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The mullet: what Benjamin Franklin, Ellen Degeneres, and David Bowie have in common

Previously known as the “Hun Cut”

Brent, AFTER: Short sides, long back. Same as the Assyrians!
Brent, AFTER: Short sides, long back. Same as the Assyrians!

Something’s different! I’m off to my usual rendezvous to complete the waking process: coffee on the street at the BBC (Bay Books Cafe), with either Brent or Jose, the baristas. Then sit down to be shocked awake by yellow tables and umbrellas flaring in the morning sun.

Except, yeah: something’s different. Oh wow. It’s Brent. Good grief. He has cut half his hair off. “Mullet,” he says. “Call it my ‘faux mo.’ False Mohawk. See? Short on the sides. Way long behind. That’s what a mullet haircut is: ‘Business in front, party in the back, good time all round!’”

It’s the shaved sides you notice most, plus the long back. “This cut is for teens up to mid-30’s. Older? No. You’ve got to have hair in the first place.”

Have to admit, now I think about it, I’ve seen this before. Trying to remember. Ah yes! Hulk Hogan, and hey, Ellen Degeneres, right? And, if you’re a true mulleteer, you’ve got to include Benjamin Franklin. “Just check your $100 note,” says Brent. “He’s got a mullet hairstyle! I got my friend Eric Vega to do this for me. I paid him $50 plus tip. And that’s not bad. Prices are going up since covid, and especially since the opening downtown, they’re paying $80-100. Eric is raising his prices and he’s still getting slammed!”

Brent: The BEFORE shot.

But Brent says haircuts never actually stopped happening during the pandemic. “I’ve had friends who kept going, and charging $150 per haircut. And that was justified: because they were risking their lives, before the vaccines came out. Now the pressure’s even more, because people are starting to want to socialize seriously for the first time. They look in the mirror and go ‘Man! I’ve let myself slip this last year!’”

But why a mullet? A haircut named after a fish? Not exactly. Henri Mollet, a French fashion guru, is supposed to have created the style in the early ‘70s. The Beastie Boys had a mullet-mentioning song soon after. Way before that, it was also known as the “Hun Cut,” because that’s how delinquent Roman kids would wear their hair: like their terrifying enemies, the Huns, just to annoy their parents. And way before them, the Hittites, the Assyrians and the Egyptians all wore the style, too — partly to keep hair out of their eyes in battle. Fast-forward to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust mane, and pretty soon Paul McCartney and half of show biz were wearing their hair that way.

“I think it’s coming back,” says Manny, who cuts hair at Bow Ties and Haircuts on 10th Street. He doesn’t sound happy. “I find it hideous. It has been around since the ‘80s. It has a kind of ‘screw you’ feel about it. But it appeals to, like, the skateboarders. I cut it if I have to.”

“My girlfriend loves it,” says Brent, “It gives you sun, shelter, and a cool openness to breezes. And this is nothing. Pretty soon we’ll be in Mo-vember. Mustaches! Part of No-Shave November. Hair is happening! How can you fight that?”

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Brent, AFTER: Short sides, long back. Same as the Assyrians!
Brent, AFTER: Short sides, long back. Same as the Assyrians!

Something’s different! I’m off to my usual rendezvous to complete the waking process: coffee on the street at the BBC (Bay Books Cafe), with either Brent or Jose, the baristas. Then sit down to be shocked awake by yellow tables and umbrellas flaring in the morning sun.

Except, yeah: something’s different. Oh wow. It’s Brent. Good grief. He has cut half his hair off. “Mullet,” he says. “Call it my ‘faux mo.’ False Mohawk. See? Short on the sides. Way long behind. That’s what a mullet haircut is: ‘Business in front, party in the back, good time all round!’”

It’s the shaved sides you notice most, plus the long back. “This cut is for teens up to mid-30’s. Older? No. You’ve got to have hair in the first place.”

Have to admit, now I think about it, I’ve seen this before. Trying to remember. Ah yes! Hulk Hogan, and hey, Ellen Degeneres, right? And, if you’re a true mulleteer, you’ve got to include Benjamin Franklin. “Just check your $100 note,” says Brent. “He’s got a mullet hairstyle! I got my friend Eric Vega to do this for me. I paid him $50 plus tip. And that’s not bad. Prices are going up since covid, and especially since the opening downtown, they’re paying $80-100. Eric is raising his prices and he’s still getting slammed!”

Brent: The BEFORE shot.

But Brent says haircuts never actually stopped happening during the pandemic. “I’ve had friends who kept going, and charging $150 per haircut. And that was justified: because they were risking their lives, before the vaccines came out. Now the pressure’s even more, because people are starting to want to socialize seriously for the first time. They look in the mirror and go ‘Man! I’ve let myself slip this last year!’”

But why a mullet? A haircut named after a fish? Not exactly. Henri Mollet, a French fashion guru, is supposed to have created the style in the early ‘70s. The Beastie Boys had a mullet-mentioning song soon after. Way before that, it was also known as the “Hun Cut,” because that’s how delinquent Roman kids would wear their hair: like their terrifying enemies, the Huns, just to annoy their parents. And way before them, the Hittites, the Assyrians and the Egyptians all wore the style, too — partly to keep hair out of their eyes in battle. Fast-forward to David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust mane, and pretty soon Paul McCartney and half of show biz were wearing their hair that way.

“I think it’s coming back,” says Manny, who cuts hair at Bow Ties and Haircuts on 10th Street. He doesn’t sound happy. “I find it hideous. It has been around since the ‘80s. It has a kind of ‘screw you’ feel about it. But it appeals to, like, the skateboarders. I cut it if I have to.”

“My girlfriend loves it,” says Brent, “It gives you sun, shelter, and a cool openness to breezes. And this is nothing. Pretty soon we’ll be in Mo-vember. Mustaches! Part of No-Shave November. Hair is happening! How can you fight that?”

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