Mark has such a mean Barber by Snipped Sam
After bumping into Philip, it seemed really strange talking to him again after about three years; he had been my barber from when I was a young age. When I had reached my teens I had changed gent's hairdressers, he worked in a barbers which was owned by another man called Bryan. I didn't really like either of them much either. Saying that, I had been very difficult about having my haircut, putting my parts on when I was very young and sulking as I got older. He had recently taken over his own barbers, following the retirement of a man called Mr Harris who had previously been the barber there. It was upstairs above chemists with its own entrance with a side door. Strangely enough I had bumped into him as he came out of the chemists. Apparently his leaving Bryan's was amicable as Bryan had a son who was joining him as the second barber. He was telling me all about his new shop; he was also keen to tell me my father had been there to have his haircut.
"Your papa was telling me he hasn't been too happy with where you have been going to have your haircut recently, well for a long time. He tells me he thinks you have it far too long”
"You know what he's like he doesn't like long hair, and this is 1974 not 1954”
"He was happy when Bryan and I used to cut your hair”
"Yes I know and he really liked it when you cut it because you always cut my hair a lot shorter than Bryan did”
"No but you never liked either of us cutting your hair, never kept your head still, always difficult, always complained because it was too short”
"I know, I'm better now though because I can choose where I have my haircut, I hated being told where I have to go”
"Oh, he hasn't told you yet”
"Told me what?”
"”Since I have opened up here, your papa really likes my new premises, he also likes the idea of you having your haircuts here, particularly when I told him that he could have your hair short again with me in charge. So its haircuts from me again for you young Mark”
"But that's not fair”
"You don't really have any say in the matter, it's all decided, and you may as well come with me now, no good putting of the inevitable "
"But why now, I don't need it cut yet?”
"Maybe not just yet, if you were keeping it the length it is, but you're having a short back and sides, and I have promised someone that I will give you a short back and sides next time I see you”
"It really isn't fair”
"We can't stand here all day discussing the fairness of it all, I have a boy who must have a short back and sides, so let's get on with it”
I followed him and we went up the stairs and into the barbers after he unlocked the door. It had all been refurbished and I did think it looked really smart. Philip opened the paper bag he had in his hand which was from the chemists; cough mixture he remarked as he took a couple of spoon full's of it. He then hung up his leather jacket on the peg and put on his navy blue barber's jacket, He was in probably in his mid thirties, tall and quite slim, short brown hair, hazel coloured eyes and an immaculately trimmed beard. I was now at an age when I was really starting to find men attractive and I thought how handsome he looked
"Why don't you hang your jacket up and then make yourself nice and comfortable in the chair”
I did as he said; he smiled as he placed the cape round me and tucked it in tightly, I knew that I was defeated, the past was in the past, he was going to be cutting my hair again from now on and there was no point in being a brat again. He started to comb my hair through and he changed my middle parting to a side parting.
"Now you are my barber again, I think it's time for me to go back to having my hair short again sir "
"You're right it is time for you to go back to having your hair short, but the decision had already been made; now get your head forward”
I had always been made to have my head forward when he cut my hair, now he was again cutting my hair. He always pulled my hair tightly between his fingers and snipped it off. He used short scissors which always seemed incredibly sharp. The cutting went on for ages; my hair just fell away into my lap resting on the navy blue nylon cape. .He then took his thinning scissors and stripped my hair down; they banged on my head as he tugged away at my hair. After that he put some talcum dusting powder on his brush to remove loose hairs and gave my head a good dusting down.
"You can lift your head up for a minute”
When I did, I was not really surprised how short my hair now was,
"So far so good” he said he combed by hair into a severe parting, he told me that I must get used to parting my hair on the side again and I must not try to part it in the middle. He then picked up a bottle of Vitalis which was a popular hair tonic at that time. He placed some on the palm of his hand and then rubbed it into my hair where the parting was, he then combed it precisely into a severe parting. After rinsing his hand s and drying them on a towel, he adjusted the cape at the back and he then powdered the back of my head with the dusting powder and the above my ears brushing in lightly.
"When your papa was here and we were discussing your hair, I asked him when you last were properly clipped, he said not since Bryan and I did your hair. He was fairly flexible about it, his main concern was for you to have your hair shorter, get it up above your collar. He said he was happy to leave it to me, whatever you think: meaning me, were his words.”
"I am fifteen now "
"I know, that's why I don't want to be the bad guy who makes you have the clippers”
"So I persuaded him that it was better to have a definite policy, so we agreed that I will use the clippers sides and back for the next six haircuts I give you. "
"But you said he was happy if I had it cut above my collar”
”I think when I reminded him just how short I used to get your hair with the clippers, and then I showed him my brand new clippers, he was convinced, impress me were his words”
He reached over and took his shiny brand new electric clippers from their hook, he stood behind me and then nodded, which was always his signal for me to bend my head down. These new clippers had a really loud buzz; he was a very experienced barber when it came to using the clippers, and he ran them smoothly up the back of my head and then above my ears. It took a few minutes to complete the task and then he brushed all the loose hairs away. A little work with the razor followed then a little more dusting powder. He picked up the mirror and showed me the back; it was defiantly one of the shortest haircuts he had ever given me
"One of six, Mark” he said with a smile
"I think after this haircut and once I have had the other five, it will be clippers every time ruling: he's going to love this”
"I'm sure that of course that will happen and he is also keen for your haircuts to be a lot more regular. I think the gentle reminder that your hair needs cutting is over, you are going to be sent to the barbers, and I will suggest to him that he sends you every three weeks when I next cut his hair”
"Seems like everything is covered Sir”
"Pretty much, best get used to it and except it”
"I will do my best sir; I really don't want to be the brat anymore”
"It would be better if you weren't, just do as you are told and you will be fine, and remember you may not like your haircut, but we don't care.”
"I know sir”” he gave my ear a tug "good Lad”
As he removed me from the chair he told that he had read in the newspaper that an outbreak of head lice was happening in schools. Short hair is the best prevention; he said .I replied that there was probably no chance of me getting them now.
"Don't worry mark, I'm sure it won't happen, but if it does, we'll send you to Bryans to have your head shaved.....that was a joke mark”
"Right, Ok a joke”
"Of course Mark, your barber would do that for you, nothing to worry about, just a little tickle with the razor” he said with a big smile
From then on, at the start of my haircuts he first checked my head for lice enjoying my total agony, especially when he reached over and picked up the razor and opened it out to brandish the blade,
"Only joking marky,I think perhaps a short back and sides for you today” He would say with a massive grin on his face