Uncle Gwyn by Snipped Sam
The barber took the electric clippers from a hook
"Right boy, let's see how far you can bend your head down”
I knew how important it was to get this right so I bent my head down as far as I could
"Just a touch further down for me boy”
So I did as he said
"That will do fine, be sure to keep your head very still, so I will be able to strip down the hair on the back and sides of your head to make your hair really short”
My Uncle Gwyn stood at the side of the chair,
"You don't mind if I smoke?” he asked the barber "I really feel at this moment I would enjoy one "
"Not at all Sir”
I heard him light a cigarette,
"Sorry would you like one?”
"Don't mind if I do sir thank you "
Uncle Gwyn then offered the barber a cigarette from the packet then gave him the lighter and the barber also started to smoke.
"The brat can wait "Uncle Gwyn said with distaste about me.
I was Staying with my aunt and her two daughters ,my cousins for a couple of weeks during the summer of 1982, I was just fifteen and was really proud of my lovely thick blond hair which was cut very neatly in a wedge style which was very fashionable. My aunt had remarried two years before, Uncle Gwyn her new husband had taken it upon himself during this stay to be more assertive with me. He explained to my aunt that she was just used to girls and boys especially at my age needed a very firm hand for their own good. My aunt who clearly loved him agreed with what he said, and explained to me that my uncle had my best interests at heart and I must be a good boy and do as he said.
At breakfast that morning, my cousins asked if I wanted to go swimming with them, Uncle Gwyn immediately put paid to that by saying that I would not be able to go with them
"Paul will be coming into town with me this morning, yes I know girls you wanted him to come swimming with you, but he needs to go to the barbers, Don't forget you are all coming to watch me play cricket tomorrow and so I Paul to look smart, that's why I am taking him to the barbers. "
I started to argue with my uncle and really put my parts on, including swearing at him in front of my aunt and cousins .My aunt was really angry with me, eventually I calmed down and I realised that it was not negotiable and that I was going to have to do as I was told. I was sent upstairs to wash my face as I had been crying. When I came down I had to apologise to my aunt and cousins and Uncle Gwyn.
"you see girls Pauls dreadful behaviour has got him nowhere, he still has to go to the barbers only now he is going to have his hair cut shorter than it was originally going to be cut You will all be out when we get back, but for swearing and being so rude to everyone Paul must learn that behaviour like that is unacceptable and it will not be tolerated in this house. I am going to take a plimsoll and slipper his bottom and it's no more than he deserves”
So it was this chain of events that had led to me being sat in the barber's chair where this story began. My Uncle Gwyn had stood beside me during the haircut so far, which had seen nearly all my blond hair unceremoniously chopped off by the barber .When I had sat in the chair he asked the barber to give me a really good short back and sides, nothing fancy, just really short in fact the shorter the better. During the haircut he told the barber about my behaviour earlier, who used words like disgraceful and dreadful boy .After a few puffs on the cigarette the barber placed it in ashtray not far from the chair.
"I think we might enjoy this Sir "he said as turned the clippers on, he ran them up the back of my head a couple of times.
"Would you like to have a go sir?”
"I have never used clippers before but I would under the circumstances like to "he said placing his cigarette in the ashtray
"Take the clippers sir, rest your other hand on the top of his head and hold it firmly so he can't move it and clip just there, and up as far as I have "I felt the barber point to my head Uncle Gwyn began to clip.
"Press firmly Sir, Well done sir; you would make a good barber, now do the other side”
"This is great, but I better let you have the clippers back, the way I am feeling towards him I will scalp him.”
"Very good sir "he said taking the clippers back, and carried on clipping the back and then started above my ears
"Is his hair short enough for you sir "
"Looks really good, I was just thinking, when I was a boy, sometimes my father used to get the barber to shave my hair off about an inch just above the top of my ear, so I had bare skin there”
"That really is going for the full short back and side's sir”
"It wasn't every time, but sometimes when he took me to the barbers he liked to have it done,
"Well sir with the boy having such fair hair, it would look very smart if that's what you would like done”
"I feel that perhaps it should be done, my father always taught me to take a pride in my appearance, that's why I always have my own hair cut short. "
"And it does you credit sir”
The barber now was soaping up a shaving brush in a shaving mug; he applied to shaving soap above my ears and at the back of my head.
"I will shave above his hairline as well so it's evenly short,”
He then proceeded to shave the hair off above my ears as requested an inch above the top of my ears and then the back of my head above the hairline. When he had finished the barber took a towel and wiped my head thoroughly. He then powdered my neck and around my ears.
"Well sir, are you happy with the result”
"Defiantly, thank you”
"A good suggestion sir, well done”
I was taken down from the chair and handed a tissue to wipe my face,
"Go and sit on the chair over there, I am going to now have my haircut and my moustache trimmed for tomorrow "Uncle Gwyn said as he then sat himself in the barber's chair.
I sat there quietly not daring to look at him in the barber's chair. After several minutes he too came off the barber's chair, he looked really handsome with his hair so neatly cut and his moustache shaped above his top lip. He paid the barber for our haircuts.
"Right Paul, We need to get you home and so I can slipper you before your aunt and cousins return, we have plenty of time so don't worry. Once you have reflected on your behaviour If you are a good lad I will then take you swimming”
"Thank you sir”
The next day at the cricket match, Uncle Gwyn's friends were very complimentary about my haircut.
"Yes Paul and I went to the barbers yesterday, he was a little surprised at first how short it is, but I think he's starting to really like it aren't you Paul ?”
"Yes Uncle Gwyn, it's perfect for this hot weather”
"I even got to do some of the clipping”
"A new skill Gwyn, you should get yourself some clippers, practise on Paul” Joked one of his cricket friends "and couple of them laughed really loudly
Later on Uncle Gwyn reassured me that he was not planning to start cutting my hair, leave it to the professionals Paul”
"Yes Uncle Gwyn, but I know that next time I come to stay and you say I am going to the barbers, you know best Sir”
In spite of the events of the previous day, I was starting to fall a little in love my handsome uncle.