From Junior School to Seniors by CrewCut Ken
It was England, the year was 1975 and I was 13, about to move from Junior to Senior school. Throughout juniors I had to wear short trousers, unlike most of my friends who wore trendy long flared trousers even for school. When I say short trousers they actually reached down to the middle of my knees, which accompanied by long knee-high dark grey socks ensured that only my knees were visible and were the only part of my legs to get a tan in the summer! But I was to be allowed my first pair of long trousers for the start of senior school.
Also unlike most of my fashionable friends, not only were my trousers short, but so was my hair. I went to the barbers with my dad every three-weeks and received a very old fashioned short back and sides. The sides were clipped to the skin as high as my temples at either side and clipped as high at the back. The top was always severely thinned out, blathered in hair tonic then scraped to the side with a ruler straight side parting. My friends on the other hand went to unisex salons and had long feathered locks.
A week before school was due to start, I went with my dad to purchase my new clothes for school. On our way dad said that we would go to the barbers first and I would get my back to school haircut. I asked that as I was getting long trousers could I also keep my hair a little longer. The answer was an un-resounding no and my dad got the barber to give me an even more brutal short back and sides than usual.
After the barbers we saw a school friend of mine and his dad on our way to the clothes shop, which was opposite the barbers. He had on a new pair of flared denim jeans, which his dad had bought him for starting senior school. As our new school did not have a uniform policy my friends would be able to wear what they liked, including flared jeans. I asked my dad if I could get jeans instead of school trousers, but as expected he refused. We entered the shop, which was an old fashioned gent's outfitters and dad went over to the school uniform section. I reminded him that the school did not have a uniform and asked again if I could get a pair of jeans like my friends. Again an absolute refusal and dad selected a pair of narrow legged dark grey school trousers (at least they were long trousers). Dad also bought me two grey school shirts, a grey tie and a grey sleeveless pullover. I thought I might get short socks to go with my long trousers, but dad selected the usual knee-high dark grey school socks, with two stripes on the turnovers.
We then went to pick out my outfits for PE and Games. Dad had said I could continue to wear my vest and underpants for PE, but needed a new pair of 'sannies' (sand-shoes or plimsolls). The standard plain black, slip-on variety were selected as usual. Dad said I could also wear these for Games, but would need a kit and football boots. A round necked, long sleeved dark green top was picked out along with a pair of black baggy shorts (again knee-length) and a pair or long woollen socks, which were also dark green. The football boots my dad selected were hideous, I was surprised the store still stocked them they were so old fashioned (in fact they were probably the same type my dad wore when he was at school!) Unlike modern football boots, which resembled trainers in style (other than the studs), these were actually boots that covered my ankles.
After paying for our purchases we went next door to the 'Clarks' shoe shop. Here I had my feet measured in the machine and dad selected the most old-fashioned shoes in the shop, plain black lace-ups with low heels.
The first day of school arrived and whilst I was pleased to have moved on from the short trousers, I would still be out of step and the only one of my friends to be wearing a uniform.
The new school was a little further away than the old junior school and I had arranged to cycle to one of my friends who lived closer and walk to the school with him from there. I parked my bike in his garden and knocked on the back door. He answered it dressed in flared jeans, a purple wide-collared paisley print shirt and a pair of fashionable trainers. His long feathered hair was immaculate and we couldn’t have looked more different.
We arrived at the school and assembled in the hall to be placed in our various classes. I looked around and I appeared to be the only boy in the entire non-uniform school not wearing jeans. I was also the only boy dressed entirely in 'school-grey', the only boy wearing a tie and I had the shortest haircut of anyone, by a long way.
I didn’t get put into a class with any of my friends or even other boys from my junior school. Every boy in my class had long hair and wore flared jeans and they all took the mick out of my haircut, trousers and shoes. I met up with my friends at lunch break and they had all got on well in their respective classes. At the end of the school day I walked with my friend back to his house and picked up my bike to cycle home. If I thought my day couldn’t get any worse I was wrong. My trouser leg got caught in the chain on my bike and I got thrown to the ground. My chain had come off, I had oil on my socks and my trousers were torn. I tried to get the chain back on my bike but it wouldn’t have it, so I had to walk it home.
When I wheeled my bike down the garden path my dad asked what had happened. I told him and when he saw the state of my trousers he gave me a serious bollocking, which was followed by six of the best with his leather belt across my bare bottom.
My mum looked at my trousers and said she would get her needle and thread out.
The next morning, I looked for my trousers but couldn’t find them. Dad said Mum had not been able to mend them and I would have to wear an old pair for the time being. I only had the one pair of long trousers and an old pair would mean a pair of the knee-length school trousers I had worn at junior school. Oh the joy, if the first day at school wasn’t bad enough I now had to endure the next day in short trousers. My friend even took the mick when I turned up at this house and the boys in my class were merciless.
I complained about it when I got home and asked for some more long trousers. My mum and dad said it would have to wait until the weekend, so I had the rest of the week to endure the torments in my knee-length trousers with knee-high socks.
Finally, the weekend arrived and dad took me to the gent's outfitters. I could not believe my misfortune as the shop did not have the trousers in my size and they would have to order them in. I would have to continue wearing the short trousers for the foreseeable future.
On leaving the shop dad said he needed a haircut and we headed to the barbers. There were two barbers that worked there, an uncle and his nephew. The nephew was in his fifties and the uncle in his seventies. Today it was just the uncle in the shop and the old man in his chair was having his hair severely clipped up the back and sides of his head, but nobody else was waiting. Dad hung up his jacket and we took seats. The barber soon finished with the old man, who had been given a really close haircut, with the back and sides actually shaved quite high and dad took his place. He always had a short back and sides, which on this occasion was even shorter than usual and as severe as the old man that had just left (the uncle always gave more severe haircuts than the nephew). He thanked the barber and got out of the chair, I got up and was about to leave, when dad said I needed to get in the chair and get tidied up. I tried to argue that I only had a haircut a couple of weeks ago, but dad was adamant. I got in the chair, the barber put the cape on and dad gave the instructions to cut it as short as his. The clippers roared to life and the little hair I had was soon history. The back and sides were already the shortest I ever had and the barber hadn’t finished yet. He spread shaving foam around my ears and the base of my hairline at the back and proceeded to shave with an old cut-throat razor, until my haircut matched my dad's and the old man before him. The barber asked my dad if it was short enough and unbelievably dad asked the barber to shave it even higher. The barber then spread more shaving foam around my ears and at the back. He then shaved a good inch above my ears and the same height straight around the back. The barber then took his clippers and clipped the hair at the back and sides above the shaved areas. He put his clippers back and picked up his thinning shears, with which he attacked the top to such an extent that when he combed my hair he was unable to make a parting. He then combed my hair forward and snipped my fringe high on my forehead. He then cut more of the length on the top so that it was a uniform length, the same length as the short fringe he had just created and then combed my hair forward without a parting. This was the shortest haircut I had ever had, actually more like a crewcut than my usual short back and sides and I could imagine the reaction from my class at school. My hair was cropped extremely short and I still had to wear the knee length shorts with long socks.
As expected the torments were ceaseless on my first day back at school, but eventually subsided. I got my long trousers the following weekend and made sure I wore 'bike-clips' whenever I rode my bike! The haircut on the other hand was to stay, as dad made sure I always got the uncle and a good scalping ensued!