Friday, 5 January 2007

Understanding Argentina – Buenos Aires Style

Or stylists. There are other striking things about the style of the porteños. Buenos Aires is renowned for being an almost European capital of style and elegance. While it is true that there are some very stylish people in the city, well-dressed, well-groomed, and well poised, Buenos Aires is also home to some of the worst haircuts on the planet. And so many of them! I haven’t seen such a high percentage of bad mullets since West Germany met Argentina in the 1986 World Cup Final.

They’re not the classic permed-at-the-back mullet favoured by the likes of Rudi Voeller, but usually mullets that make the wearer appear to be harbouring a nest of baby rats in the back of their hair. The tails of these ratitos hang down in wisps around the back of the neck, curling up above collars and around ears. Sometimes there are many rats, sometimes just one, its tail hanging way down the back having been growing for years. And that’s what baffles me most:

Are these haircuts cultivated or not?

Now I can almost forgive – ok, I can never forgive a mullet under any circumstances, not even close – somebody growing up in Smallsville, USA or Kleine Bavaria, Deutschland having a mullet because they’ve never travelled far enough from their farms to know any better. And sometimes it even suits them. But in a metropolis that looks to the European fashion capitals of Milan and Paris for its ideas, where people care about what they wear and how they look, this is totally unforgivable.

I have seen some shocking sights that a man should not have to deal with alone! An unprecedented double mullet, where the victim had a normally obscene mullet supplemented by a huge rat-tail, bouncing like a happy snake on a trampoline as he walked down the street. I had to cover my girlfriend’s eyes in case the shock was too much for her. I have seen a man with normal short, straight hair on top and a mullet made out of one big dreadlock hanging down the back like the mud on the back of a woolly mammoth! A combination of the tow worst hairstyles that a white person can have! Truly the worst haircut on the planet! And worse – I was with somebody who knew him! They actually stopped to talk to him! I pleaded heavy shopping and left. No way could I talk to him without either laughing, asking obnoxious questions, or beating him up.

But did he know? That he had the mullet? Do any of them know? The mullet part of the hair always looks scruffy and unkempt, sometimes in complete contrast to the neatly coiffured top and the contemporary clothes. Obviously I have a theory about this, because theories are all I have. Argentina had a financial crisis a few years ago. Everybody had to make cutbacks. Hairdressers did it by saving on wear and tear of their scissors, and by selling their hand-held mirrors. They never put anything behind the heads of their customers and ask ‘Is sir happy with the back as well?’ They just cut the top and the sides and say ‘Diez pesos por favor’! The mullets are never seen so they are never known about! Everybody with a mullet in Buenos Aires walks around the city laughing at the state of all the other people with mullets and their lack of fashion sense!

Somebody needs to rectify this situation. I think that is why I was called to Buenos Aires. I shall be that hero. Tomorrow, I shall hit the streets on a Mission of Mercy, with a digital camera to show them what they’ve never seen, and a large pair of scissors.

No comments: