We’re Living in the Golden Era of Male Hair

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"A lot of times people misunderstand me as a woman," says photographer Wataru Shimosato.Photo: Bobby Doherty

Probably the most exciting American soccer player right now is a guy named Gyasi Zardes — a 24-year-old who hasn’t graduated from MLS to Europe and doesn’t really have a natural position, but who makes his never-in-the-right-place-ness seem like a quicksilver quality that, if you squint, looks like a slippery, hard-to-defend advantage. You don’t have to squint to see him, though, because he dyed a conspicuous gold stripe into his hair that spans from the brow to his neck. Even better, it’s not just some post-Beckham L.A. Galaxy branding exercise: Zardes went half-blond for his aging grandparents so they can pick him out on the field from the stands or on a tiny TV. It used to be that men making screaming statements with their hair seemed a little showboaty — so showboaty it rarely happened. In the last year or so, all bets are off, and it’s gotten to be a kind of comic arms race, with half-shaved Will Forte probably being the most ridiculous. But it’s hard not to be taken with the confidence of Zardes’s stripe, Jared Leto’s now-infamous man-bun, or Abel Tesfaye of the Weeknd’s explosive dreadlocks — or the cocky men (and, maybe more impressive, boys) ahead. —David Wallace-Wells

Photographs by Bobby Doherty. Styling by Rebecca Ramsey. Hair by Shalom. Interviews by Catie L’Heureux.

*A version of this article appears in the January 25, 2016 issue of New York Magazine.