Sunday, February 11, 2007

Those Manly, Manly Mullets

I'm serious, y'all. Samson's manliness all existed in his hair, his long, sexy, shiny manly-man hair. (Which, okay. Probably a filthy rat's nest considering the lack of jojoba conditioners in Biblical times. Play along, okay? And shut your damn doubting piehole.) (Is there seriously a term for mouth more offensive yet humorous than "pie-hole"? Because its use implies that you eat pie on a regular basis. Who eats that much pie?)

Anway, so Samson was all tough and strong because of his hair. The 80's man, much like Samson, also wanted to show his testosterone-laced strength through his hair. But! He was no longer a construction worker or mechanic, who could tuck his long, luxurious 70's hair, probably cared for with a balsam shampoo and a creme rinse, into a ponytail when handling dangerous man-work equipment like axes or hydraulic things, and tuck it into the collar of his shirt. No, he needed to look businesslike. Clean-cut. Long hair was out, baby.

So what's a guy to do? His banker bosses want to see his ears. They want him to have bangs. But inside that suited body beats the heart of a rocker.

And so the mullet was born. Short on the top and sides, long in the back. The perfect mix of business and pleasure.

I had one, once. I was ten. I didn't know what it was called, but everyone I knew was getting one. So I got one. I hated it. It was puffy and I felt, frankly, like some creepy elementary-school butch lesbian. But that same haircut that made me feel too manly did the same for actual men. They exuded manly, like a scent peeking through the heavier smells of Aramis or Drakkar. (By the way, I still love Aramis.)

Yes, some men went too far. There was a trend in my high school for the guys to have the backs of their mullets permed. I ask you. There is nothing manly about getting a perm, not ever. I remember hearing a bunch of them discussing it one day. And one of them was a hockey player.

There were also the unfortunate souls for whom the short mullet front was a different (usually darker) color than the long back. The two tone-effect didn't really work in that instance.

But everybody had a mullet. Teachers had them. Every guy in my school had one. My brother had one. Various celebrities. More Random celebrities and sports stars (MacGyver!).Mel Gibson. (Curiously, Lethal Weapon-era photos of the mulleted Mel are exceedingly difficult to find online. Imdb doesn't have any. Conspiracy? You be the judge!)

Now, though, the mightly mullet has become passe. A mulleted man is the kind of man who drinks Busch beer out of a and wears super-tight stonewashed denim cut-off shorts beneath his faded Molly Hatchett t-shirt.

Sow hile we're mourning the passing of macho, and hoping for a resurgence, let's think of this. The mullet allowed men who be a little creative with their hair. Isn't it a shame they can't anymore? No moustaches, no muttonchops (yeah, I didn't get to them), no flowing hair in interesting shapes?

It's a sad time to be a man, my friends.


Bernita said...

So THAT'S what a "mullet" is!
I didn't know, and was afraid to ask.
I thought it was else.
Better than a wig.

Anonymous said...

LOL - better than a wig!
I somehow escaped the mullet fashion - it never hit France. I remember going back to the US and seeing my little cousins with long hair in the back and short hair in the front, and telling my aunt she forgot to cut a piece off, lol.
I saw a couple guys who looked good with it - this one book cover model had one. I guess it was the McGyver look taken a little further, no?

kis said...


The mullet. Bleh. I went through my entire junior high and high school life with a man's haircut--but I'm talking a near brush cut. Then, just to piss off all those mullet-boys, I grew it long in the front, haha. It was less than an inch long, except for my bangs which were down to my chin, a style that was later to become "skater hair".

I think the mullet was precisely what heralded the death of macho. Business in the front, party in the back, as if the man couldn't quite figure out where he fit into society. Was he a tough guy? Only during off hours. The rest of the time he had to look presentable in a suit. The mullet is the ultimate identity crisis. It just took a couple decades to figuratively castrate the mighty Samson, one sad mullet at a time. It's like he just couldn't bring himself to cut it all off at once, so he started at the front and worked his way back.

When it comes to men, I've always been an all or nothing kind of girl. I like a guy who can make a decision (and a commitment). Long hair or short. Figure out which kind you want, then get back to me.

