Val di Non Country Boys and The “Mele Mullet”

Jason’s cousin, Silvio, speaks excellent English, and he loves to insert the word ‘country boy’ into any conversation. “I am a country boy,” he’d say to us in English. “Me — a ‘country boy’.”

This was a relief for us to hear — because it’s true. Not in a derisive way, but true in the way things are just…’true’. Apples grow on: trees. Whales live in the: ocean. Young men in Val di Non are: country boys.

Being country boys, though, average things are never sufficient. Why buy five pounds of potatoes when you can buy fifty? Why take a car to the grocery when you can travel by four-wheeler? And when it comes to their hair styles, Val di Non’s country boys don’t settle.

Enter the Mele Mullet:

All Blacks - Victor Vito (soccer player), author: Geoff Trotter, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0
An example of the ‘Mele Mullet’ (All Blacks – Victor Vito (UK soccer player), author: Geoff Trotter, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0).

Why ‘mele mullet’, you ask? Well, Val di Non is apple country (‘mele’ means apples), and these haircuts were everywhere. On every young male under the age of 35. I spotted them several times—pointing surreptitiously, holding in the laughs. But they were hard to catch.

Even harder to get a photo of.

They have a particular style: party along the top of the head, short on the sides (but not Vanilla Ice short). The back, however, is where they’re different than a normal haircut: neither short like a normal men’s haircut, nor long like a regular mullet, either.

Maybe this shows my age, but to me, it was a laughable style—like a mullet that can’t quite commit. The equivalent of how a country boy throws a party, with a few cases of beer and a low-key bonfire next to someone’s barn (which I will admit is how we did it in my hometown, growing up).

You’re sort of left wondering, ‘Hey. Did they forget to cut the rest of that guy’s hair?’ Indeed, you’ve just spotted a Mele Mullet.

Jason got a Mele Mullet, once. By accident. At the parucchiera (hairdresser) in Cavareno.

Jason after a hike, the week of his 'Mele Mullet'
Jason after a hike, the week of his first and only ‘Mele Mullet’.

He asked for a hair cut…simple enough. But since he’s a male living in Val di Non, the hair stylist naturally reasoned: ‘This calls for a Mele Mullet!’ And of course Jason didn’t know to specify, ‘Regular haircut, please.’

Once he got home, he sort of sulked around the house in embarrassment the rest of the day. We had a good chuckle over it for several weeks.

So, if you happen to swing by Val di Non and you catch sight of this haircut still lingering among the valley’s country boys, snap a pic for me, would ya’? That’s if the ‘Mele Mullet’ has survived. By the time we left in 2014, the trend was evolving to this…

David Beckham
David Beckham by Kunal Shah, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Who knows, maybe by 2015 things will — yet again — have moved on.

[Featured Image Credit: Untitled scissors and comb, by bykst, licensed under CC0 1.0.]

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