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A full short back and sides by Snipped sam
I felt particularly uneasy, knowing that Uncle Clive did not approve of the length of my hair, I was sitting in a very old fashioned barbers shop whist he was having his haircut. We were on a walking holiday in the north of England, we had always got on really well and the holiday was going splendidly, however something gave me quite a nagging feeling about this trip to the barbers.
Uncle Clive and the barber seemed to be getting on famously, I tried to concentrate on reading a magazine having offered to meet Uncle Clive later but he had insisted that I come with him. After what seemed a very long time he emerged from the barber’s chair with a very severe short haircut, he was smiling broadly so I knew he liked the finished result. The barber busied himself with the clothes brush brushing the loose hairs from Uncle Clive.
“So what do you think then Mark?”
“Very Smart “I replied quietly
“Mr Harris has done a first class job, I think
“Thank-you sir, it’s been a pleasure”
“So what do you think of Mark’s hair Mr Harris”
“Not impressed but I think I can safely say that his hair would certainly benefit with a few minutes in the barber’s chair with me attending to it”
“They tend to be my sentiments as well; Mark’s hair is not usually this length”
“I take it you do not approve sir”
“No, I do not approve”
“Then sir for this young man a full short back and sides with no arguments is called for”
“But Uncle Clive, I had my haircut a couple of weeks ago, it looks fine”
“No Mark, I am afraid it is far from fine”
“Your Uncle is the best judge of that young man”
“But it’s my hair”
“Not for much longer if I am not mistaken”
“Please Uncle Clive”
“No Mark, Its got to be done”
“But Uncle Clive”
“enough protesting from you young man, you are having your haircut ,,your Uncle has decided, so I suggest you keep quiet and behave yourself and do as you are told”
“I hope you are listening to the Barber ,Mark, you may be fifteen and think you are grown up but you still have to do as you are told and I am quite sure that you don’t want to have to touch your toes for me and have a spanking in front of the Barber do you ? “
“No, Uncle Clive”...
This would be unthinkable in 2012 but this was 1976 and exactly how boys were kept in line.
“Shall I take it from here sir?”
“If you would be so kind” Uncle Clive replied
“If you sir would like to sit in that chair there” he said pointing to one of the waiting chairs “that will give you a very good view of the haircut but the boy cannot see you in the mirror”
“Very good Mr Harris”
”That way he is less likely to be distracted, obviously I want him to be concentrating on doing as I tell him and having his haircut and keeping his head still”
“Plus it will be better for Mark as he will feel less self conscious”
“I don’t think we need concern ourselves with his feelings Sir, just the task that needs to be done”
I stood up as Uncle Clive sat down; the Barber took the long white nylon cape from the back of the chair which he had placed there after Uncle Clive’s haircut”
“You may step forward young man and sit in the barber’s chair....sit up straight and sit right back in the chair”
I did as he said and he prepared me to have my haircut the gown was tucked in very tightly, he started to comb my hair, he did this very slowly, he had his hand firmly on my head thus asserting his authority.
“So Sir, are we both in agreement on a full short back and sides”
“When you say full short back and sides Mr Harris you mean very short “
“indeed sir, cut very short all over with scissors and thinned out, no silly sideboards like he has here, and then a no nonsense clipping back and sides “
“When you say no nonsense, I think short but maybe not too severe Mr Harris”
“Very good sir, not too severe but not too lenient either” Which they both seemed to appreciate
“Right young man, I shall begin, ” he said as he picked up a pair of long steel scissors.
The haircut began, large pieces of my thick blond hair began to fall into my lap, they seemed the loudest scissors I had ever heard, snip-snip, snip- snip they went,. The barber and Uncle Clive chatted away mostly about our walking holiday, but they had really got on well whilst he cut his hair earlier, almost like old friends, in one was it felt as though I was not there, because I be not involved in the conversation, but of course I was there just to sit perfectly still, not speak so the barber could snip my hair as he talked.
I found it very uncomfortable because the barber did not brush the loose hairs away from my face which really tickled so to avoid the discomfort I tried to think of something else, as I dare not mention it or try to brush them away with hand, he did eventually give me a brush down before a selected a pair of thinning scissors,
“So far so good, young man, these will tug at your hair and you may feel some discomfort, but this is a very small price to pay for the benefits of nice well thinned out hair, is that understood”
“Yes sir” I replied meekly
“Do not move your head boy”
And he started to attack my hair, large clumps of it fell away from my head, the thinners banged my head as he worked away, once he was satisfied that he had taken enough he put them down and gave me a good brush down.”
He looked over at Uncle Clive
“Is everything to your satisfaction so far sir?”
“Defiantly Mr Harris”
“Quite a transformation Sir”
“Certainly is, with regard to the clipping he is going to have”
“Yes sir, that’s what I will be doing next, in fact I was about to bend his head down”
“I wonder if perhaps a little tickle with the clippers might suffice”
“I understand what you are saying sir, you would like me to clip the back and sides of his head lightly so it its been clipped but more of a token”
“That’s it Mr Harris “
”I must point out sir that we are due some very hot weather over the next few days and it is much better to have his hair cut as short as possible, especially if you are walking him any distance it will keep him cool and better tempered, I have a West highland terrier and last night I clipped his fur very short for the very same reason, its much kinder”
“Although Marks is not a terrier, I see exactly what you are saying Mr Harris, but I have reservations””
“I know sir you also don’t want to be the heavy handed Uncle, but the boy has the opportunity to have a very experienced barber take care of his hair, perhaps sir might like to take a little stroll for five minutes or so and leave young Mark with me”
“I think I will Mr Harris, I know what you are saying makes perfect sense but somehow I feel uncomfortable to watch it being done”
So Uncle Clive left, I had not thought for one minute that the barber would relent over the amount of clipping he was going to do, when we first went in there I had the feeling that he was far more interested in cutting my hair instead of Uncle Clive’s “
“No point in trying to make a run for it young man, this is going to happen”
“I know, I have to stay where I am until you have finished Sir”
He then placed his hand on the back of my head and bent it as far forward as he could get it, telling me to make sure I did not move at all, and not to concern myself with what he was doing .I had seen the various clippers hanging from hooks at the side of the barber’s chair and was aware he had now selected the ones to do the job.
“The cold metal touched my neck and the clippers started their journey, very smoothly up the back of my head, I could feel that the hair had fallen onto my neck, the clippers buzzed loudly and it occurred to me that as the shop door was open anyone walking past could probably hear the clippers in action, well at least in anyone looked in they didn’t know me, after giving the back of my head a very generous clipping he attended to above and round my ears, this was followed by a brush down and instructions to keep my head down as he selected a another set of clippers and proceeded to use them ,these were more uncomfortable ,they were not used nearly as high up as the first ones and I sensed they were being used for a more severe finish, then came the razor which again was very uncomfortable and at last I was instructed to lift my head up, he then took a towel and wiped my face and head and then applied some white hair dressing cream from a small jar and combed my hair precisely in place.
He then stood back and surveyed his work,
“Well young man I don’t think that could be improved on in anyway, you have a traditional boys short back and sides haircut”
“I know I didn’t want it cut, but it does really look smart Mr Harris”
“Well it’s a pity you don’t live locally then I could keep it short”
“I think I know of a barber who I have never been to before I think he might just do a similar haircut”
Uncle Clive appeared at that,
“We can take a couple of photographs of your haircut Mark and you can take them to show him before he cuts your hair”
I was then taken off the chair and brushed down by Mr Harris and Uncle Clive paid him for both haircuts ,as we were walking down the road he asked me if I now was able to see the importance of smart haircuts
“Yes Uncle Clive I do”