Editor’s note: Names, including the author’s, have been changed to protect identities due to the personal nature of this column.
After spending some time in Boston and New York City this winter, I couldn’t help but notice two new dating terms for men that seemed to be popping up everywhere: “lumber sexual” and “man bun.” The era of the well-groomed metrosexual man is coming to an end, it seems, and the new hot look is lumber sexual. Put simply, Vermont woodchucks, you’re styling!
A lumber sexual is a man that is burly, wears flannel and jeans and has an impressive, unkempt beard. (When citified, the flannel is expensive, the jeans are tight and the unkempt beard actually takes quite a bit of work to keep it just right.) Compared to a metrosexual, who is clean, pretty and well-groomed, the lumber sexual spends the same amount of money but looks filthy. Unfortunately, you won’t find this lumber sexual deep in the Vermont woods with an axe chopping down trees—instead, he carries his iPad and sits in a coffee shop.
The second term, “man bun,” refers to the new style of men with long hair who wear it up in a bun. This trend is traced back to (or blamed on) celebrities such as Brad Pitt, Jared Leto and David Beckham, who wear it well. This is not to be confused with a Sikh topknot (high on the head) or a lazy musician’s ponytail (very low.) The man bun is halfway between the two. Hair is pulled straight back from the forehead and tied in a little bun. (Combine the two trends and you have “lumber buns?” That term has not caught on…yet!)
The take-away, guys, is: short hair is out and so is “clean.”
These new trends can be see in Killington, Rutland and Woodstock, too, as women are finding the style more attractive and sexy than men with short haircut and clean-shaven, and I have to say, I’m one of them.
The funny thing about the lumber sexual look is that Vermonters have been rocking it for years, authentically. Vermont men are the real deal, legit. Not only have they have been wearing Vermont flannel for years, many Vermont men have broad shoulders, a beard to keep them warm in the winter months, natural muscles, and are in shape without going to the gym as a result of regular outdoor activity. The Vermont lumber sexual knows how to use his hands and tools, and might actually be using his axe to chop down trees in the woods.
Yes, I like this look, but the beard is somewhat problematic. After a weekend of partying, I’m sure many women are walking around with a rash on their faces Monday morning from locking lips all night with their lumber sexual!
This new look is very intriguing to me and, wanting to know more, I decided to go on a ski date with one. In addition to this being an appropriate venue for the outdoorsman, ski dates are my new favorite way to meet someone. Minimally, I get to enjoy skiing, and getting to know each other on the chairlift is so much better than at a bar. Plus, there are opportunities for breaks: In the gondola you are usually chatting with the other people and skiing is solitary most of the time. Casual conversation is easy on the chairlift or during a run. I also like to ski fast, so he has to catch up (I liked feel like I’m being chased).
On this particular date we went up to the Killington Peak lounge to grab coffee and warm up. Icicles were forming on his matted beard. Whenever I am on a date I usually text with friends so they know I am alive and how the date is going, but I do this very discreetly. He did not. Once in the lodge, he took out his phone and started checking his emails or texting.
I find this is not only rude, but it illustrates a lack of interest. So I decided to go to the restroom so I could check my phone as well. While in the bathroom I sent out a group text to all who were inquiring about the date. It read: “The date was going great until he took out his phone and started to ignore me. I am stuck on top of the peak, not sure whether to bail or wait it out. Right now in the bathroom contemplating.”
I walked back the table shortly thereafter and he had a smirk on his face. I noticed his phone had been put away. I then realized I had accidentally texted him that message instead of my friends!
I was mortified.
He did like the part where I said the date was going great. In the end, I have to say, it was probably the best thing I could have done. The rest of the date he was very attentive, “into” me, didn’t check his phone again and we had a good laugh over it. I think I like lumber sexuals!