Business In The Front Party In The Back
Business in the front party in the back is an idiom used to refer to the mullet haircut, which resembles a rather professional (business) look from the front side, and a rather goofy, funky (party) appearance from the rear side.
In the mullet hairstyle, the hair is cut short in the front, but long in the back, therefore jokingly described as “business in the front, party in the back.” When using the idiom, the mullet haircut is sometimes considered to be an object of ridicule.
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The expression originally was used during the Prohibition-era in the United States, in a more literal sense. Back then, it was a common occurrence in urban environments that various business establishments operated hidden back rooms for various recreational purposes, while maintaining legitimate business in the front.
It is not certain who exactly came up with the idea of applying business in the front party in the back as reference to the mullet hairstyle, but the two things surely came in relation with each other during the 1980s, when mullet was massively popular in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.
Spread and Usage
As a joke, business in the front party in the back revolved around in the English-speaking communities since the 1980s, but up until recently, the expression was steadily disappearing from public lingo.
Online, various memes have been created that often show extreme versions of mullet, featuring the idiom to mock the hairstyle in the 2010s, usually in an image macro format.
From 2020, the mullet began to be a fashionable haircut among younger generations, which resulted in an increased amount of online search interest, according to Google.
- Kansan.com – Business in the front, party in the back: The journey of the mullet
- Medium.com – Five mullets that rock my world
- Thenationalnews.com – A brief history of the mullet: ‘Business up front and party at the back’