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What is a crew cut? by Aussie John
John found himself standing on a footpath outside a nondescript barber shop in central London on a grey day in 1990.
It was the end of a quest for a particular haircut which had lasted around 30 years,
Just three hours earlier, he had arrived by 747 jumbo jet at Heathrow after a 22-hour journey from his native Australia,
The first-time overseas solo traveller had beaten the inevitable jetlag and was intent on achieving a personal goal.
After booking in to a plain hotel, John was determined to part with his shoulder-length hair.
He was aching with anticipation to have the clippers run over his full head of hair for the first time in his life.
From the age of six, he wanted to have a crew cut which was the trendiest of styles in the 1960s.
His best friend at school had an enviable carpet of perfectly shorn hair as did the American astronauts and TV star Dobie Gillis.
One of John’s favourite teachers wore a flat-top with a shaved landing strip.
However, his old-fashioned parents ruled that John had to wear a traditional cut with a side part.
Sure, the clippers were used on his sides and back and John had often fantasised about the barber losing concentration and running them over the top.
By the time John was in his teens, the 1970s had dawned and so had the era of long hair.
However, the desire for close-cropped hair remained with John.
He was amazed when John Lennon and Yoko Ono briefly became skinheads as part of a peace protest.
During his secondary school years, a friend of John’s also unwillingly became a skinhead.
He had fallen over a ladder and suffered a deep gash to his scalp.
The wound required stitches and necessitated a shaved head and John was somewhat jealous of his friend’s predicament.
At the end of 1980, John graduated from university and secured a teaching job at a prestigious private school in inner Sydney.
Extreme haircuts were prohibited by the headmaster and John was not prepared to put his career in jeopardy.
With a lengthy holiday in the offing after 10 years of teaching, John was ready to embrace a hairless look at the beginning of 1990.
As he waited outside that London barber shop, John considered his options.
Would it be a crew cut, a buzz cut or a flat-top?
Perhaps a skinhead or a shaved head?
Come what may, the hair was going.
John summoned up the courage and entered the shop where he was greeted by an attractive 20-something barberette with an obvious and tight poodle perm.
Wearing a tight blouse, a short leather skirt and black patterned tights, this barberette appealed to her male clientele and John was no exception.
She invited John to take a seat, caped him up and started to comb his long hair.
"What are we having today," the barberette asked in a thick Cockney accent.
John decided to flirt with the hairdresser and make a joke of his request.
"I want a hair style which is the exact opposite of yours.
"I am rather keen on a crew cut, please," John replied.
"What is a crew cut?," came the reply.
John was flummoxed by this response.
Was his Aussie accent so thick?
Aren’t crew cuts styled in London?
"Oh well... a crew cut is like cat’s fur.
"It is a super short haircut with one length all over," John spluttered out.
"Oh I think you mean an army cut," the barberette said.
With that, she grabbed the clippers, attached a #2 guard and placed the whirring machine in the middle of John’s forehead
With a light feminine touch, she pushed the clippers through John’s mane.
The haircut lasted less than 10 minutes but it was pure pleasure for John.
At the end of his two-month European vacation, John returned to the same barber shop in London.
On this occasion, the barberette was immediately aware of his intentions.
"I am rather keen on a shaved head, please".
For the past 30 years, John has either worn a crew cut or been bald-by-choice.
His wife of three decades has kept her Cockney accent and poodle perm