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You don’t need me to tell you that many white men look like Nazis right now. It isn’t because they are Nazis, although evidently more and more are; it’s because they currently have the preferred haircut of history’s worst fascist dictator. “Does this haircut make me look like a Nazi?” the Washington Post asked in November. “This Wildly Popular Haircut Has a Serious Neo-Nazi Problem,” Esquire confirmed. Indeed, the New York Times told you about the hipster Hitler haircut way back in 2011, and, considering the source, it probably means it was bubbling up two or three years before then.
Call it the undercut, the pompadour, the high-and-tight, or the straight-up Hitler Youth, but the shaved sides/long-on-top haircut is now so widespread that barbers are giving it to men without said men even asking for it. (I say this with only anecdotal evidence, but it stands.)
It is the haircut of Famous Chrises, of your friends’ perfectly pleasant boyfriends, of Tinder dates both promising and not, of coworkers, of cool teens, of clueless dads. What was once the province of post-lumbersexual Brooklynites is now your little brother’s eighth grade back-to-school ‘do. And if white supremacists’ deep love for the style doesn’t convince you to try literally any other haircut, perhaps this will.
Because politics aside, this haircut is stale as fuck. It’s basic. It’s been the de facto dude haircut for nearly a decade now. Can you imagine if all women were wearing the exact same haircut for a decade? Industries would collapse! All the beauty writers would have to be fired! The world would descend into chaos!
But there is good news, and that is this: There is another haircut. A haircut that dominated the tenure of our last Republican president, then disappeared into the cultural abyss when One Direction reached sexual maturity. In other words, it is precisely time for its return.
I am referring, of course, to Cute Boy Flop. Unlike Hot Guy Hitler Hair, which concentrates the length at the top of the head, the Cute Boy Flop lets hair grow long from all sides so that eventually it swoops over to whichever side it chooses, partially covering one eyebrow, or, if the boy is particularly cute and/or sad, a whole eye.
It should be noted that Cute Boy Flop excludes hairstyles that have been flatironed so aggressively that they manifest in a sort of glossy helmet affixed to the wearer’s head. It is not the look of MySpace emos (no offense) or “Baby”-era Justin Bieber or the hordes of Vine stars–turned–neighborhood terrorizers that followed. Cute Boy Flop is a more natural look best achieved by simply waiting a few months and forgetting to make a hair appointment.
Needless to say, the Cute Boy Flop is not the only Cute Boy haircut, and of course not every Cute Boy’s hair can achieve a Flop. But there was an era in which Cute Boy Flop played a very special, very significant role in signifying that a boy was a number of good things: smart, sensitive, and the owner of multiple Death Cab for Cutie CDs (remember, in this scenario we are in 2004).
Here is Cute Boy Andrew McMahon of Something Corporate playing the extremely cute song “I Woke Up In a Car” and modeling an excellent Cute Boy Flop:
As this video proves, Cute Boy Flops pair well with baggy khaki pants (which, related, should also make a comeback), Adidas Sambas, and T-shirts that imply you participated in a lesser high school sport such as soccer or track.
While Hot Guy Hitler Hair makes every man look eerily alike, Cute Boy Flops enhance the wearer’s individuality in a few ways. First, no two flops flop in the exact same way. Second, having a giant swath of hair directly in one’s line of sight requires boys to find adorable and idiosyncratic ways to move it out of the way, preferably just after making an assist in a soccer game.
It is time. Grow out your Hitler Hair and bring back the Cute Boy Flop. White men may never be completely free from the lingering suspicion that they might, theoretically, be Nazis. But if you could add just one subtle visual signifier that suggests maybe you aren’t, why wouldn’t you?