Looking back, the mule is back
Here’s a riddle: what’s long in the back, short in the front, spark conversation, make people smile – some with irony, others with awe – and returns for an encore performance afterwards. a 35-year retirement?
âYep, it’s back,â hairstylist Jennifer Bartlett said, referring to the mullet, which followed the Walkman and Space Invaders (my favorite) path in the 1980s.
Jennifer and her husband, Benjamin Bartlett, cut their hair at Danis Barber Shop in Chichester, in the couple’s family business. It has the candy cane swirl under the wooden panel on the front.
They saw the loyalty and passion shown by the mules. Especially kids, from elementary to high school, who aren’t afraid to bring the distinctive hairstyle back from the brink.
âSome things stay in the past, but for me it’s all a cycle, clothes and hairstyles,â Jennifer said. âNo trend has ever died. Someone somewhere will bring it back to life and start it all over again.
Who really knows why the hair, the dresses and the basketball shorts go up and down? It has to do with the mood of society.
But this fashion seems to be a little different. It hits a nerve with some, a sweet deal with others. David Bowie started it in the 1970s and it peaked in the 1980s. Some of the rock band featured mules, not to be confused with big hair, another identifying feature of bands of the era. , like Def Leppard and Poison.
The two styles went hand in hand, creating a hairy show and a hairy decade.
Now we’re back.
Before his last reincarnation, the mule represented something. Several things really. Rebellion. An atmosphere of counter-culture. Trust. Gender mix. And, yes, the style. Mules have been seen on the iconic heads of Rod Stewart, Andre Agassi and even George Clooney.
âWe have the youngest, aged 10 to 15,â said Benjamin Bartlett. âI asked one of them why he was doing that and he said it was just a fad happening at school. I was like, ‘Okay, this is very strange.’ ”
How does the mule create a love-hate relationship with the audience? It’s a haircut, for god’s sake.
Celebrities and pop culture have a major effect on young people, say local stylists and barbers.
“I heard it was someone they saw on Dance with the stars or America has talent or something like that, âBenjamin said. “There was a guy with a mule, and he won or something and because of that he started to get popular.”
While many children seek this unique conversational style, other age groups are as well.
âWe had an Amazon Prime driver drop off a package and he had one and he said he loved it,â Jennifer said. “You could see he was taking care of it and it looked good and he was in his twenties.”
She continued, âWe have a man who is almost 50 years old and he was coming before the mule came back. My husband makes it look good, not out of control.
Rich Kelly owns the Concord Barber Shop on North State Street, an old-fashioned business with a hot shave on the inside and the classic, colorful post on the outside. Kelly said she noticed two spots during the recent disruption caused by COVID.
âMullet is a common hairstyle now,â he said. âAnd during the pandemic, every day this year, or almost every day, I’ve had 40 people who said they haven’t had a haircut for a year. I got over 18 inches from a guy.
Hairstyles and haircuts are another area of ââlife affected by COVID. Maybe this savage form of house arrest brought out the, well, the mullet in people.
Something different was needed. Something angry. Something that pushed back the new way of life.
âI can see there were a lot of home haircuts,â said Beth Webber, owner of Cindy’s Hair Affair in Pittsfield. âWe were closed for two months and part of it could have resulted when someone tried and said it was cool and went with it.â
She said that one of her younger clients perfected her mullet.
“I have a young man who has been doing this for six or eight months and it looks great on him.”
Webber says the 2021 mullet is different from the classic 80s mullet. The one made famous by Billy Ray Cyrus.
She recently saw a rock band with a singer who wore a more elegant version, something different. Trend-makers influence others.
“I’m making a modified one, not the old-fashioned kind,” Webber told me. âThe top is a bit longer and sometimes I leave it. Young men like a perm on top.
If you’ve been to a high school lacrosse game lately, you’ve probably noticed a number of players with their hair falling and bouncing under their helmets last season. It’s a thing.
Why is anyone guessing.
âI don’t know where this came from,â Webber said. “All of a sudden, in the last six or eight months, he started showing up again.”