February 22nd, 2020

The mullet making a comeback

By Lethbridge Herald on September 14, 2019.

Al Beeber
Lethbridge Herald
The mullet is back! For better or worse, that now-reviled hairstyle of the 1980s is having a renaissance.
Lest you forgot what a mullet is, just watch televised NASCAR races for any crowd shots. You’ll surely see one. Or go to a tractor pull. Mullets — short hair on the sides and top and long-flowing locks down the back. Yes, the mullet, which graced thousands of graduation and prom shots throughout the 1980s until grunge became a thing and dudes just quit combing their hair, is back.
I’m not sure how the mullet evolved but my hypothesis is sometime during the early 1970s kids got tired of their parents telling them to cut their hair and quit looking like hippies. So my theory is somewhere in California where kids are cooler, if we can judge by television, a bunch decided to be rebels like their older brothers during the 1960s, but not so much as to lose the keys to their parents’ station wagons on Friday night.
Rather than tell their folks to “peace out” or whatever and argue long hair is “groovy” and a statement to the “man,” they decided to keep their driving privileges intact and got some of their flowing locks shorn.
Parents, being so mesmerized and confused by their new microwave ovens, just took a quick glance, nodded in approval and tossed their sons the keys to the family Impala for date night so they could bomb main street listening to AM radio on a tinny two-speaker car radio.
As kids took advantage of this, they slowly began growing their hair longer while keeping the sides and top trimmed knowing full well mom and dad wouldn’t take a second glance because the 1970s had more important issues like the gas crisis and the fixation of teens with Farrah Fawcett, David Cassidy and the Bay City Rollers.
So by the time the 1980s rolled around and the disco era had been replaced by bands wearing lipstick and their sisters’ blouses, this new hairstyle had become commonplace.
The mullet was in vogue and guys everywhere wore them proudly.
Today, the mullet is associated with being a redneck, a term that has been unfairly vulgarized and demeaned by society which has misappropriated the term to be an insulting one.
And truthfully the term “redneck,” which in the 1800s referred to dirt-poor farmers whose necks were red from working under the hot sun, could never be applied to the wearers of mullets because their hair protects necks from being exposed to any sunlight or dirt.
The effect of this, should a mullet of a suntanned wearer ever be cut in fall, would present a grotesquely pail neck, contrasting with the deep-bronze skin of anyone who isn’t a mulleted gamer.
I have personal experience with this from tanning for two months on my deck after a neck fusion in the summer of 2002 while wearing a brace. Which made me wear a high-collared shirt when my neck was healed because it had turned the shade of a toilet bowl after being kept in the dark for so long.
Now according to various sources, the mullet — if it ever actually disappeared which is a matter of debate — is having a resurrection. It may in some cases not look like the traditional mullet, though.
Stylists are getting creative with mullets, modifying them so in some cases they are only mullet in spirit, sort of like much of today’s music that is billed as rock. Or country.
One reason for the revival that I’ve read is the renewed interest in 1980s culture, which has been sparked in part by a TV series many of us love called “Stranger Things.”
Watch an episode or two and you’ll see mullets. Think back to the days of your favourite ’80s MuchMusic or MTV videos and you’ll remember a mullet universe.
Right now as you read this, someone in your house or office may be sporting a mullet and you may not even be aware.
As you stare at your new phone wondering if it will fit in a pocket, a fellow customer at the store you’re in may be flaunting a mullet an aisle away while looking at buying a 60-inch high-definition TV so NASCAR looks even more realistic in the mullet-cave. The guy you lay a shoulder into during a non-contact hockey game this winter may be wearing a mullet, maybe even one of your own teammates will!
Mullets could be all around you and you never thought about it except to think “that guy needs a haircut” just like parents did in the 1960s and ’70s.
Reviled or revered, mullet mania is upon us. Excuse me while I let my hair blow in the breeze for a minute or two. Aaahhh.
CCMA AWARDS: If you caught the opening few minutes of the Canadian Country Music Awards on Sunday night, you would have seen Washboard Union thanking Ron Sakamoto for his management after the B.C. trio won group or duo of the year honours.
Sakamoto has often told me of his admiration for the band which has just shown Canada why our city promoter is such a huge fan.
I was pretty impressed with the job done by co-hosts Dallas Smith and American star Billy Ray Cyrus. The two definitely have a chemistry — an opinion I know others don’t share — and I hope the CCMA brings them back next year. Smith, who I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing, won male artist and entertainer of the year honours.
CONGRATULATIONS, LUKE DAVIS: A belated shout-out to Luke Davis of Subaru of Lethbridge for his Allied Arts Council business award that acknowledges “outstanding philanthropic contributions and thereby enhances the entire arts community,” in the words of the AAC.
Davis and his staff annually present the S.O.L.A.R Awards, which we’ve featured on City Seen, that showcases artistic creativity through an exhibition and competition at the dealership.
I’ve known the Davis family for decades since they bought the GMC Buick dealership here and the family are true community supporters.
I’ve reviewed a lot of their vehicles over the decades and the Davis family exemplifies why people need to shop locally whenever possible.
Local businesses like Subaru of Lethbridge support the community in which we all live, they are our neighbours and friends who like the rest of us have chosen to make a living here.
Shopping locally keeps money in our city and helps build our community. Luke is one of the nicest people I’ve ever met in the city auto industry and I’m truly proud of him for this honour.
Follow @albeebHerald on Twitter.

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