Mullets and neck fur make for hair-raising adventures |

Mullets and neck fur make for hair-raising adventures

Call it hat hair, hood hair or just a plain old bad hair day, I’ve been having episodic hair events a lot lately. My first permanent winter in snow country has proven to be challenging for my “do.”Not that I do have a “do,” at least not anymore. Yes, I admit, back in the ’80s I sported a mullet. Not so much Billy Ray Cyrus as Bono-Euro-rocker hair. Without the help of any gel, goo or creme products, my “do” was an immovable object (and, now that I think about it, water repellent). You see, my hair doesn’t really get long as it just goes big. Call it helmet hair or a “fro,” if I don’t get sheared often my “do” is more a “doesn’t.” Donald Trump got nuthin’ on me.Looking back, I never had “cool” hair. One of my older brothers had “cool” hair: straight and long enough that he could “feather” the sides. If the Bay City Rollers ring a bell, you remember “cool” hair (and yer gettin’ old). My oldest brother has really curly hair. I, on the other hand, inherited a combo of my dad’s curly mane and my mom’s straight locks. My hair was the envy in elementary school – envied by the women who’d try to run a comb through it before the class pictures that is. They’d tell me my hair had “body.” To an 11 year old, “body” ain’t cool.Over the intervening years I lost the need to sport mullet/wannabee-hippie hair. I had long since dropped the idea that I needed to have long locks to let my freak flag fly. I realized that when I let my hair go I just ended up looking like a freak.About 10 years ago I lived in Placerville. There in an old strip mall was a place I could get my hair cut for like $3.50, or $5.50 or some wonderful price, I don’t quite remember. It was a good ol’ barbershop, usually inhabited by a bunch of old guys waiting to get their couple of hairs trimmed (or to checkout “Playboy” in peace). The old guy who cut those hairs was missing a couple of teeth, had a faded anchor tattoo on his forearm and yellowing photos on his walls of him posing with gnarled-nosed boxers and b-list celebrities.He also wielded foot-long shears that looked like they came from a sheep ranch. You can well imagine the haircut I got from that retired Navy swabbie-cum-pugilist-cum-stylist. But hey, it’s only hair, it grew back. And it only cost $3.50! (or $5.50 or whatever). That’s a deal in my book.Now that leads me to this winter here in Truckee. It’s been busy, and I just haven’t had my hair cut as often – at least once a month – as I’ve had in the past. Plus it’s been kinda chilly, and I figure that extra insulation up there helps keep my brain from freezing.But probably the biggest hurdle to getting my haircut is I just haven’t found the right place yet. One establishment was full of nice women, but it cost 30 bucks. Not a great deal in my book, despite the relaxing shampoo and all.Then there’s the venerable Manstyle Barbers downtown. John Curtis and his place are perfect for the editor of the newspaper to get scoops. While Curtis is a great guy, unfortunately he is the only guy. The first time I went into his shop I had to make an appointment – a week later.So I sit here self-consciously as my hair grows. But at least it’s winter here in Truckee and I can wear big winter coats with collars and throw on a hat or hood to hide my hair. And who really cares what you look like when you’re shoveling snow for 45 minutes? The problem arises when I’m inside at some public place and need to take those things off. The other night I wore a v-neck sweater to dinner. When I went into the bathroom I was shocked to look in the mirror and see that the back of my neck was furry. That body fur, my aspiring “fro,” and my stooped over back from shoveling snow for 45 minutes made me feel like Neanderthal Man Jr.And it made me think that winter coats are cool – if they’re from the Northface or on a dog – not on the back of one’s neck.Jamie Bate is the editor of the Sierra Sun. He can be reached at

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