It’s Official. South Kitsap in Mullet Denial

Chris Henry here, almost back in the saddle again. Good thing I arranged for the Seattle Times to cover my beat while I was on vacation.

And in South Kitsap, what else is there to talk about but … mullets. No, not that kind of mullet, this kind of mullet. We all should be familiar enough with it. According to the article by Times staff reporter Christine Clarridge, even the promise of a free haircut is not enough to part man from mullet in these here parts.

Port Orchard beautician Julea Penland has revised her annual promotion for “free mullet removal.”

Mullet Removal

But no one has taken her up on her offer, the article states:

“People with mullets either love them and want to keep them, or they don’t know they have them,” said Penland sadly. “They’re in mullet denial.”

Clarridge interviewed several Kitsap men who seemed to prove the point.

“My old lady likes me with my long hair and she’d kill me if I cut it off,” said Nick Marks, a 49-year-old yard-maintenance man from Olalla (in South Kitsap, for you f’reigners) who prefers to call his hairdo ” ’70s style.”

Marks tried wearing his hair short, Clarridge writes, but it made him feel “inadequate.”

Mitch Coelho, a cook at Bethel Square Restaurant and Lounge (also in SK), said his mullet is a great lure for women. “I don’t know how many times I was sitting at the bar when a girl started braiding my hair,” Coelho said.

Chad Northey, 36, an East Bremerton resident, displayed his do to the reporter during a recent visit to the Kitsap County Fair & Stampede, but he denied he had a mullet

Northey said his wife “loves running her fingers through his hair, his daughters like to put barrettes in it and he likes the way it feels when he’s flying down the road on his Harley.”

“I enjoy it,” he said. “I don’t care what it’s called.”

The problem with mullets, according to Penland, as cited in the article, is that they perpetuate the stereotype of the hick South Kitsap resident.

The hairstyle promotes the image of a “barefoot, beer-swilling, cousin-marrying, NASCAR-loving and gun-toting,” type, according to mullet expert Ashley Doane, a professor of sociology at the University of Hartford, in Connecticut, cited in the article.

Barefoot? Too wet and cold for that around here. Beer-swilling, I’ll grant you that one. NASCAR-loving. Hey, Ms. East-Coast-where-they-probably-haven’t-seen-a-mullet-in-two-decades expert, don’t you follow the local news? And gun-toting. Oops, got us there, too.

But maybe, just maybe, South Kitsap mullet men (and their East Bremerton relations) are so retro that they’re really just ahead of the curve, fashion forward, riding the crest of the wave of the future. Did you ever think about that Ms. Big-City Reporter?

Yep, she did. “Some Seattle hairstylists say the style is making a comeback,” Clarridge writes.

Kim Lundin, creative director of Gene Juarez Salons & Spas, said there are “incarnations” that would look “really cool” on “a young, thin, hipster kid.”

“Hipster kid?” Now if we could only find one younger than John Stamos.

“Will Francalangia, of Nucleus on Capitol Hill, said in Europe he saw ‘hipper kids wearing more fashionable, alternative versions of the rural mullet,'” Clarridge reports.

“The two stylists said versions of the mullet they like typically feature spikes, funky colors or aspects of a fauxhawk. … The wearers who can carry them off, he said, often have multiple piercings and attitude.”

Piercings, attitude, count us in. When you start seeing mullets on the monorail, you’ll have your barefoot, beer-swilling, cousin-marrying, NASCAR-loving and gun-toting neighbors across the sound to thank.

That’s Kitsap with a “K,” and don’t you forget it.

If anyone wants to take Julea up on her offer, be advised she is moving. Effective Sept. 1, Julea’s Progressive Salon & Day Spa will be at Bethel Centre, 1501 SE Piperberry Way, Suite 102, Port Orchard; (360) 895-3469.

4 thoughts on “It’s Official. South Kitsap in Mullet Denial

  1. I’m wondering about the lady mullets. Are they harder to spot because women generally wear their hair longer? Can they be disguised? Do you know any women who adopted the hairstyle years ago, went with it and then just stayed with it? Would you say something? Is it even called a mullet on a woman? Maybe it’s called a shag.

  2. I love Christine Clarridge. She’s a wonderful reporter. I am glad that she is still around. She helped me organize a Girl Scout adventure to the Seattle Times over ten years ago. Our girls got to meet these amazing women editors, journalists, photographers, press women. It was fun. Christine was impressive, describing how she would fly up in helicopters to cover stories and how she had the mayor’s number on her cell phone.

  3. I saw a woman sporting a mullet in a crosswalk in Sequim once. You really can’t miss it. Not something you’re likely to see on the cover of Vogue, but pretty distinctive.

    Anyway, according to Andy Binnion, Bremerton wants mullet-heads to migrate there. I think we should give them all a free ferry ticket…

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