Leach said in his 1958 essay "Magical Hair" that long hair =
unrestrained sexuality; short hair or partially shaved hair = restricted
sexuality; and, close cropped hair = celibacy. Then in 1969, C.D. Hallpike
wrote an essay called "Social Hair", which said that long hair =
being outside of society, while short hair = re-entering society.
Today, you'll see the
mighty Mullet in the suburbs, in the heartlands, all over Latin America
and in eastern Europe. You won't see many Mullets in Beverly Hills.
And, they don't often show up on MTV!
Could it be that
flipping a baseball cap to the back (causing the brim to fall down your
neck) is a way of being a "Wanna-be Mullet" guy!?
can have an inner- mullet-craving, anytime, anywhere.
Even President Obama?
The Mullet is the
hairstyle of America's blue-collar or redneck underbelly.
The term "redneck" originally
referred to the burnt, red neck of those working in the farms and outdoors
a lot. Perhaps to help prevent this from happening, they grew their
hair longer on their necks? So, the style in our society is
associated with rough, outdoor work?
acolyte The Captain says, "The Mullet is as American as pick-ups with
rifle racks, tractor pulls, Wal-Mart, wet T-shirt contests, slapping your
girl upside the head with a frying pan and living in the
woods." If there is one man that edifies the Beastie Boys'
statement, I think that would be Duane Chapman aka "Dog, The Bounty
Hunter." (In no way am I implying that he slaps women! I
just mean that he is a symbol of the rough class.)
What is a
Mullet? It's a haircut that is short in the front and long in the
back. No one is really sure where it comes from. Some say the French
word mulet meaning "mule" is it's source. Lexicographer,
Jonathan Green says "Mullethead" is a slang for
"fool." (I'm assuming that our English slang of
"jackass" being his meaning for "fool?") But, the 1932
Webster's New International Dictionary defines "mullet" as a
verb meaning "to curl or dress the hair."
But the genius of the
Mullet is the fact that it lets its wearer become two people: a person who
from the front looks like a regular person, but from the back is an
untamed party animal or Viking warrior.
Scotty Bugatti once told his barber, "Spike the top but don't touch
the back." The result is a glorious example of the outer-borough
Italian-American Mullet known as the Guido.
This brings me to the
other names for The Mullet: the trans-am, the neck warmer, a short-long,
neck blanket and ape-drape.
So how did this mighty
Mullet hairstyle all begin?
Some say that it goes
back to the caveman. That is, if you look at some of the drawings people
have done of our Neanderthal ancestors. He's shown as dressed in
Tarzan-style suede loin cloth and sports a scraggly, scruffy style of
But the first real
Mullet is said to come from Egypt, even though it was a wig. The wig was
made of black wool or flax, woven or braided into plaits. This was
the wig of the elite. Poorer Egyptians wore felt wigs.
Later on, the
Assyrians grew their hair thick, bristly long. They also wore wigs. But,
the Assyrian (wig) Mullet was very ornamental. It was layered, with
straight hair that had knots of curls at the end.
With the Persian
Mullet, the top had tousled curls and the bottom fanned out across the
shoulders in long braided ringlets.
The Celtic Mullet was
pretty messy and to me looked a lot like the Neantherdal. They didn't tend
to their hair much. The Celtics thinned out the sides of their hair,
letting them droop down to the neck area. The Celtic Mullet today is seen
on bikers, wrestlers and heavy metal drummers. The Celtics also died their
hair green and blue. (Think of Mel Gibson in "Braveheart.")
Now the Greeks sort of
had Mullets by braiding their hair into long ringlets after they tucked it
behind their ears. But, when the Persian War ended in the 5th
Century, young Athenian men cut off their Mullets and consecrated them to
the gods. Thus, the short classical haircuts we see on those famous
statutes came into being! The Greeks also felt that long hair meant
disorder in your emotions. So the Greek women kept the Mullet alive by
wearing artificial curls on top and long braided hair drawn into a knot at
the the back (commonly dyed blonde).
The Romans were
different. Not only did they cut their own hair, but also the hair of the
males they captured. But once the Roman Empire fell, the Mullet made a
comeback with the Visgoths and the Vikings.