DARE TO ASK: The mullet: Hair-do or hair-don't?
By PHILLIP MILANO, The Times-Union
Do men and women who wear their hair in a mullet hairstyle actually think it
J. Masiulewicz, 41, male, Jacksonville
I had a mullet in junior high and thought it looked good. There are other
hairstyles just as bad, if not worse.
Are these mullet wearers in their early 40s? I think what happens is that
when someone is in their prime, like, say, their early 20s (1986, if you do the
math), they get a stylish haircut that looks good on them and then they just
stick with it. For the rest of their life!
Anna, 40, Nashville
I just spent some time in Spain and noticed that mullets are quite popular
among the young men. Muy feo (very ugly) is all I can say.
Teresa, 20, Macomb, Ill.
There's a woman where I work who has what is probably the same
unflattering-as-hell "big hair" hairstyle she had in grade school, as well as
the most amazingly ugly pair of high-waisted, narrow-legged, purple acid-washed
jeans. She thinks she looks good in both. She's wrong. Embracing change is not
necessarily a common human characteristic.
Ann, 38, Kansas City, Mo.
Mullets have become so popular - to mock - that the Web is packed with sites
such as mulletmadness.com, ratemymullet.com and plagueofthemullet.com.
Favored terms for variations include the Frolet (an Afro/mullet combo), the
Mulletino (a Latino mullet), the Skullet (long in back, bald on top) and our
favorite, the Chullet (a child's mullet).
The "party-in-back, business-in-front" style cropped up in the late '70s with
glam rock, but some say the name itself came from 19th-century fishermen who
grew long hair in back to keep warm - thus the term mullet.
Melanie Ash Peterson, senior art director with Supercuts, says mullets peaked
in the '80s, as pop and punk musicians adopted big and pouffy ones.
Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus latched onto an extreme mullet-style in the
'90s, then abandoned it, leaving other aficionados to twist in the wind. A
calmer version - collar-length in back - remains popular in salons today, she
"There's always a percentage of the population that doesn't care or doesn't
know [it's being ridiculed]. They just like it. And anyway, hair is a statement
you're making about yourself, and we shouldn't say one style is wrong."
The mullet is beloved among some Southerners and blue-collar workers - see
Joe Dirt - but it can pop up anywhere, she noted.
Why sport one? Often, it can be a sign someone doesn't know if he wants long
or short hair, Peterson said.
"The mullet is also low-maintenance, which can be a draw."
Her advice to those who must have the mullet: "Update it. Crop it shorter,
texturize it. Bring it to a more current look."
Phillip Milano, author of I Can't Believe You Asked That! (Perigee),
moderates cross-cultural dialogue at Y? The National Forum on People's
Differences. Visit www.yforum.com to submit questions and answers, or mail to
Phillip Milano, c/o The Florida Times-Union, P.O. Box 1949, Jacksonville, FL
32231. Include contact information.