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The mullet — that famous hairstyle of the 1980s-90s, in which men around the world (but particularly in the U.S.) cut their hair short in front and let it grow gloriously long in back. Or, famously, “business in front, party in the back.” Despite being very much a style of the 20th century, it somehow managed to sneak its way into history via that most accurate of representations: the historical costume film and TV series.
For Snark Week, let’s celebrate the top manifestations of this hairstyle that never fails to impress…
5. Patrick Swayze in North & South (1985)
On the one hand, you can’t fault him, because he’s The Swayze, and he committed to this hairstyle basically from birth to death. On the other — bwahahahhaha! It’s the Civil War, but who needs historically accurate hair when you could have THIS:
Obviously some years later, given the spray-in gray at Swayze’s temples, The Swayzester gets married … by which time the back of his hair couldn’t be more long and luscious.
And because it increases my amusement, let us compare The Swayzster with some real Civil War soldiers:
4. Stefano Dionisi in Farinelli (1994)
Farinelli — famous Italian castrato (singer) of the mid-18th century. You would think he’d be dressed to the nines in fabulous high fashion, but instead you get this:
And for added hilarity, the real Farinelli:
3. Kevin Costner in
Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) Dances With Wolves (1990)
You guys — everyone loves to mock Kevin Costner for his Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves mullet. And yes, there’s a definite abundance of thinning, feathered, mousy brown hair:
But we all seem to have forgotten the
travesty masterpiece that is Dances With Wolves! Okay so yes, 1990-91 is the height of the mullet’s actual fashionable-ness (shudder). But check OUT Costner’s post-Civil-War soldier, rocking the bouffant feather in front, pow-wow in back along with exxxxxxcellent mustache:
But wait there’s more: the white guy who’s going to teach us about the Native Americans* helpfully meets a white chick who’s been raised by Native Americans, and so gets a racially appropriate love interest. In celebration, Costner decides to let the back get festive:
* Okay so yes, Dances With Wolves was laudable for a very positive view of Native Americans. But it uses the trope of the Sensitive White Guy to translate the Native Americans to us, rather than letting the Native Americans be the story, for which I snark.
And as Costner semi-commits to a life with the Native Americans, he manages to keep the front of his thinning hair under semi-control while the back goes FULL KEGGER.
2. Colin Farrell in Alexander (2004)
This one shoots higher up the list because by god, IT’S 2004 AND YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER. Clearly Colin Farrell gets a lot of unfortunate hair in this travesty of a movie:
1. Gabriel Byrne, Leonard DiCaprio, and Leonardo DiCaprio in The Man in the Iron Mask (1998)
Again, YOU GUYS. IT’S 1998. I’m pretty sure even Billy Ray Cyrus had cut off most of his mullet by then. But you know what, it’s the 17th century, an era known for its
long, curly, “full-bottomed” wigs short layered fronts and long, silky tresses in back.
And the real Louis as a young man:
Let us all hope for many, many more historical mullets in our future to mock.