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The Reward by Snipped Sam
Back in the mid 70`s I had the usual hair style for a lad of 15, over my collar and ears, long and parted in the middle,
It had taken ages to grow and I was really proud of it. As a caring lad for my age I was happy to run errands for the elderly neighbours who lived close by.
There was one particular old lady who I was quite fond of who I would collect the food for her parrot from the pet shop, it was quite a distance from where I lived but I did not mind.
As time progressed I got to know the man who ran the shop really well.
One day when I was in there he was very chatty, `Mrs Fairweather was singing your praises again Simon`,
I smiled and replied that it was no problem.
`She was asking me to arrange some sort of reward for you `
`That's kind but I am happy just to do it for her, I come here anyway to get the food for my own pets `
`It's difficult to know what lads of your age like, but there is defiantly one thing you do need, and I thought I would arrange it`
I wondered what he meant, but soon he explained his plan.
`I have arranged for you to visit the barber across the road for a haircut, it's all paid for`
`But I don't really want to get my haircut`
"Now, now Simon, I think you are being rather ungrateful, this has been arranged for you with the very best intentions”
"I don't mean to seem ungrateful Mr Woods”
"Mr White is an excellent barber; you are a very lucky lad to be going to him”
"I really hate being told to get my haircut Mr Woods”
"When did you last have your haircut Simon?”
"About a month ago "
"And how often do you usually go between haircuts?”
"About every month or so”
"So you would be getting your haircut very soon anyway”
"I suppose so Mr Woods”
"By the way Simon, I am not telling you to get your haircut, I have just arranged for you
to have you to visit the barbers”
"Still feels like I am being sent to the barbers Mr Woods”
"Only because you are making such a fuss about it Simon, now I think it would be much better if you take yourself over there now and see Mr White”
I had never been to this barbers and felt very uncertain as I opened the door.
He was reading a newspaper when I went in, he stood up and smiled and walked to the chair,
He was appeared to be quite elderly; he was tall and distinguished looking. With a handlebar moustache, this was white like his immaculately groomed hair
`The man in the pet shop sent me` I said nervously
`You must be Simon`
`Yes that's right`
`Good timing, its straight in the chair for you young Simon” ‘
He removed the folded gown from the back and placed it over his arm,
"Hang your jacket on the peg, then come and join me "
I did as he said, I then sat in the barber's chair which looked rather old compared with the haircut chairs I was used to sitting on, but it seemed very comfortable, he placed his hands on my shoulders and moved me right back in the chair.
"Fasten the top button of your shirt please young man, good lad now just rest your hand at the sides with your elbows in”
I was soon prepared for my haircut, the white nylon gown tucked in very tight.
He combed my hair,
`Don't look so worried Simon, it won't hurt`
`Can I just have a trim please? `
`You are going to be having off a bit more hair than just a trim young Simon”
"When you say a bit more off?”
He smiled and patted my head.
"Best if you stop worrying and just leave it to me Simon, it's going to look very smart”
He took the scissors from the side, they were long and very pointed, and he started snipping away at the hair on the back of my head. He chatted away to me as he cut, he was very unhurried in the way he cut my hair, taking his time to lift my hair with the comb and then snip. I began to feel more relaxed, I thought to myself what a nice man he was, even if he was probably giving me one of the shortest haircuts I had ever had. After several minutes in his chair my hair had been cut very close to my head and my lap contained a very large pile of hair.
He brushed the loose hairs from my face and neck,
`Looking rather smart Simon`
`Am I done now sir? ` Hoping he would say yes
`No Simon not yet, and I thought you seemed quite happy in the barber's chair, you even smiled when I brushed you down, and you don't look worried like you were when I first sat you in the chair”
"I was just wondering that's all”
"We want to impress Mr Woods don't we Simon”
"Yes, I suppose we do "
`Whilst he arranged the haircut for you with a view to it being noticeable that your hair has been cut, he has left it up to me to decide how short you have it”
"Much better for me to see you and then decide... has your hair been as short as this before”
'Yes, Mr White , I always used to have it cut really short, but It's been longer for nearly two years ,not always as long as it was when I came in, I have it that length for a few months though”
"Who was your barber when you had it really short?”
