper haircut and get handsome again. Put down the smartphone and read a few books, watch some films and do some travelling and get your own style.