Mullets might be maligned, but my teenage daughter’s haircut is bringing people together | Suzy Freeman Greene | Fashion

Posted on


“I don’t do mullets,” my hairdresser declared when I told her my 14-year-old daughter Eve wanted one.

She pointed across the salon to Britney, who looked about 20 and liked death metal. “Britney will do it,” she said.

Britney sized up my daughter’s strategically torn jeans, pale face and long, strawberry-blonde hair. “I’ll give you a filthy mullet,” she said.

Eve and I had scrolled through photos online. We’d savoured the classics – Billy Ray Cyrus, Warwick Capper, Andre Agassi – and noted some surprisingly stylish mullet wearers (Scarlett Johansson, Rihanna). She’d printed out a picture of one she liked. In technical terms, it had lots of party at the back but a fair bit of business on top too.

I didn’t stay to watch the cut but received photo updates on my phone: front, back and side shots, a mound of red-gold hair on the pink salon floor. I had to admit it looked pretty good. It reminded me of early Bowie, the top tufts sprouting smoothly above knife-straight tails.

In person, the mullet looked tougher than I’d imagined. Taking in the cropped sides and flowing rear, I had flashbacks to louche boys in tight jeans hanging at my train station in the 80s and the time my sister cut her hair brutally short, when she was into Lobby Loyde and wearing shoes with soles made from old car tyres.

ALSO READ :  Busy Philipps's Style 2019 | POPSUGAR Fashion
David Bowie



David Bowie with his distinctive mullet in 1973. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

But over the next week or two it became clear that the mullet was actually bringing people together. Just as owning a dog can break down the barriers between strangers, so too could a haircut.

“Sick mullet bro,” a builder shouted as Eve made her way home from school. One boy ran out of class to compliment her as she walked past the window. Kids asked for selfies. A guy in a ute was moved to stop his car and request a photo.

At the train station, she reported, it seemed to attract “old men with no teeth” who liked reminiscing about their own mullets back in the day.

At the Melbourne Museum, a man at the counter said, “Nice mullet, but mine was better in the 80s.” (Apparently, he’d dyed the tips). At the opening night of a musical at the Comedy Theatre a woman in the audience called out, “I just LOVE your mullet.”

Increasingly, it felt like the mullet was an entity in its own right – sort of like a pet hamster, only lazier. Each morning, depending on how the owner had slept, it looked slightly different: curlier tails or flatter on top or tufts swirling upwards a la Steve from Stranger Things. I reckon Stranger Things has done wonders for the mullet. Billy’s is a shaggy, vintage classic: curly on top, with tails like question marks. Steve’s, circa series two, is feathery and top-heavy with a wayward cowlick.

Billy in Stranger Things.



Billy (Dacre Kayd Montgomery-Harvey) and his mullet, in Stranger Things. Photograph: Netflix

The Oxford English Dictionary traces the origin of the term “mullet” to the 1994 Beastie Boys song Mullet Head. But if that’s true, what were we calling this haircut in the 70s and 80s? The website History.com says mullets date back to Homeric times, even if they weren’t named thus. In the Iliad, Homer refers to a group of spearmen called the Abantes who wore “their forelocks cropped, hair grown long at the back”.

Mullet definitions on Urban Dictionary reek of snobbery: “It is the sign of a redneck,” writes one author. “There are several specimens to be found captive in trailer parks,” writes another. But in the years since they were written, the mullet has been embraced by hipsters, especially in the music scene. Kids love it, maybe for the sheer “look at me” bravura.

Much of this current mullet love is fairly blokey. At Australia’s first mullet festival last year, in a mining town west of Newcastle, there was reportedly only one entrant in the “ladies mullet” contest. I emailed the organisers to ask how women fared this year. Apparently the ladies won three categories.

Still, I’ve seen comparatively few girls rocking mullets. One of them is Amy Taylor, lead singer of Melbourne punk band Amyl and the Sniffers. “I think [mullets] look tough and they look good,” Taylor, who sports a kick-arse platinum blonde mullet, said in an interview. The band, whose sound and look are a throwback to the pub-rock scene circa 1979 (VB T-shirts, mullets, tight jeans) recently featured in a Gucci ad campaign, which shows how high and low tastes mash up today.

Until now, I’ve never been a huge mullet fan, but I’ve seen how a hairstyle can transform a person’s interactions with the world. The mullet is a nostalgia-fest, a bro-magnet. Some may wear it with an ironic tinge but the level of affection for this working-class haircut is undeniable.



Source link

Recommended for you