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Manis’ mullet wins Guinness record

THE WASHINGTON POST – Tami Manis has spent more than 33 years growing a mullet that stretches five feet, eight inches – four inches longer than she is tall, and she plans to ride that business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back vibe into the afterlife.

“At my memorial, they can take it off then, and drape it across my urn,” she told The Washington Post.

In life, her mullet has brought her an increasing amount of recognition in recent years. On August 31, Guinness World Records announced that Manis, 58, had earned the record for the longest female mullet ever recorded in competition: 68 inches. Because Manis is five-foot-four, her hair sweeps the ground as a sort of mullet train when it’s allowed to flow freely, she said.

Her ever-lengthening hairstyle has become an intrinsic part of her identity over the decades, never more than after the stamp of legitimacy from the premier keeper of world records.

“Growing the longest mullet never really started out as anything other than it was the ‘80s and everybody had a rattail,” Manis said in a Guinness video. “And I started growing mine, and over the years, it’s just kept growing, so I’ve kept it.”

Manis, a nurse from Knoxville, Tennessee, started growing it on February 9, 1990, which she recognises as her “mullet birthday”. A few years before, she had seen a woman sporting a rattail in the music video for the song Voices Carry by ‘Til Tuesday and wanted one of her own. When she went to get the rest of her hair cut, the barber told her a rattail wouldn’t look good on her, but Manis persisted, according to what she told Guinness.

“Well,” she remembered telling the barber, “this is what I want.”

Tami Manis holding the Guinness World Record certificate. PHOTO: THE WASHINGTON POST

Manis rocked that look for a few years before cutting it off in November 1989. She immediately regretted it and started in earnest a few months later.

That rattail evolved into a mullet, which has been growing ever since.

Caring for the mullet is pretty simple, Manis said. She has a handheld shower head, which allows her to access all of her hair. She shampoos it every couple of days and applies a leave-in conditioner weekly. She’s used a variety of hair care products over the years, including Mane ‘n Tail, a shampoo originally designed for show horses. Regular towels leave lint, so she dries it using paper towels. Once a week, a friend braids it, in part because it now hits the floor.

“It does not frolic freely that often,” she said, adding: “Literally, my tail would be dragging.” As a nurse, Manis often draws blood. Her mullet helps distract patients who are anxious. At first, most people looking at Manis straight on don’t notice the party in the back, but when they do, it often elicits something like, “Oh my god, that’s your hair!” and the questions start coming.

Is that real? (Yes).

Are they extensions? (No).

“It gives them something to talk about. It’s a conversation piece that makes them feel at ease,” she said.

Her mullet isn’t to everyone’s liking. Most people are nice in person, but a few strangers on the Internet have bashed Manis’s hairstyle. Some have called it gross. One person sarcastically wrote, “Your mom must be so proud,” and used a vomit emoji to express their opinion.

“I’m like, okay, it’s not for everybody,” Manis said. “It’s who I am. It’s not going to change.”

Last year, Manis decided to take mulleting up a notch by competing in the “Femullet” division of the USA Mullet Championships, in which upward of 1,000 contestants flaunted their “Kentucky waterfalls” and “beaver tails” in various categories sorted by age and gender.

Manis won second place, which came with a USD300 cash prize.

Soon after, Guinness created a record for the longest mullets recorded in competitions, and Manis talked with a Guinness representative who helped set up a photo shoot. Late last year, Manis noticed what she thought was an Amazon package on her front porch. Opening it, she saw a “huge” Guinness World Records certificate. She snapped a photo and sent it to her brother, who responded with what amounts to exuberance for him, Manis said, “Cool.”

Most of the time, braiding her mullet keeps it out of the way, she added. As it relaxes over the course of several hours, her hair drops, stretching about eight inches.

Every once in a while, it’s a nuisance, requiring a slight adaptation.