Nowadays just turning on TV news or glancing at a newspaper headline is enough to make you want to hide in the broom closet or go work on a ferret ranch in Montenegro. The people need a new distraction. Something beyond rhinos in helmets and cleats and hourly updates on the Kardashians.
So I think it’s time to bring back the mullet, that "Business in front, party in the back" classic. Mike D of the Beastie Boys is generally credited with coining the term in his song “Mullet Head,” in which he described the haircut and the fashion-forward pioneers who wore it.(Apparently there was some French fashion dude in the early seventies called "Mollet" who invented it.)
Back in the day, celebrities like Billy Ray Cyrus, Hulk Hogan, Rod Stewart, and Patrick Swayze all rocked awesome mullets. And maybe the King of Mullets was pop crooner Michael Bolton, whose combination boy perm/mullet set a standard for the ages. But it wasn’t just guys. At one time Lady Mulleteers Cyndi Lauper, Rosanne Barr and even Ellen Degeneres all sported the look.
Sadly, the mullet has all but disappeared from the urban scene. But beyond the sidewalks, especially below the Mason/Dixon line, it lives on. As William Faulkner once said about the south in another context, “The past isn’t dead. It isn’t even past.” Down there one can still spot the occasional mullet at a duck hunt or tractor pull without too much trouble.
So like I was saying, I need something new to distract me from the world condition. The mullet seems like just the ticket, and I know exactly who should spearhead the campaign: today’s generation of young hipster dudes. Here’s why:
1. Hipster dudes are into retro. Their Victorian beards and moustaches, topknots, skinny ties, pegged pants and so forth all harken back to days of yore. For these guys this kind of trip in the Tonsorial Wayback Machine would be a natural. Of course, we’d have to train and sedate (not sure of the proper order) a new generation of barbers to master the nuances of the style.
2. Hipster dudes are into irony. And what could be more ironic than reviving the mullet—the most entertainingly awful fashion felony of the twentieth century?
It would only take a few strategically placed photos on Instagram of prominent hipster style-setters (whoever the heck they are) out for a night on the town while sporting mullets. In no time, dudes across the land would be getting buzz cuts or bangs in front and letting the back run wild like hipster versions of the Chia pet.
And when the plan reaches full flower a grateful nation will enjoy hordes of fashion-forward young gentlemen in mullets, staring at iPhones and sucking on eCigs and eggplant-raddichio lattes, marching across the land like hairy locusts in flannel shirts and Doc Martins, letting their freak flags fly and providing the unhip masses with much-need diversion.
I can’t wait. The National Council of Hipster Dudes needs to go into special session immediately to make this happen.
At least I hope they mullet over...
Charles Coe is author of two books of poetry: “All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents” and “Picnic on the Moon,” both published by Leapfrog Press. His poetry has appeared in a number of literary reviews and anthologies, including Poesis, The Mom Egg, Solstice Literary Review, and Urban Nature. His novella, "Spin Cycles," was published in November, 2014 by Gemma Media. He is the winner of a fellowship in poetry from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Charles’s poems have been set by a number of composers, including Beth Denisch, Julia Carey and Robert Moran. A short film based on his poem “Fortress” is currently in production by filmmaker Roberto Mighty. Charles is co-chair of the Boston Chapter of the National Writers Union, a labor union for freelance writers. He was selected by the Associates of the Boston Public Library as a “Boston Literary Light for 2014.” He is currently an artist fellow at the St. Botolph Club of Boston.