It is an irrefutable fact that one day we will all look back and be ashamed of our current style. On that day you will say something like, “I thought I looked so good.” That day is coming. A second, and less recognized, fact is that style is cyclical. If you live long enough, all of your clothes will come back into style. Women are wearing high wasted jeans again and looking good doing it. This time last year we would have all called those “mom jeans.” So it is only a matter of time before men remember the beauty of keeping business up front and a party in the back. The mullet, that oft ridiculed hairstyle is making a comeback. You heard it here first.
It all started this summer in two separate, yet monumental actions. The first came the mullet mascot himself, Billy Ray Cyrus. This is the man who opined the loss of his back-locks in his 2006 song “I Want My Mullet Back.” He has been lying in wait, looking for the perfect time to reenter the cultural zeitgeist. In June 2016, Cyrus emerged from his daughter’s shadow to film this video with Mashable. It is funny and may seem like nothing more than viral clickbait, but it marked a tidal shift in our culture.
We do not know if Oklahoma State’s head football coach Mike Gundy ever saw the video. We do know that Mike Gundy was in dire need of a haircut at the same time the video was released. We do know that his son, Gage, mocked his father’s “mullet.” We do know that Gundy decided to keep his hair long to mess with his son. In August, he began to pamper and encourage his baby mullet.
You can see it peeking out behind his cheeks, eager to meet the world. By the middle of the football season, it was accepted as an inextricable part of Gundy’s persona. He has even named it, “The Arkansas Waterfall.”
At the end of the season, Gundy’s mullet had garnered unprecedented praise from his rivals. Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops and Sooner quarterback Baker Mayfield both expressed their respect and admiration of the mullet publicly. Gundy’s wife likes it. His players like it. This is no stunt. This is not a drill. Gundy threw down the mullet gauntlet and America is responding.
Judging by his tweet on March 17, 2017, the Arkansas Waterfall is in now in control of his body. The old man is gone and the new has come.
Enter Billy Ray Cyrus, stage right. Cyrus, a Florida native (obviously), eagerly threw his support behind Oklahoma State based solely on their coach’s hairstyle. It was serendipity, two kindred spirits meeting in a crowded room. The snowball began to roll downhill and is now picking up speed, racing towards cultural acceptance.
Soon, we will see athletes wearing them as jokes. They will be followed by college classmates and frat-star fanboys. Then little brothers and fans across the nation will follow their heroes. Out of nowhere, Justin Bieber or a One Direction guy will show up in Germany looking like a early nineties pop-star, mullet waving in the breeze. Mullets will be “hot” again. Blake Shelton will joke about it, but will remember his mullet and get back on the bandwagon. Luke Bryan will get an artless bland mullet that everyone will love for no reason. Women will inwardly wish their husbands could be cool enough to pull of a mullet. The mullet will rise. You may think that is far-fetched, but mark my words, it will happen and is happening even now. The mullet is back.