Thursday, January 19, 2006

Buenos Aires is Business Casual

The gaucho, the emblematic figure of the Argentine pampa, wore his hair long and unkempt. The infamous Facundo Quiroga had “a well-formed head, covered with the thickest hair, black and curly," as Domingo F. Sarmiento described him.

As industrialization led to the enclosure of these vast stretches of land, the gaucho disappeared, along with his equally famous haircut.

Though long hair made a sort of comeback with the social movements of the 1960s, decades of military dictatorships and self-serving neoliberal politicians have trimmed away at the unruly spirit of the Argentine people.

In the face of political oppression, though, Argentines have devised various forms of resistance. Men, in particular, have relied on a certain coiffure to retain a vital link to their mythic gaucho forefathers.

In Argentina, the mullet is king.

Yessir: the short-long, the 1090, the business-casual is not restricted to rednecks, hockey players and hipsters as it is in the United States of America. In the Republic of Argentina, the mullet is a haircut that transcends differences of identity. It is so normal, so pervasive, that it is perhaps impossible to rock one ironically.

While a few Argentines I surveyed immediately linked the mullet to bus drivers and soccer players, a few minutes spent in front of an office building in the Microcentro quickly belied these class associations. Suits and short-longs are in no way incompatible.

The mullet, by the way, is known as "la cubana." I aim to find out what is Cuban about this most noble of cuts.


Blogger miss tango in her eyes said...

Thank you so much for clarifying this perplexing topic for me. I just thought they were long lost cousins of Canadian hockey players!

4:10 PM  
Blogger Ernest Heming said...

Si, mullet = cubana, good on you, Brandan

8:49 PM  
Blogger Patagonia baby mum-to-be said...

Argentina is today what Australia was like 20 years ago, full of mullets!!!

2:44 AM  

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