Mullets are back. I’ve got one, and I don’t care if you don’t like it. I think I look class

The idea of the hairstyle being fashionable again is worse than the prospect of the return of dial-up internet for some people

I love my mullet. As five-year-old Billy Brady said on The Late Late Toy Show, it’s “business at the front, party at the back”. I recently had my hair cut into the style, and just like Marmite or cheese-and-onion chocolate, it’s proving contentious.

“You’ve got a touch of Rudi Völler,” one colleague said to me, referring to the German World Cup winner. Herr Völler sported an impressive curly mullet in his heyday. “Or a footballer from Shoot! magazine circa 1984,” another colleague said. The best was a comparison to a Stasi agent in East Berlin, which I reported immediately to my commanding officer.

I almost got an ear pierced at the weekend, too, but thankfully chickened out. They would have had a field day with that.

Perhaps mullets are controversial because of Ziggy Stardust/David Bowie, who etched the hairstyle into the public consciousness with a bad-boy narrative. Bono recently wrote in his memoir that he now finds his career-topping performance at Live Aid in 1985 excruciating to watch: “The mullet. All thoughts of altruism and of righteous anger, all the right reasons that we were there, all these flee my mind, and all I see is the ultimate bad hair day.”


For some the idea of mullets being back is worse than the prospect of the return of dial-up internet. The news was recently broken to my uncle, who proceeded to wince and rant for 10 minutes about why mullets should be banished to the shadow realm otherwise known as the 1980s. Today however, we young’uns have grown to love our locks, and what was once relegated to Wham! tribute gigs is back at college parties and on red carpets and GAA pitches. If Paul Mescal gets up on stage to accept an Oscar in March, it’ll be game over for undercut and fade.

In some spots, however, the mullet was never suppressed. Parts of the United States (and maybe Cavan) never left the style behind, for example. Just think of Tiger King’s Joe Exotic.

In fact, the mullet-and-moustache combo is also in heat again, and boy do people love to tell you what they think about your moustache. I sported my first one in 2018, while at college, and by God the artsy folk of Belfield were not ready. After a while I’d enough of the 1970s-porn-star comparisons and ditched the moustache in favour of a much more appealing beard – except my grandad said I looked like Jihadi John, which quickly prompted a conversation about things people can say at the dinner table.

In the intervening years Ireland’s hairscape has changed. Faux 1980s fashion is in full swing (by myself included), and Stranger Things-sponsored mullets surely helped move along cyclical trends. I decided to give the moustache another go and try out a mullet for something different.

Nights out in Cork took a lively turn when I tried out the mullet-and-tache combo. No fewer than 15 people pulled me aside to compliment my moustache – primarily lads at the urinals, but I’ll take compliments where I can. Whether it’s a cashier at the shop or a Deliveroo fellah at the door, men do love complimenting another man’s moustache.

As for the mullet it transcends gender barriers. House of the Dragon’s nonbinary lead, Emma D’Arcy, is a fine example. Anyone can try it out.

There can be the odd misguided effort, like the fellah I saw who probably shaved the sides of his head at home with a dog trimmer. But of all the haircuts I’ve had, none have slapped so hard in the eyes of my peers as the mullet has. And you know what? I don’t care if you don’t like it. I think I look class.

Conor Capplis

Conor Capplis

Conor Capplis is a journalist with the Irish Times Group