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Monday, April 13, 2015

Sixpenny all-off

I rememeber very well indeed the day my long curling locks were shorn from my protesting head. I was taken to Mr Green, the only barber in the town: sixpence (a coin which no longer exists, and a sum now too small to be computed) secured an 'all-off' - a closely cut haircut for boys up to the age of puberty, and often well beyond. My father took me down to the shop - which I remember as small, full of tobacco smoke, and none too clean - and I was then attacked with blunt scissors and clippers which were happier taking small pieces of skin off my neck than actually cutting hair. I screamed the place down - and from that day to this (some eighty years later) I have hated having my hair cut. It seems to take much longer these days than it used to, and I sit there just wanting the whole procedure to stop. It doesn't actually hurt (well, not much, though those scissors with every other tooth missing tend to pull at the hair rather than actually cut it) but the boredom is ineffable - to say nothing of the conversation (I'm always reminded of the old joke - Barber: 'How would you like your hair cut, Sir?' Customer: 'In silence.') My happiest days were during the late fifties and sixties when I was able to join fashion by wearing my hair as long as I liked - to the great distress of my parents. There's no answer to the quandary. I have to get a haircut from time to time; despite every effort, I just haven't been able to go bald. Pity me, pity me.

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