Are We Living Through the Mullet’s Comeback?

It makes a strange amount of sense

2019 Mullet Cup champion Gauthier Istin poses for pictures during the European mullet haircut festival in Cheniers, central France, on September 4, 2021.

There was a moment in my youth when I decided to see what growing my hair long would look like. The answer, as I learned to my surprise, is that I ended up with a mullet — all of which makes a certain period of photographs from my life deeply painful to revisit. Things took a turn for the surreal when, by the time of early-00s Brooklyn, the mullet seemed to have its moment of cool again.

Before too long, mullets had lost their cultural cachet and returned to being more associated with hockey players than influential musicians. That doesn’t mean it’s not time for the mullet to be in season again, however. And we might be living through that season right now.

Writing at T Magazine, Megan Bradley made the case for the mullet’s resurgence — and argues convincingly that the hairstyle in question has a much deeper history than most people recognize. Bradley points to pop icons from David Bowie to Lil Nas X sporting mullets at various points, as well as a number of runway models sporting couture along with hairstyles that could be accurately described as “buisiness in the front, party in the back.”

Bradley also points to other historical figures whose haircuts fit this bill — including Nez Perce men in the 1800s, who ran afoul of Christian missionaries as a result of their hairstyle of choice. “[I]f an inability to categorize causes discomfort in some,” Bradley writes, “this sort of in-betweenness is just what some are looking for, especially at a time when gender and taste both feel, rightfully and crucially, so fluid.”

It’s a solidly made argument — the worthwhile reconsideration of a much-maligned haircut that no one saw coming.

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