As for mustaches and beards, I'm all for them, as long as a guy doesn't look like he has a family of opossums living in his facial hair. Whiskers are something that is (or should be) quintessentially male. And I don't know if men aren't allowed to be creative anymore? At least, not if my grown stepson is any indication. He spents more time and uses more product than I do. But, alas, once you hit a certain age (40-ish?), spikey hair and artfully styled quasi-bedhead just look silly. (But then, so would a mullet, even back in the eighties.)

Erik Ivan James said...

Never had a mullet. I have a beard and I need a haircut, though. Count?

Robyn said...

Forget Billy Ray Cyrus. The ultimate mullet man was John Stamos in the early years of Full House. Front view was pure Superman, complete with whimsical forelock; but in the back were bountiful black curls.

Today, though, the mullet is akin to the 80's perm, curled bangs, and teased-to-Nebraska feathered crown for women. Men used to dream of running their fingers through such hair, only they couldn't because of the industrial Aqua Net hairspray you had to use to keep it up.

And screw you. I LOVE pie.

littlebirdblue said...

Is there seriously a term for mouth more offensive yet humorous than "pie-hole"?

My dad (virile but not macho) is a West Indian Brit, and when we were kids, he used to tell us, "Shut yer gob!"

Anonymous said...

I think every guy I dated had a mullet. I'm just dying to post hubby's grade 10 school pic, but I think he'd kill me.

By the time we got married he'd grown it out and his waist length locks were just about the sexiest thing I'd ever seen in a tuxedo!

Anonymous said...

Never had a mullet. I thought they looked stupid even when they were popular.

I did get a jeri curl once, though. The story behind that one is pretty entertaining. -V95

Lola said...

The mullet did have a brief resurgence here in Britain not two or three years ago. It was a very scary time for all involved. I'm glad it's over.

As for bad words to describe one's mouth... I was once forwarded a pic of a woman who had had the word 'fuckhole' written on her cheek with an arrow pointing to her mouth. It's about the worst terminology I've ever heard for describing someone's er, pie-hole. :(

Lola xx

Isabella Snow said...

The mullet has never gone out of style here.

I hadn't realized some of those pics were mullets, though. I always think Billy Ray Cyrus when I think mullet - and that look always looked incredibly stupid to me.

But the Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson and MacGyver styles never bothered me. I always thought MacGyver looked pretty yummy...

When I was in high school I loved long hair on a man. Prefer short and clean cut now, though.

December Quinn said...

See, those are the mullets I mean, Isabella. The Mel Gibson mullets, not the Billy Ray ones.

December Quinn said...

Yep, that's what it is, Bernita.

Some of them could truly be awful, Sam. You're lucky you didn't go through the "bad mullet" patch. :-)

You know, you do have a point there, kis. I suppose he should pick a style and go with it. The hubby and I are eagerly waiting for longer hair to come back in style in general (for men, not teenage boys, that is.)

December Quinn said...

Having a beard and needing a haircut totally count, Erik.

Ah, yes, John Stamos had a heck of a big mullet, didn't he Robyn? And I used to think he was so, so cute (although I didn't watch Full House.) And sure, you love pie, but do you eat enough pie that one could actually call your mouth a pie-hole?

December Quinn said...

Oooh, yeah, lbl, "gob" is pretty bad too...but I think Lola's got us all beat with "fuckhole". Just hearing that makes me want a shower.

December Quinn said...

MMmm, Jenn, men in tuxedos...rowr.

Okay, V95, you cannot tell us you had a jeri-curl and not give us the whole story. No, no, no.

Colleen Gleason said...

But do you remember tails?

I remember all the guys (and some girls) growing tails. My first bf was a gorgeous redhead with wonderful curly hair, cut short around the ears and back, longer in front to show the curls...and he grew a long tail from the side of his back hair and used to braid it. Braided, it was about half the width of my pinky finger.

I thought it was terribly sexy. :-)

December Quinn said...

Oh, YES! I remember tails! Some of the guys at my school used to bleach theirs, remember that?

Yep, the height of sexiness. Oh so bad-boy.