Some things are universally considered un-Australian. Not saying ‘thank you’ to the bus driver, charging someone for tomato sauce with their pie, low-alcohol or mid-strength beer…
But there’s one cultural artefact that is more sacred than any other: the mullet. The ‘business in the front, party in the back’ haircut is quintessential Australiana; reviled and loved in equal measure – but always respected.
So when an elite Perth private boy’s school decided to ban the mullet, it immediately sparked outrage. Trinity College, which charges $15,140 a year for tuition, has attracted headlines after formally banning the haircut, providing a stuffy-sounding explanation for the decision in their most recent newsletter.
“It is without reservation that the College sets… a high standard for personal presentation,” the school says, suggesting that “the current trend of growing the hair at the back of the head and/or closely cropping the sides of the head to accentuate the ‘mullet’ style [is] untidy, non-conventional and not acceptable at Trinity College.”
Trinity College is just one of a number of private schools who’ve decided to ban the mullet over the last twelve months. The decision comes off the back of another Perth private boy’s school, Mater Dei, who banned the mullet last year, prompting Redditors to describe the ban as “class war” and “anti-Australian.”
Last year also saw a Perth local refused entry to a pub on his 18th birthday thanks to his mullet, 7 News reported at the time.
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All this anti-mullet sentiment has prompted a surprising statement from Western Australian Premier Mark McGowan, who threw his weight behind the classic mullet.
“I’m very pro mullet, it’s a unique Australian invention – one we should be selling to the world, but I’ll let the school make their own decisions,” he told reporters on Tuesday, according to news.com.au.
It’s not just government coming out against private school cultural hang-ups. When Sydney’s Waverley College banned the mullet back in February, pro surfer and mullet advocate Mikey Wright – who has long inspired others to rock the ‘dirty’ hairstyle and even kept his mullet for his wedding day – came out in support of the schoolboys, running a competition to find “the best mullet in school uniform.”
It’s not just Australia where the mullet has found an unexpected following among private school boys, either: last year, VICE UK reported on how the mullet has fast become the haircut to have among English private school boys, too.
It’s not quite speaking truth to power… but it’s at least funny to think that it’s become such a problem among private schools that they have to issue such Footloose-esque edicts about haircuts.
A real head-scratcher for sure.