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My Haircut Plan by CrewCut Ken

It was 1975 and I was 11 years old. My best friend was the same age as me and lived next door. His mum and dad were divorced and he lived with his mum, who worked full time so that during the school holidays he had to stay at his grandma's house until his mum came home from work. He was allowed to come round to our house, just not allowed in his own house by himself.

During the start of the school holidays my friend said he was going to get a haircut the next day as he would be going to stay with his dad out of town for two weeks. I declared that I too was due to get a haircut so we would go together and he agreed to come round to mine the next morning and then we would go to the barbers. We both had long hair covering our ears and long at the back, in keeping with the style of the time.

The next morning there was a knock at my door and when I opened it I noticed that my friend had already had his haircut. I asked why he hadn’t waited and he replied that as he was cycling past the barbers on his way here from his grandma's house, he noticed quite a few people waiting so he thought he would get it cut before it got even busier. He then added that by the time he left, the barbers were really full and I had better wait until later to get my hair cut. I replied that I wanted to get it cut early so that we had the rest of the day to go to the park.

I had a plan that my friend did not know about. I had intended to get my hair cut short and thought he would have been really surprised if we had been at the barbers together. I then decided that I would go along with my plan and it could work out even better. I told my friend that as our usual barbers was too busy I would have to get it cut at another barbers, which only meant Percy Wilson at the opposite end of our road. Now this barber was notorious for only giving short haircuts and my friend looked at me a little concerned, asking "are you sure?". I replied that I needed a haircut this morning so I didn’t have any choice.

We set off on our bikes and parked them outside of the barbers. I asked my friend if he would wait outside and look after our bikes, as it was quite a busy area. This also helped with my plan as he would not hear what haircut I asked for.

I went inside and there was only one old man getting his hair cut. When he was finished giving the old man the shortest haircut I had ever seen I got into the chair. The barber caped me up, highered the chair and combed through my long hair, before asking how short did I want it cut. Not "how would you like it" or "how much would you like cut" but "how SHORT did I want it?" I replied that I wanted a short back and sides. With that the barber picked up his scissors and lifting long lengths of my hair with his comb began cutting long locks of my hair off. He continued revealing my left ear, then my right, before hacking off the hair at the back. He then took out his thinning shears and really went to town thinning my hair on top. He then picked up his scissors and took the length down on the top. Finally, he picked up a pair of clippers and just neatened the hair line around my ears and at the back. I was quite surprised as though it was short (and incredibly short in comparison to how I had arrived) it was not as short as I'd expected. It was certainly not as short as when my dad used to bring me here when I was younger. I thanked the barber, paid him and left the shop.

My friend stared at me and I pretended that I was upset about the haircut. Blaming him that if he'd waited for me I would not have had to come to this barber and end up with a short back and sides! We rode back to my house where I said I needed to change my shirt as I had hairs down my neck. I went to my room and took off my shirt, leaving my vest and went back downstairs to my friend. He was laughing at my hair cut and I continued to pretend to be mad with him about it, but declared that it would soon grow back. He replied that when my dad saw my haircut I might not be allowed to grow it back.

Whilst we both previously had fashionable haircuts, that was where the similarity ended. My friend wore trendy t-shirts and jeans, whereas I did not yet have a pair of long trousers. Instead I wore knee-length grey short trousers, accompanied by knee-high dark grey nylon socks. These were worn with plain black slip-on shoes for school and white lace-up plimsolls for play, unlike my friend who had Adidas trainers. My dad was a traditionalist and it was quite a surprise that my mum had persuaded him to let me grow my hair in the first place.

Later that week my friend went to stay with his dad for two-weeks, which he did every summer.

As soon as he returned from his dad's my friend called around for me. My mum opened the door and told him I had gone to get a haircut but wouldn’t ne long. My friend told my mum he was surprised as my hair had been cut so short just before he went away. My mum replied that I had got used to it short and had decided to keep it that way. At this point I arrived home and my friend let out a gasp when he saw me. I had asked the barber to cut it a lot shorter than the last time and he was more than happy to oblige! He pushed my head forward and ran the clippers (without any guard on them) right up the back, leaving stubble in its path. He repeated this on both sides of my head, as high as my temples. He then took his thinning shears to the top of my head, before regular scissors reduced the length on the top then blended the clipped back and sides with the longer hair on top. He then rubbed hair tonic into my hair and combed in a ruler-straight side parting. My hair was short the last time I got it cut, but this time it was brutally short.

My friend said he was shocked but I told him to get used to it as I would be getting it cut that short from then on. He also questioned what I was wearing? I had on a white vest, grey knee-length trousers, dark grey knee-high socks and a new pair of stout black army-style boots and I replied that this was what I wore all the time now.

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