Borstal Boy by Snipped Sam
To cut a very long story short, I had gone into my next door neighbours' garden without permission to retrieve a ball which had gone over the fence. At fifteen I should have known better and asked their consent instead of climbing over the fence, the problem was I had damaged some plants and knocked over and broken a plant pot, and the lady who owned the house next door had informed her son who had summoned me to make my apologies. Her son was in his late forties and very stern, in spite of me saying how really sorry I was, he continued to lecture me and tell me what a bad boy I was. I knew I had really done wrong and with the year being 1973 things could be far worse than in 2015 for a fifteen year old lad who was in trouble. Mr Brownlow continued to reprimand me, and pointing out all the damaged plants he then told me that he felt very strongly that I needed to be punished severely for what I had done. Having asked me what I had to say on the subject I felt under the circumstances it was best to agree that some punishment was called for.
To my horror, he then informed me that having carefully considered the situation and although his first thoughts were that I needed to be caned, he now was of the opinion that a long lasting punishment was needed. I was going to be sent to a proper, conventional barber and was to have what Mr Brownlow called a Borstal boys haircut. I really loved my thick blond hair which covered my ears and fell over my collar, and took great pride in my appearance. I tried to plead with him, even asking him to cane me instead, to which he replied that clearly his choice of punishment was going to be the most effective by my reaction. He then advised me that everything had been arranged and I was to report to Mr Turner that afternoon, I had suspected that it would be Mr Turner, he was the only old fashioned barbers in Town and had once been a prison barber.
When I got there he knew exactly who I was, fortunately there was nobody else in his shop, and to me he seemed very old ands rather scary, rather like Private Frazer in Dads Army but without the Scottish accent. I thought the best plan of action was to be polite and appear ready to co-operate with him. He then asked me if I had ever been in borstal, to which I replied I hadn't, he then wanted to know if I knew what a borstal haircut looked like. My answer was that I imagined it would be very short, and he told me that I was about to find out. I was ordered to sit in the barber's chair and to sit up straight and face the front; he placed a white nylon cape round me and tucked it in but not tightly remarking that a few itchy hairs down my back would do me good. Having selected a pair of long steel scissors he started to remove large pieces of my hair, there was very little combing of my hair just cutting or perhaps hacking was a better description. As I faced the mirror and as I looked at myself my hair looked awful, so very short, cut very close to my head. Eventually he put down the scissors and brushed away the loose hairs and then told me to bend my head right down. I did as I was told getting my head right down, having had some very short haircuts from barbers when I was younger, I knew what was now going to happen. I wanted to jump off the chair and run away, but knew there was no point; Mr Brownlow's orders had to be carried out. I heard the clippers being taken from the hook beside me, and then heard their hum when he switched them on, they began their journey up the back of my head. He was taking them all the way up the back of my head; I could feel my hair fall away onto my neck, once he was satisfied with the back of my head he moved my head to the left and stripped away the hair above my right ear and then the left. When he put the clippers back he then revisited my head with a razor, scraping away around what was my hairline and then above my ears. Once this had been carried out my head was brushed down and he lifted my head up to face the mirror. I was so shocked; I had barely any hair left .He then remarked that I would hopefully now think twice before vandalising people gardens. Once I left the barbers I ran all the way back home, but first I had to report to Mr Brownlow. He opened the door and surveyed my haircut with glee; he asked me if I had learned my lesson and I told him I had. To my horror he called his mother to see my hair, to which she replied that my hair was long overdue for a haircut anyway and that was the best length for me. She did not consider this to be a suitable punishment and told her son that she wanted me to be slippered without further delay .With this she walked into the other room, Mr Brownlow looked really surprised at this, and it was clear to me that he considered that I had been punished for the misdemeanour. However I was sent to fetch my plimsoll and he gave me a good whacking, but this did not hurt as much as the name calling I got at school with my new haircut. I certainly was borstal boy.