"I used to go to Mr Hall's before he retired”
"So you've had the clippers before then Simon”
"Yes Mr Hall always used his clippers on me”
"Why did he do that Simon?”
"Because he was mean, no, only joking Mr White, so he could get my hair really short "
"Why did you go to Mr Hall's Simon?”
"I was always sent to Mr Hall's to have my haircut and I could only go to Mr Halls'”
"He always cut my hair really short”
"So it's not just Mr Woods who would approve of your hair being really short "
"No Sir, but I'd be bit old for the clippers now Sir "
"Why do you say that Simon”
"No boy in my year at School has the clippers "
"Now I'd like you to answer me truthfully Simon, if the Headmaster of your School was here and we asked him if you were too old for the clippers what he would say?”
"I think he would like my hair just how it is Sir”
"We know the correct answer to that question don't we Simon?”
"I guess so Sir”
He opened the door of the steriliser unit and then changed the head on his clippers,
"I know Simon that you feel that you're a bit too old for the clippers but I'm afraid I don't, and unfortunately for you the decision is mine, but you are going to be clipped because it will really suit you, not to be mean or in any way unkind”
He placed his hand firmly on the back of my head and he bent my head right down, resting one hand on my head, to steady it, he turned them on and proceeded to run them up the back of my head, he took them really high; he then did above my ears. The clippers gently purred as they made my hair really short, it really felt that I was back in Mr. Hall's barber's chair, as I remembered Mr Hall always told me to bend my head down ,as had other barbers .When he moved my head back up and brushed me down. He then took his razor and shaved my neck and just above my ears. , I was amazed how smoothly it had been done. He had taken a fifteen year old who thought he was too old for the clippers and shown him that he wasn't. When he lifted my head up I could see how bare it looked around my ears.
"Just a few more snips and you are done ‘he said picking up a smaller pair of scissors
After the snips he dusted me with the brush, applied a little dab of hair cream and then generously powdered my neck. There was quite a cloud of sweet smelling dusting powder”
"Well young Simon, I think Mr Woods has certainly got excellent value for his investment in your hair, good Job I don't charge by the amount of hair I remove, what say you?”
"Seems that I have been in the chair for ages”
"It has been rather a long time Simon; would you like to see the back in the mirror?
"Yes please Mr White”
"But remember this is only to show you what has been done, not for approval or disapproval”
I was shocked how short the back was, but it finally I dawned on me that I did really like having my hair short again. I had always known deep down that I had grown my hair long just to be like other boys.
"Thank you Sir”
"For showing you the back Simon or the haircut
"The haircut Sir, Mr Woods told me that I was a very lucky lad to be going to you because you are an excellent barber”
"I know what hairstyle will suit a boy and I'm not afraid to cut it how it needs to be done”
"Unlike Mr Hall, I will not be retiring for a long time "
"That's good sir”
"Perhaps you would like to start coming here for your haircuts "
"I would sir”
"To begin with I suggest I cut your hair at least every three weeks; that way, you will get used to having your hair short again and I can keep it short”
"Fair enough Sir”
I was removed from the chair and handed a tissue to wipe my neck
"I think there will be a lot of jokes about my hair at school "
"Boys will be boys and they will joke at your expense, try not worry about it Simon”
"I will try Sir”
"I just hope it won't put you off from coming to me for your haircuts, it would be a shame if it went back to the length it was”
"It won't Sir I really want you to be my barber”
From then on in spite of lots of ribbing, I was no longer a slave to hair fashion; Mr Woods kept my hair very short for several years until my mid twenties when I moved away from the area. Although my hair has always remained very short I have never found a barber quite like Sir.