Image via Adobe Stock

The mullet: There’s nothing fishy about it, mate

It’s been business at the front and party at the back since the 1970s – and it’s still rocking on. You just can’t keep a good mullet-man down.


Image via Adobe Stock

I have a confession to make. I grew up on the East Rand. That long ribbon of towns stretching east from Johannesburg along the original gold reef.

It’s a place of commerce, industry, factories, warehouses and the nation’s busiest airport. Collectively sometimes called “spanner city” or “the tappet triangle” by uncharitable outsiders in a nod to the area’s industrial heritage and many mechanics — either professional or weekend warriors — who spend their time making mean-machines go faster and louder.

The far east is the mullet’s natural habitat

And we have the mullet. The hairstyle, not the fish. And the further you travel east the more you’ll find yourself in the mullet’s natural habitat.

You’ll know the style; “business at the front and party at the back” is a common description.

Karlien Loubser, a very witty Benoni-based blogger who has The One K lifestyle blog, says the perfect example of the mullet-man “is our own local Vernon Koekemoer. The man who believes your biceps should be the same width as your neck”.

If you’ve never heard of Vernon, cast your mind back to 2008 when muscle-man Vernon (real name Cassie Booyse) was photographed at a rave in Boksburg. Super-short and super-tight short pants with a make-me-strong sleeveless shirt, plus a mullet to die for, made him an overnight Internet sensation.

Vernon Koekemoer

For a while he became a kind of Chuck Norris of South Africa and even did a few endorsement deals and commercials. And all the while that mullet was prominent.

Mullet-sporting heroes from around the world

But while the East Rand has long been a safe haven for mullets, they turn up everywhere.

Billy Ray Cyrus, country rocker and dad to Miley Cyrus, had a cringe-worthy mullet when he did Achy Breaky Heart back in the early ‘90s – a song everyone knows but never admits to.

All Black rugby player Jack Goodhue is known for an atrocious mullet and once said there is scientific evidence that shows it makes him faster.

Actor High Jackman has had an on-and-off relationship with the hairstyle for years. He had one in the 2015 sci-fi movie Chappie that grossed more than US$100 million at the box office. He also sported one in a soap opera called Correlli.

Hairstyle makes headline news in Australia

Last weekend in Australia, the mullet got yet another lease on life when it became national headline news.

The story went like this. A young true-blue Aussie bloke named Cooper Allin decided to “sink a few frothies” (have a few beers) at an upmarket pub in Perth, Western Australia. But before he could do so, a bouncer spotted his mullet locks and told him he wasn’t welcome as pub policy barred them.

Taken aback, Allin told his tale to the media. On Monday, at the regular press conference hosted by the Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, a journalist raised the hairy issue.

Cooper Allin

Premier calls for a mullet-men rebellion

Initially he laughed. But after composing himself, the premier leapt to the defence of mullet-wearers everywhere.

“I just encourage people with mullets to rise up and rebel against these extreme rules pubs are imposing,” he said.

 “I think you should be free to have a mullet and go to a pub. I don’t think there should be rules around that.”

McGowan added that “some of my best friends have mullets” and then questioned the assembled press pack as to whether they had ever sported the iconic hairstyle.

Perth’s hero says ‘no’ to a haircut

So, will Allin be getting a haircut anytime soon? No. He’ll just find other mullet-friendly venues where he can quench his thirst. Vernon Koekemoer and the mullet-wearing “okes” from the east would surely approve.

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