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The Botright Special by Snipped Sam

My interview with the headmaster was about to take place, I was at the end of the first year of the sixth form and I had been appointed head boy for the following year, which I considered it to be a great honour. The door of the headmaster’s office opened and he asked me to come in. He sat down behind his desk and invited me to sit down.

"Ready for the challenge of being the new head boy Watson, an important year for you, 1977 the year you became our new head boy"

"I will do my very best Sir"

"Good to hear Watson, of course everyone expected Anderson to get the job and not you, but with you being the outsider you will be more willing to prove yourself and also work with me and the other masters"

I was a little taken aback by the headmaster’s bluntness but understood what he meant, the conversation continued about what was expected of me the following year and how he would support me. In addition to this he spoke at length at what large shoes I had to fill in following Taylor my predecessor who had been what the headmaster referred to as an outstanding head boy. His parting shot on leaving his office was the most surprising though

"In view of the amount of faith I have placed in you Watson, I shall expect your cooperation on my war with the length of the boy’s hair in this school"

"My cooperation Sir?"

I replied a little unsure in what he meant

"Set a good example Watson, start back in September with a good short back and sides there’s a good chap"

"But Sir, Taylor never had his hair short"

"Mr Botright is the man, Watson … I take it you know where to find him"

"I do Sir, my stepfather goes to him"

I was dismissed, with plenty to think about, especially about going to Mr Botright, my stepfather who I called Uncle Ralph had for the last two years since becoming my stepfather wanted to exercise a little more control with the length of my hair. He had on a number of occasions said that it would be better if I went Mr Botright’s instead of my usual hairdressers which to date I had ignored.
The summer holidays passed very quickly and the start of term was getting closer, one morning at breakfast Uncle Ralph remarked whilst buttering his toast.

"School starts on Monday Nick; the new head boy is going to be needing to have his haircut before then"

"Don’t worry Uncle Ralph, it’s getting taken care of"

"Pleased to hear it Nick, I just wish I could persuade you to go to my barbers"

"I have a 3.30 P.M appointment with Mr Botright today, I know how there are long waits sometimes before returning to school and he does appointments on a Thursday"

"Oh well done, I’m impressed Nick"

Three thirty that afternoon was fast approaching, when I had telephoned to make the appointment and spoken to Mr Botright in a way it seemed it seemed a bit unreal, but now I was making my way to Talbot Street. I arrived and of course whilst I had never set foot in there knew exactly where it was, taking a deep breath I opened the door and went in. Mr Botright was engaged in cutting the hair of an older gentleman, he looked over at me and said

"Good afternoon"

"Hello, I’m Nick Watson for the 3.30"

"Take a seat Nick, you are a little early for your appointment"

"Oh Sorry" I replied nervously

"Not at all Nick, it’s a very good start"

I noticed that the clock on the wall said just before twenty past three so I sat here waiting for the time to pass. The shop was very traditional as was Mr Botright, a man perhaps in his early fifties, extremely smart in his appearance, tall and slim with short balding ginger hair. Just after twenty-five past the man had been attended to, and paid for his haircut and was leaving.

"I’m ready for you Nick"

I followed Mr Botright to the barber’s chair and sat down,

"So, are you the same Nick Watson who is going the be the new head boy at our Grammar School?"

Mr Botright enquired whilst draping the navy-blue cape around me to prepare me for my haircut.

"Yes, that’s right but how did you know?"

"Mr Dale your headmaster was sitting in the very same chair you’re in now earlier on today and he mentioned that I should be meeting the new head boy…his names Watson he said"

"That’s me"

"That’s something to be proud of Nick"

"I suppose it is"

"I am sure that you know it is Nick and of course I know your step father very well too…he called in on his way past at lunch time to say you were coming to see me…seemed very pleased that you were too"

"Oh, did he?"

I was wondering what else Uncle Ralph had said and also what input Mr Dale had added into my haircut, by now my hair had been dampened with water and combed

"So, what’s it going to be young man?"

"Well I think we both know I am here to have it short"

"Yes, Nick I rather think you are"

He said selecting a pair of scissors

"How about the Botright special?"

"Is that very short Mr Botright"

"That was a little joke Nick…there is no Botright special but I do know just what Mr Dale is wanting for you haircut wise"

This was exactly as I thought was going to happen and I knew that I had to go along with it, my status as head boy would make a number of people in the family very happy and proud .Even now I felt the position still to be a little precarious with Keith Anderson my deputy still very much suited for the role of head boy.

"I guess what Mr Dale wants is what it’s going to be"

"I think so Nick"

Said Mr Botright as he started to lift my hair with the comb and snip it with the scissors, my fair hair was quite wavy when it grew beyond an inch and a half or so, and it was certainly not that long compared with some young men my age. Falling an inch or so over my collar and covering my ears and parted in the middle, but now this was all under threat as Mr Botright’s scissors snipped away. Here I was almost six-foot-tall, head boy of my school but I was having my haircut short just as I had before I started as first year at the school. Mr Botright was very chatty though and conversation flowed freely

"So, what did my stepfather say should happen with my hair?"

"Not that much really Nick, although he did say that sometimes when you have had your haircut it’s pretty hard to see if it’s really been cut at all, so he is hoping to see that something a bit more noticeable been done today"

"Well he won’t be disappointed, will he?"

"No, I don’t think he will be disappointed at all, but he doesn’t know just how short you are having it"

"So, you didn’t tell him then?"

"I said that he will be very pleased with the results"

"Umm…. I am sure but not sure I will be though Sir"

"Not much I can do about that Nick old son, best you grin and bear it"
By now as I faced directly in the mirror, there was no hair at the back showing, the hair which covered my ears had gone and my hair on top had been cut very close to my head and he had changed my middle parting to a side parting. After a good brush down of my face and neck with the soft haired nylon brush, Mr Botright adjusted the cape at the back and smoothed the cape on my shoulders

"Almost done Nick, but not quite and we are going to need to have your head popped down"

"Oh no" I replied

"And down we go" he said swiftly placing his hand on the back of my head and bending my head as far forward as he could, electric clippers were selected and switched on and they approached the back of my head.

"Nice and still for me old lad"

He said as he started to clip the back of my head, he moved them smoothly and skilfully up the back of my head, I could feel my hair falling away, by the time he worked above my ears the metal blade had warmed up considerably, my head was still bent forward when he brushed my head down and the clipped off hair fell onto my cape covered lap and knees. He then scraped my neck and around my ears with his cut throat razor, after telling me to lift my head he used a small brush to define my side parting, before taking an aerosol can of hairspray and giving my hair a good spray. Next came the dusting powder ... clouds of it on my neck and down the back of my collar. He took the mirror and showed me the back of my head which was severely clipped.

"And that Nick is how a head boy should have his hair cut"

"Yes Mr Botright …. not what I had in mind but I know at least two people who will really like it"

"Perhaps we will call it the Botright Special after all...just for you Nick!!"

"I think we probably will Sir"

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