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Holiday Haircuts by CrewMan

This happened a long time ago, when I was about eight or nine. It was the start of the school summer holidays and a couple of days before I went away on holiday with my parents and my brother Andrew, who's a couple of years older than me. On the Friday night, as we were all eating, dad said that he would be taking Andrew and me for a haircut the day after. Although we weren't too keen, we'd been expecting him to say it, as it was traditional that we were taken for a haircut before we went on holiday - it was our parents' attempt to try to smarten us up a bit. What we hadn't been expecting though was what he said next. "Your mother and I were remembering how you got so hot and sticky running about on holiday last year so we've decided that we're going to get you both a crewcut this time. It will be much cooler for you in this weather". Andrew and I looked at each other and almost immediately we both said "No!" It wasn't that our hair was that long (usually a couple of inches or so on top and slightly shorter at the back and sides, although the pre-holiday haircut was normally a bit shorter) and dad was right that we'd complained a lot about being too warm the year before. That didn't mean that we were ready to sacrifice out hair to be cooler though. "But what if it looks stupid?" said Andrew. Mum spoke up and said something like "it's only hair, it'll grow back and you never know you might just like it". We tried to argue more then and later on that night, but mum and dad weren't having any of it and in the end we knew that it didn't look like we were going to talk them round.

The following morning, we went off into town for various last minute pre-holiday errands and while mum went to the shops, dad took Andrew and me off to our usual barbers. As it was the start of the school holidays, there was a bit of a queue and we had to sit down and wait for quite a while until Joe the barber worked his way through the other people. Although we'd had no success the night before, Andrew and I tried to use the time to make dad change his mind and persuade him that it would be much better if we just had a short back and sides and left the top longer. No matter how much we nagged at him though (and we did!) he would not budge. Finally the chair was empty again and we had worked our way to the front of the queue. Whenever we went for a haircut together, we always went in the same order - dad first followed by Andrew and finally me. Dad sat down in the chair and Joe set about giving him his usual shortish haircut and the two of them chatted away as they knew one another fairly well. During the conversation, the subject turned to us and dad mentioned to Joe what haircuts we were going to be having today. Joe looked at us smiling and said something about us not having to worry about combing our hair any more. I don't know how Andrew was feeling, but I remember I wanted dad's haircut to go on forever so that Joe would not get round to us. All too soon though, the cape was off dad and he was getting up.

"OK, Andrew, in the chair," dad said. Andrew hesitated for a moment and then stood up and shuffled the few steps to the barber's chair and sat down. Dad stood to the side of the chair as Joe put a piece of tissue round Andrew's neck as usual and wrapped the bright red cape around him. "So how do you want me to do this then?" Joe said to dad. "Do you want it the same length all over or shorter at the back and sides? I think it's better to have the back and sides a bit shorter myself, because it looks better when it's grown out some." I could tell by the look on Andrew's face that he disagreed and I certainly did, as we were still both hoping to keep as much hair as we could. Unfortunately for us though, dad agreed with Joe. "Is number three on the top and number two on the back and sides OK then?" asked Joe. "Yeah that'll be fine" said dad, and then the same words mum had used the night before. "It will always grow back anyway!"

Joe picked up his clippers and put an attachment on them. As he turned them on, he moved in front of Andrew and put his free hand on the back of Andrew's head to steady it and pushed the clippers from the forehead right back to the crown. He then made a couple more passes over the top of Andrew's head and when he'd taken the bulk of the hair from the top of the head, he went over it again to make sure there were no stray hairs left. Once he was satisfied that the top was done, he repeated the process on the back and sides before putting a different attachment on the clippers and going over the back and sides again. I couldn't see the top of Andrew's head properly, but I could see the back and sides and I could see that they were shorter than any haircut either of us had had before. In a few minutes, it was all done and Joe was brushing Andrew down and taking the cape off him. Andrew stood up and as he turned to face me I was shocked. His darkish hair was almost all gone and he looked like the people we had seen in a TV programme about Army training recently. It had still not quite occurred to me that I was going to be looking just like him soon.

It hit home a couple of seconds later, when dad looked at me and said "Come on then, it's your turn now." I got in the chair and as with Andrew, Joe put the tissue round my neck and covered me with the cape. "Same again then?" Joe said to dad. I don't know what I was hoping he'd say, but it was still almost a shock when dad said "Yep, same again." Joe turned on the clippers and I felt his hand on the back of my head at the same time as the clippers went from the middle of my forehead to crown, as they had with Andrew. I had a buzzing feeling on the top of my head that I wasn't used to as Joe normally only used the clippers to trim the back and sides when he cut my hair. As I looked in the mirror I could see a shaved stripe down the middle of my hair, which got wider as Joe pushed the clippers from front to back again. I decided at this point that I'd seen enough and I closed my eyes. The clippers buzzed over and over my head and I only opened my eyes once to have a look at how much hair was on the cape. When I saw how much there was, I quickly closed them again. In what seemed like no time, Joe had sheared me like he had sheared Andrew and I felt him brushing loose hairs off my head and loosening the cape at the back. "You can open them now, it's over," I heard him say to me. I opened my eyes and looked at myself in the mirror. I looked like (and as far as I was concerned I was) a skinhead, with only a bare forehead where my fringe had been and a little bit of stubbly hair left on my head. My hair was fairer than Andrew's so mine looked even shorter than his. "That's smartened you both up a treat," said dad. "You're ready for your holiday now!"

Andrew and I seemed to spend most of the rest of the day rubbing our heads and looking at ourselves in shop windows, mirrors and anything else we could see our reflection in. As it turned out, mum and dad were right and we did both feel much better with short hair while we were away in the warm weather, but that didn't stop Andrew growing his hair out again afterwards as he didn't want to keep it that short all the year round. I did keep the cut though, because I liked the look and feel of it, and it stayed like that until it was time for the next year's holiday haircut. This time Andrew asked to get the same cut as the year before again and I wanted my buzzed even shorter than usual. Joe was happy to oblige!

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