History of the Mullet

It is a common misconception that the mullet originated in the US in the early 1980s, although that is widely regarded as the origin of the ‘Modern Mullet’. In reality the phenomenon has been with us for millennia, but the precise birthplace is unknown perhaps even predating man’s ability to draw and write. There is however much evidence of its existence in many ancient civilisations, from the Aztecs to the Vikings.

SphinxPerhaps the most striking example early mullet haircuts is the Great Sphinx which is thought to date back 4500 years, some such as Geologist Robert Schock believe that it dates back up to 10,000 years as there are signs of water erosion. If this is true it is possible that the mullet has been with mankind from the very beginning.

Sphinx Although the Sphinx has naturally been eroded through its long life year life the mullet is still clear for all to see, notice the short hair at the front, complete lack of sideburns, and the long flowing hair at the back.

Mullet fact!! For millennia the Great Sphinx has had the largest mullet known to man, however in 1993 a replica of the Sphinx was built for the Luxor Hotel which was actually bigger than the original, making it officially the biggest mullet on the planet!
Sphinx Las Vegas The largest mullet in the world!!!!

Sphinx Las Vegas
Luxor Hotel, Las Vegas

Along with the first examples of mullets are the first examples of mullets being a disadvantage in life. Mullets were specifically banned from the Roman army as enemies found it easy to grab the long hair to pull the hapless mulleted Roman’s head back to slit his throat. This tradition of short hair still exists in most armies today although it is more for appearance now, after all no enemy would take an army of mullets very seriously would they!

Through the ages many different civilisations have been influenced by the mullet, such as the Assyrians (see below), the Persians as well as the Greeks.

Assyrian Mullets

Assyrian MulletAssyrian MulletAssyrian MulletAssyrian Wings As can be seen from the illustrations the Assyrians favoured mullets not unlike the modern 'mudflap mullet' accompanied by a well kept beard. (note there is no historical evidence to show the Assyrians had wings)

The exact popularity of mullets over the ages is hard to judge, however by looking at portraits of the most famous people (who are usually the trend setters anyway) we can go some way to judging the popularity of the mullet in that given time period.

The late 18th, early 19th century is widely acknowledged as a boom time for mullets. The Poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge was one particularly noted example

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)

Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834)Samuel Taylor Coleridge The reasons for Colderidge growing a mullet can be attributed to his opium addiction and possibly his difficult marriage. One rather interesting but somewhat ironic fact about Colderidge is that he can be credited for introducing the word 'aesthetic' to the English language, he obviously wasn't thinking of his less than aesthetically pleasing hairstyle when he coined this word!

Horatio Gates (1727-1806)

Horatio Gates mulletOne other interesting example from this period is the American General Horatio Gates. What makes him of particular interest is that he is credited for bringing the mullet form Europe to America.

Horatio Gates From this illustration of Gates you can clearly see the upturned long section at the back, remarkably similar to a modern 'Fashion Mullet'

The 1980s

It wasn’t until the 1980s when the full horror of the mullet was unleashed upon to a largely unsuspecting world.

In the 1960s and 70s the mullet slowly grew in popularity, but it wasn't until the 1980s that the mullet became mainstream. The origin of this 1980s mullet craze came from the southern US states, spreading rapidly through the rest of the US and across into Europe and South America. During this time in the 1980s and early 1990s the mullet was the staple haircut for footballers, pop stars, and TV stars. Unlike today where if you have a mullet your chances of landing a decent job are slim, it was actually seen as a good thing to have a mullet when applying for jobs.

Mike Reed Mullet
Standard 1980s TV mullet

Chris Waddle Mullet

1980s Football Mullet

1980s Mullets
Some nice 1980s mullets

Pop Star Mullet

Pop Star Mullet

German MulletAfter the mullet boom of the 80s/early 90s the mullet quickly went out of fashion and gradually and rightfully became a thing of ridicule for all mulleted people.
German Mullet

The mullet did however persevere and has remained popular in some European countries such as Germany.

But the home of the modern mullet is undoubtedly the southern US, redneck country where it thrives.

But how has it remained so popular with rednecks? The answer lies in their social structure, if for example you were to grow a full blow redneck mullet (along with tattoos and a suitably fetching tash) and go into any civilised city you would be laughed at and quite rightfully be seen as an idiot. However rednecks form very close nit societies stemming from a deep routed fear of all outsiders, (as often seen in documentaries on rednecks, such as ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ and ‘Deliverance’) so there is nobody to ridicule their mullet, making them completely unaware of the extent of their hideousness of their haircut.

The Fashion Mullet

Fashion MulletIn recent years there has been a distinct increase in the number of mullet sightings in the UK, a new kind of mullet has emerged, the ‘Fashion Mullet’ This is the bizarre new phenomenon of people actually growing a small mullet (similar to the rats tale mullet) with the misconception that it looks good because a few people who claim to be fashionable have them, sadly for them they just look like a pretentious twat.

The Fashion Mullet which is now popular in the UK is, like the rat tale mullet, is a cowardly mullet, a mullet worn by people who would love a full blown mullet, but just don’t have the courage to go all the way and grow a proper mullet such as a 10/90.

The mullet looks like its here to stay but that doesn’t mean you should sit back and let the mullet take over. You can do your bit by making the mullets know that their haircut offends you, one good tactic is simply pointing and laughing, if there are more of you start whispering to each other whilst pointing at the mullet, this makes them very uneasy and hopefully ashamed of their mullet. Take photos of mullets and let them see you taking a photo and they will hopefully ask themselves why people are taking pictures and laughing at them.

You can send in your photos to put any mullets to shame by sending them to photos@plagueofthemullet.com The horror can be viewed here

Please be aware Plague of the Mullet.com will take no responsibility for any injuries you may sustain whist attempting to ridicule or photograph mullets, be aware they can be highly sensitive about their mullets and may feel entrapped and lash out if provoked.