I'm told mullets are making a comeback.
The haircut, not the fish.
Also know colloquially as the Tupelo Turtleneck, the mullet is said to be back in style among people who apparently don't have mirrors or self-esteem.
This abomination of a haircut, short on the sides and long in the back, was popularized in the late 1980s and named by the Beastie Boys in their song "Mullethead," which name-checks such mullet-rocking celebs as Billy Ray Cyrus and Kenny G. (It was actually Miley Ray Cyrus, Billy Ray's daughter, who began sporting the cut again in 2020.)
If you live long enough, you'll see styles come and go. But this is one hairstyle I thought had been banished to the dustbin of history. It's almost inconceivable to me that mullets are coming back.
If you are drawing a blank, visualize Patrick Swayze in "Dirty Dancing" or late-1980s Andre Agassi — before he went bald.
The only thing good about the mullet, itself a metaphor, is that it provides a canvas for more funny names.
For example: The Biloxi Beaver Tale. The Wartburg Water Slide. The Backwards Beard. Natchez Neck Moss.
I could go on
The Pawleys Island Ponytail.
The Carolina Collar Cuddler.
The Tennessee Tuxedo Tail.
I was in a school car line the other day, waiting to pick up my 14-year-old son, when a middle-age friend pulled up beside me in a pickup truck.
Halfway through our chat, he gathered a fist-full of hair draping the back of his neck and asked, "How do you like my mullet?"
There is only one satisfactory answer to the question of "How do you like my mullet?"
"You mean your Mississippi Mud Flap?" I said.
"Kentucky Waterfall," he corrected me dryly.
Much of the mullet revival may be just the result of cocooning during COVID-19.
People who try to trim their own hair tend to concentrate on what they can see in a mirror. Consequently, home haircuts tend to follow the mullet model, clipped in the front, untamed in the back.
With younger men, I don't see too many mullets; but I do see a lot of mop-tops morphing into Fabio-style hairdos, in which long hair in the front is flung back over the crown of the head where it joins a confluence of hair strands to form a mighty river of backward-flowing locks.
Our 14-year-old son is currently in the awkward transition between a Beetles cut and a Fabio 'do. While he waits for his bangs to grow sufficiently enough to push back, he is dealing with a shock of hair that descends to the bridge of his nose. Flicking it back constantly with a jerk of his head bothers me way more than it does him, apparently.
I've tried coaxing him to the styling salon "to get it shaped up." But he interprets this as a way to subvert his personality.
The other day, right out of the shower, he pushed his hair back and it actually stayed that way for a few minutes.
"Your hair actually looks really good," I said.
Knowing a backwards compliment when he heard one, he wrinkled his nose.
The truth is, a person's hair should look exactly as they please. Even if it looks like a Roman helmet covered with chinchilla fur.
Email Mark Kennedy at firstname.lastname@example.org.