Mal Prepares Another Kitchen Masterstroke
When Queenslanders Mal Gill, and his partner of nine years Bec Saul, signed up for a Reality TV Show in 2011, they could scarcely have anticipated the notoriety it would bring.
Variously famed for his updated Mal-centric coleslaw (the Malslaw), and family nickname ‘the flavour enhancer ‘ (his initials are MSG), Mal has felt the fickle twists of fame bring to the forefront another, less friendly portmanteau: Malopecia.
The short-term hair loss associated with Alopecia was sufficiently troubling for studio execs that Mal was contracted to wear a hat for the run of the show. Mal had been reluctant to be ‘the hat guy’ but ultimately realised the show presented the opportunity of a lifetime for a lover of TV and self-confessed ‘food-geek’.
From early on however Mal’s hat wearing was a cause of much controversy among Channel 7 reality TV forum users. Unaware of his medical issues, and the associated contractual obligations, many fans read Mal’s ever present berets and pork-pie’s as an affront to good ol’ fashioned common decency.
From one user: “Hey Mal would just like to let you know it is rude to wear your hat at any meal table, you are supposed to be attending restaurants, maybe you should learn some manners !!!!!
From another: “You don’t wear hats at the dinner table, didn’t your mother teach you any rules?”
And yet another: “I don’t care what his personal complaints are – why did he go on this show if he had a PROBLEM!!!”
But it was not all negative feedback, many users in fact came to the defence of the softly-spoken Queenslander.
“I actually have alopecia. It is a very difficult thing to deal with and I feel sorry for him. I have had it for the last 3 years and the first time I lost my hair, I lost it form everywhere within 2 months. I totally understand why he wears a hat. Hey guys give him a break”
And from another supporter, this: “I personally do not mind him wearing the hat – that is his style. If it was a girl everyone wouldn’t be getting all funny about it. That’s his ‘thing’ – doesn’t bother me one bit. He would look weird without that hat I think!”
Luckily for Mal the condition has since abated, allowing him to return to his pre-show hat-less-ness, with a full head of hair. Whether he looks strange without a hat, well, we will let you be the judge.
What do you think? Has Mal’s hat exposed a cultural divide between young and old? Are hat’s okay for the dinner table, or is this one social faux pas that should never be allowed?