The Offputter

Growing one’s hair into a mullet is not an effective means of protection. It should not be used as a crash helmet, nor as an alternative form of contraception. It is, however, an amulet, a talisman and (frequently) a beacon. Silently, but with siren-like potency, calling out to other Mulleteers and drawing them near.

Come. Closer. It whispers capillusly.

In this way, it can be considered a valid form of human discourse, a subtle but effective protest against societal norms and, in its own way, a disruptive technology. An act of resistance: against scissors, combs, and acceptability. The mullet is the archetypal Offputter. Much like it’s wayward cousin, the Upsetter, it does not seek to charm, nor to be a reliable prophylactic, but to offer a means of comfort, and more often, disembodiment.

The mullet of yore has its links to warfare, to raw and rough living, to acts of artistic extremism. The mullet of today is a varied and shapeshifting beast. But of no less importance historically. Only time will tell, in that smug way it has, what role the mullet will have in the mythologies of the future.

The mullet confounds public expectations of normality and acceptability. It also demands a series of questions that force the beholder, as well as the Mulleteer to reconsider their own values, and to some extent, their own existence.

1.      What are they trying to hide under all that unformed, uncared-for hair?

2.      Is it, in fact, uncared for, or is that just what they want us to think?

3.      Why would they want us to think that? What might they be trying to hide, or could this be a double bluff?

4.      Can they not afford a haircut?

Haircuts, in the ironically named “Developed World” are indeed very expensive, so the answer to question four may vary depending on whether the mullet-wearer in question is male or female or somewhere in between. Evidence has shown that it is precisely these ‘in between’ states of being that most commonly adopt the mullet as a badge of honour, a mating ritual, and a ‘hidden in plain sight’ code as to their personage and intentions.

The intentions of a Mulleteer performing in the public sphere – the adoption and wearing of a mullet is always a performance, or presentation of some kind – are not always honourable, or discoverable, or even sensible. This is a good thing and should be celebrated. Annually. I am therefore proposing, in collaboration with our trusted partners, an International Day of the Mullet.

Thank you for considering this application.    

JP Seabright is a queer writer living in London. Their work can be found in Babel Tower Notice BoardFugitives & FuturistsFull HouseUntitled VoicesStreetcake and elsewhere. Occasionally they can be found hanging out on Twitter @errormessage and blogging about music:

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