White Sox celebration keeps the mullet alive

Fans take part in the on-field parade before the Chicago White Sox's Mullet Night festivities. Chicago White Sox/Ron Vesely

CHICAGO – It’s rare that two shirtless men wearing overalls and mullet wigs can walk around on a major league baseball field without getting arrested.

But on Mullet Night at U.S. Cellular Field, longtime friends and suburban Chicago residents Jimmy and David (it turns out mullet wig enthusiasts don't like to reveal their last names) fit right in during an on-field pregame parade.

“Look at this," Jimmy said. "How can you resist it? I’m 300 pounds. I’m the sexiest man here.”

It was business in the grandstand, party on the field before Friday night’s White Sox game as the team held its annual celebration of all things mullet. The much-maligned hairstyle that has become the ultimate symbol of a fashion “don’t” got its day in the sun, with hundreds donning Joe Dirt-esque wigs in a rainbow of colors.

“It’s America’s hairstyle,” said Amy, a White Sox fan wearing a blonde wig to match her natural hair color. “You’ve gotta celebrate it.”

Shawn Michaels, who sported one of the most iconic mullets of the 1990s, remembered his own fondly.

“I had hair practically down to my buttocks,” said the former WWE superstar, now an Outdoor Channel host. “I had it very short on top, but then, so I don’t think anybody had the huevos to have their hair quite as long as I did.”

As Michaels put it, it takes a certain amount of “huevos” to rock the mullet as your full-time haircut. Of the 500 or so fans participating in Friday night’s pregame mullet march, only a handful of them were brave enough to have an actual mullet.

One of the few and the proud was an Army veteran named Nick. Nick, a married father of one, had initially grown his hair out after leaving the service and decided to cut it into a mullet once the weather got warmer.

Ever since, he’s found it’s one heck of a conversation starter.

“Everyone always asks, ‘Why do you have a mullet?’" he said. “I say, 'Because it’s funny.' (My wife) thinks it’s hilarious. She lets me do what I want.”

Michaels himself cut his nearly 15 years ago when he started thinking about having a family.

“I could not continue to (have a mullet) only because I have children,” Michaels said. “Obviously I didn’t want to influence them too much with my lack of fashion and hipness, things of that nature. Other than that, I’d be wearing it to this day.”

And while the mullet is on the endangered hairstyle list, Michaels doesn’t think it’ll ever become extinct, because it makes perfect economic sense in these hard times.

“The great thing about the mullet is that any guy can cut his own hair,” he said. “You trim the top, you let the back grow out. You’ll realize that your barber shop costs go down dramatically (when you have a mullet).”