Unfashionably Late

General Ambrose Burnside. Better remembered for his facial hair than being a general. Not remembered for a mullet.

You should know something about mullets.

You know what I’m talking about. A mullet. It’s a haircut or a “hairstyle,” when the hair is cut short in the front and on the sides but left long in the back. Long can be anywhere from just brushing your shoulders to maybe a quarter down your back.

Wait. Let me show you.

A mullet. When people thought they looked good. And people watched that stupid show, "Full House."
This is definitely a mullet. He thinks he looks good.
It could be longer than mid-back, I guess, but that might actually be a different hairdo. This style is infamously worn by that county clerk in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses, which is part of her job by the way, because she disagreed with the law on who can marry who. Not to be mean, but her hair made me think that she might be behind the times in more than one way. Even though it’s men who usually sport the mullet.

Anyway, the thing you need to know about mullets?

They used to be considered high fashion. MacGyver, the character who could make a fission bomb with a Doublemint gum wrapper, a paper clip, some volatile salt that he scraped off of a barnacle then using his infamous Swiss Army knife as a flint to spark the nylon string (had to be a petroleum based string) from his windbreaker on fire to launch the bomblette. Yes, him. He wore a mullet and still got the ladies–despite being a notorious science nerd. Actually, he had mad swagger for a science nerd.

The Arnold’s boy wore one. I remember seeing mullet shots when his dad was the Govinator of Cal-ee-forn-eye-yay. I wondered if he chose that look for himself. Maybe his parents did, but I somehow couldn’t imagine Maria giving it the nod. He wore it in the days before the family was caught in the maelstrom of the old man’s tawdry scandal. I wonder if Arnold’s love child had a mullet, too. I didn’t wonder before now.

Back to the style.

In it’s day, it was quite the look. Chuck Norris rocked the short on top, tresses in back. Tennis star Andre Agassi had quite the fetching mullet, his locks tamed by a headband as he returned every serve for eight Grand Slams.

You need more? Google “mullet” and “Mel Gibson” (he was YOUNG!), “mullet” and “Charlie Sheen.” Try Brad Pitt, too. Don’t forget the famous mullets of David Bowie, Rod Stewart, Lionel Richie and Paul McCartney. Patrick Swayze and Kurt Russell had leading men mullets. I almost forgot George Clooney. Yes, Clooney, too.

Then there was this.

Wow. Just wow, bono with your mullet. And that frock coat.
In the name of love, Bono, what are you thinking?
The mullet came under disrepute over the years. To be honest, I don’t think it was in repute for very long. People still wear them occasionally, but it’s become a shorthand for being unfashionable and unsophisticated. In the movie Joe Dirt, the loser title character “is a janitor with a mullet hairdo, acid-washed jeans and a dream…” according to Sony Pictures. The mullet defines the anti-hero.

But here’s my point. You don’t want your wedding pictures to show you in a mullet. Wedding pics don’t go away. When the album gets pulled out, everyone laughs. At you. Your wife insists on hanging the portrait prominently despite your apparent lack of style because over the years she feels she never looked better. Your grandkids may only know you by your mullet from this forever photo from the old days. You’re stuck with that mullet. Forever. Like General Sideburns. Without the naming rights.

And you guys sporting those long, luxurious hipster beards that you treat with oils and a special tool set? Take heed. You’re next.

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