Mullet mania has had its day

Years ago, there was a time when bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Journey were marketable, when pick-up trucks were popular, when they were still making new episodes of Dukes of Hazzard, and when Budweiser beer could be drunk openly in public.

At this time, there was a great thing happening in society. The mullet, a hairstyle that would define a generation, was at its height.

The mullet was the definitive hairstyle of the 1970s and early 1980s. Its origins are disputed by modern hair historians, but it is likely to have been started by either Chuck Norris, God, or the Roman emperor Nero.

Of the three, Nero is the most likely candidate.

In the Roman writer Seutonius' biographies of the Roman emperors, Seutonius writes this of Nero's hair on his trip to Greece: "He was utterly shameless in the care of his person and in his dress, always having his hair arranged in tiers of curls, and during the trip to Greece also letting it grow long and hang down behind." Clearly, though Seutonius fails to understand the profound beauty of Nero's hair, this record establishes Nero, arguably the greatest leader of Roman history, as having had the first recorded mullet.

Regardless of the questions around its origins, the mullet spread like wildfire. People cut the front and sides of the hair short, leaving the back to grow gloriously long. The mullet became a great countercultural icon that would captivate millions worldwide.

In its heyday, millions of people, young or old, rich or poor, male or female, wore this majestic hairstyle with pride.

Many celebrities, such as George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Paul McCartney, and even experimental rock icon David Bowie have sported this venerable hairdo.

However, this was not enough.

Mullet sightings declined rapidly through the late 1980s and early 1990s, leaving only a few cities and rural areas in the southern United States as mullet havens. Trailer parks became similar to unofficial world heritage sites where tourists could witness the remains of a great civilisation.

The "rat's tail", a sort of thin, generally tied, bastardised mullet, has gained popularity among youth throughout New Zealand and Australia in recent times.

While some people, blindly nostalgic for the golden days of mullets, greet this as an opportunity for a renaissance, mullet purists insist that nothing but glorious, long, and healthy streams of hair, left untied, can qualify.

The future looks uncertain for the mullet. A few strongholds of this ancient hair culture survive, but will youths 50 years from now only be able to witness the glory of this hairdo in textbooks?

Can this ancient eighth wonder of the world be rejuvenated?

The suspense of this situation is overwhelming; only time will tell.


•By Gareth McMullen, Year 13, Logan Park High School

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