As if there was not enough ugliness to deal with in 2021, celebrities have started sporting the mullet again.
It is that ghastly unflattering hairstyle — long, shaggy layers in the back, cropped on the sides and front — that everyone hoped would die with 1980s rockers or at least with the 1990s country music singers pretending to be rockers.
The style keeps raising its ugly head every now and then, mostly on celebrities who have run through other, safer avenues for shock value.
David Bowie made the mullet famous. Rod Stewart wore one, as did Chuck Norris, Paul McCartney, Mithun Chakraborty, Sanjay Dutt, Akshay Kumar, David Beckham and Billy Ray Cyrus.
David Bowie, probably the only artist for whom the mullet never seemed out of place, used it for his avatar, Ziggy Stardust.
But sometimes, the trend trickles down to the local salon, and you end up squirming in your chair when the stylist asks if you want the look of the moment. "I really hoped we would not see it again," lamented Bina Punjani, the hairstylist who runs a chain of eponymous salons and a hairdressing academy in Goa. And yet here it is.
This season, the mullet has been spotted on women and men. Miley Cyrus, copying her father's once-abysmal style, set the ball rolling.
Billie Eilish got one, reportedly to recover from a bad hair-colour job. Over the past four months, it has popped up on the heads of Zac Efron, Maisie Williams, Rihanna, drag queen Crystal Methyd and South Korean singer Yeonjun.
Netflix's Tiger King aka Joe Exotic was an early mullet adopter, showing his off when the show streamed in March.
Fashion magazines are resignedly proclaiming it the season's top style — with faded sides or brushed-up top as a contemporary touch.
To be fair, lots of communities have embraced the mullet. Around the time the Berlin Wall fell, in the late 1980s, Europe was revelling in the style.
It was popular among young lesbian women coming out in the 1990s and 2000s. Televised modelling contests (we are looking at you, Tyra Banks) often added a "mullet challenge" to see how well contestants could carry off the androgynous look.
If you have had a weak moment and fallen prey to it, consider lopping the long bits off to create a bob. If you are devoted to your hair length, try tying, braiding or pinning up the back so there are no straggled ends.
If you are looking to sport one, remember that the short bits take a long time to grow back. And the in-between phases, with errant cowlicks, bangs and a bottom-heavy shape, are not pretty either.
If you got it, regret it and nothing else is working, reach for this year's other big trend — the face mask — and just hope no one can tell it is you.