A Love Letter to the ’90s Bob That Changed Everything
July 15, 1998. It was the hair flip seen round the world. “Is that . . . is that hair gel?” asks Cameron Diaz as her carefree character Mary, the perfect girl who is perfectly nice to every man she meets in the now-iconic Farrelly Brothers comedy There’s Something About Mary. The audience, along with her date Ted (Ben Stiller), watches in horror as she grabs the goop hanging from his left earlobe and finger-combs it through her choppy blonde bob. What can only be described as a rubberneck-inducing, Alfalfa hair situation ensues, rendering her date-night vibe—a formfitting V-neck pink dress and no-makeup makeup look—virtually irreparable.
Until the next scene, of course, when Mary’s lack of self-absorption turns back from cringe-inducing to charming—a characteristic that wins her an eclectic group of admirers: Healy (Matt Dillon), the bucktoothed private eye with a dirty mouth and mind; Tucker (Lee Evans), her English architect friend with a limp who is really a pizza boy named Norm; Brett Favre (pronounced “Fah-ver-ah”) who, sadly, simply didn’t play for her favorite football team, the San Francisco 49ers, and thus didn’t make the cut. And then, of course, there were her legions of real-life fangirls—a generation of adoring moviegoers who instantly fixated on her most scene-stealing asset: that crisp, clean, dazzlingly uncomplicated haircut.
As effortlessly effervescent as Mary herself—a knockout tomboy with a killer downswing who sent golf balls streaking down the driving green in her spare time—Mary’s freshly chopped lengths framed impossibly high cheekbones. The sunny, sporty crop often called for a hair accessory or two (think: tortoiseshell headbands, oversize sunglasses, small plastic hair pins placed just inches from her side part—very ’90s prep). There was bedhead Mary, who Healy was most fond of, her rock-hard body impossible to miss under her see-through ribbed tank top. But it’s hair-flip Mary, in all her innocent, (seemingly) squeaky clean glory, who remains etched fondly in greater pop culture’s mind. Here’s to 20 years!