Bad hair day

It's the hairstyle that time forgot. It's the mullet of the moment. Yes we’re talking about the male ponytail.

If you want to look like a crim, a weasel or most probably both, grow your thinning hair long and scrape it back. Into a girl’s hairband.  

Don’t believe me?

“The accused, wearing a grubby T-shirt, board shorts, bare feet, and with his long hair tied back’’ … “The man police are hunting was described as middle-aged with brown hair tied back in a pony tail” ... “The accused's thin grey hair was pulled back in a small stubby pony-tail, the kind favoured by men who have difficulty facing up to the fading of their own youthful attractions. Hadn't his barrister told him it looked sleazy?”

Have I made my point yet? These are all real court reports those, from real papers, quite recently.  And they all point to one thing. No man who wants to be taken seriously in any way would dare to bear such a big, swinging disaster.

But believe it or not some still do. I know. I've spotted them. On the 8.34 to the city, just last week. Some dangled dandruffedly over too-tight suits. Others were paired with pointy boots and jeans on grown men who should have known better. But, really, they’re a thing of the past, a relic of all our yesterdays. And those in the know say even bogans are passing them over.
 
Melbourne stylist Kristianna Michaelides reckons ponytails are an outward sign of a man’s inability to grow up. Wearers are “usually from the Nineties grunge era and they’re hanging on to something that needs to be let go of,” she says.

“Beyond 35, it’s pushing the boundaries. A ponytail on someone who's old and has fine hair is just wrong.” She rarely sees ponytails, though she has some long-haired clients. ''One has divine curly hair and he’ll pull it up on top of his head to get it out of the way and it looks great. When it’s contrived or calculated, it’s wrong.”

Outlaw motorcycle clubs are the ponytails’ last habitat. Bikies have, Michaelides says, only two types of hairstyle: the shaven head and the ponytail. And who am I to deny them the right to wear their hair whichever way they choose?
 
Is there no future for the ponytail? Surely someone, somewhere has a good word for it. Only the Australian Hairdresser of the Year 2011 (and 2008 and 2004). Jayne Wild of Wild Life Hair in Sydney, who was crowned at the 2011 Hair Expo on Monday, is a big fan. “I think a ponytail on a man is great!” she told me. “I love them. I think boys really should be playing with their hair, going for different styles and just having fun with it in general. Obviously we’re seeing some boys with the mullet again too, which hasn’t been in fashion for a few years now – and it’s perfect for them to be able to pop it up in a ponytail to get it out of the way.''
 
But here's the proviso: ''When I say I love a ponytail on a boy – I mean boys; for men it’s only cool if it’s done in a surfy or grungy kind of way. There’s a certain time in life when you have to say no and cut it off – you don’t want a man of a certain age rocking a ponytail. It’s just wrong! Cut it off.”
 
Over 30? Get the message - lose the ponytail, pronto. In your 20s? Give it a go if you dare. The top-knot's not bad. And, by the way, don’t think I didn’t notice that Jayne Wild's seen “some boys with the mullet again too”. Might give that one a shot.

What do you think about ponytails on men?

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