History of the Mullet

Image of man with historic mullet hairstyle
The classic mullet is part of history.

The history of the mullet is rather short. A mullet is a hairstyle in which the hair is shorter in the front and sides and longer in the back. In modern times, mullets were known to be popular during the 1980s when actors like David Hasselhoff sported a mullet.

History of the Mullet and the Great Sphinx

According to The Plague of the Mullet the Great Sphinx might just be wearing a mullet. By looking closely and using your imagination, you can see the shorter sides and the long hair at the back of the head of the Great Sphinx. It is difficult to prove that the Sphinx is truly wearing, a mullet, however. The hair could simply be all one length and combed back. The Sphinx could also be sporting a head wrap that is hanging loose in the back. The Plague of the Mullet, however, counts the Sphinx as wearing one of the first reported mullets, an interesting and unique observation.

Where Did the Mullet Style Come From?

It is unlikely that the Sphinx is indeed wearing the mullet hairstyle that is known in modern times as business in the front and party in the back. Note that the actual name, mullet also refers to a fish that is popular to eat in the Southern states of the United States. List After List states the name mullet for the hairstyle was derived from a time in the 19th Century "when fishermen wore their hair long in the back to keep warm." Other sources state that the mullet hairstyle is said to have been created around the 19th century. There is some discrepancy in the mullet's history, particularly in determining when the word "mullet" was associated with the hairstyle. Before the word mullet was coined, the hairstyle was, described as a "crew cut, with hair that was of a longer length on the back."

In any case, the style apparently became popular in the 1980s when celebrities like David Hasselhoff wore the mullet. Other celebrities who wore a mullet include: David Bowie, Michael Bolton, Joan Jett, and Billy Ray Cyrus. Not only did people wear their hair with short tapered sides and long backs starting from the middle or head, some people wore their hair short all over, with a small piece of hair, called a tail, hanging in the back. The mullet had the look of a clean cut, with an added drama in the back in the form of longer hair. It was an acceptable look in most offices, and men who may not have worn long hair before the style became popular were more likely to wear a mullet.

Joke of the Mullet

By the mid to late 1990s the mullet lost its appeal quickly. The style became a joke, and people who wore a mullet were said to have made a serious fashion mistake. Hair should be layered, chunked, or tapered, and the mullet simply looked like two styles, long and short, that didn't work well together. Along with big hair, the mullet style became a butt of jokes, mocked when viewed in old 1980s music videos and yearbooks from that era. Although a variation of the mullet is likely to make a comeback, because older styles are usually incorporated into new looks, the old 1980s version may be gone for good due to the nerdy stigma attached to the style. The history of the mullet ranges from a period in time when it was a sought after style to a style that was widely ridiculed and today should be largely avoided.

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History of the Mullet