Evolution is arguably the most advanced theory in modern science. Big life forms evolved from lowly singular cell animals into the brontosaurus and Tyrannosaurus Rex. But evolution didnâ€™t just stop doing big with the advent of man. It went on to evolve Big Hair in the 80s.
If you thought that fries were the only thing you could super-size then think again. In the 80s the skinheads’ preference for no hair gave way to Big Hair. The fashion for Big hair took off like a ten bob rocket in the 80s when hairstyle choice was the same as lifestyle choice.
Big Hair came in several flavours. You had, for instance, several variations on the Mullet. The Mullet and its close relative, the permed Mullet – favourite of prima donna super-league football players was itself a development of the emerging fashion for menâ€™s perms.
For a while, a fad arose for adding the accessory of a ‘tash to the Mullet to create a new ‘tash-Mullet combo. Growing a moustache to compliment a Mullet was considered to be a babe magnet – though mostly in the minds of those who wore them. They were virtually a badge of success in some places. If you had a Mullet then youâ€™d arrived – “I see Arthurâ€™s got himself a mullet, Doris. And a ‘tash. He hasn’t half gone up in the world, eh?”
If the Mullet wasn’t your thing, or just wasn’t outlandish enough for your liking – if you wanted to make a bolder fashion statement, then you really had take the New Romantic way. If Big Hair had been an Olympic sport then New Romantics, with their fluffy clothes and matching barnets would have taken gold every time.
Upkeep was expensive though. Hair lacquer bills were second only to mortgage payments in the household budgets of serious New Romantics with serious hairstyles. Worse yet – the only way you could preserve a style overnight was to sleep standing up in the hallway.
For style junkies, emulating the superstars of the American super-soaps like Dallas or Dynasty was a no-brainer if you wanted Big Hair. The ludicrous hairstyles of the hammy actresses who featured in these shows spread like Dutch Elm disease across whole populations as their success flourished.
Then again, if glamour wasnâ€™t your bag at all, you could always fall back on the punk inspired Mohican. Though they were far less fluffy than New Romantic hair styles and far more aggressive, they still qualified as Big Hair. The Mohican was really a combination of Big Hair and no hair. Big spiky hair along the centre of the head and no hair anywhere else. This neither one thing nor the other approach seemed to exactly capture the punk lifestyle.
If none of these hair cuts or their associated lifestyles floated your boat, men were stuck with the short back and sides and women with the standard perm. And they’d just have to suffer the social stigma of their fashion car crash.
Evolution never stops. For now Big Hair has receded. But we should always be on our guard in case it comes back again. We all have a duty of care to avoid psychological damage to the next generation as a result of our generations’ hairstyle choices.