Engineering sophomore Stephen Krause has had the same hairstyle since he was 6 years old. His smooth, blond hair is cut at about an even inch, except above the nape of his neck, where the hair flows past his shoulders.
Krause sports a hairstyle widely known as the mullet. His dedication to the style has earned him the moniker “Mullet Steve” among his high school and college peers.
“Over time it’s evolved into part of how people identify me,” he said.
The party on the back of Krause’s head was born on Halloween 1993, when Krause grew out his hair to emulate his older brother. Krause’s brother had topped off his Revolutionary War soldier costume with an authentic ponytail. After Halloween, Krause’s brother cut off the extra hair. Krause didn’t.
And over a few months, the thin lock of hair he originally grew at the nape of his neck widened into a mullet.
“It defies logic, really, but I just stuck with it,” he said.
During elementary school, when bowl cuts or short, gelled styles were en vogue, Krause said his classmates taunted him for his deviant hairstyle.
Krause, who found his elementary school friends among other Star Trek fans, said he didn’t feel a need to conform to popular norms.
Krause said people on campus are more accepting of his mullet.
“Random people will sometimes come up to me and compliment it,” he said. “People see in it me doing my own thing, not letting people dictate what I do.”
Krause still encounters the occasional naysayer, though. Krause was offended when one student offered him money to let her cut his hair. He declined.
Still, the mullet does need trimming occasionally. It has grown to reach the middle of Krause’s back before – when it gets that long it tends to tangle and snag on objects.
Krause’s hair isn’t the only reason he’s a recognizable figure on North Campus, where he lives and attends most of his classes. He is usually the only person wearing shorts while waiting for the bus in winter. He said he doesn’t get cold.
“Standing out at the bus stop, I’ll hear ‘Oh my God, is he wearing shorts?’ ” he said. “Sometimes I make a snow angel just to get that extra ‘Oh my God’ factor.”