Sunday, 25 September 2011
Many young children in Scotland during the 80's suffered the dreaded Home Haircut, not the type when you get a professional to come round in their sporty little motor (ford escort) and embrace you with unnecessary compliments (lies). Oh no...the definition of ' Home Haircut' I mean is the one when a mother develops delusions of grandeur when scissors are in their grasp. Since mothers clean, cloth and cook for you, it makes sense to 'them' that they can also cut your hair well....wrong. It seems an unbreakable tradition between Mother and Daughter! As the daughter becomes a first time mother they are given ( by their mother) industrial sized scissors, once with a clean steel finish now blackened with the soulless haircuts it has burdened many young heads within the family tree. And lets not forget that highly evolved technique of creating the perfect straight fringe..........a bowl. Luckily my father decided enough was enough and gave me the opportunity to go to the Barbers, I think this was mainly due to the haircuts my older sisters and brother were given or he was embarrassed by the fact that all his children had Lego head.
Anyway the big day came, my first paid hair-cut. It would be a defining moment when I could hold my head up high and be proud of my hair as it flutters gracefully into the mid-summer (winter to you) Scottish breeze, whilst whispering ' Timotei' (with the luxurious green hills as a backdrop). I remember waking up early and having breakfast with my Dad. The air was filled with manliness, I was ready to be a man. My father asked me what I would like to drink I replied 'what are you having' he said ' Coffee', I said ' I'll I have the same'. My father gave me an orange juice but I didn't complain because thats what men do! After breakfast my Dad told me to put my smart clothes on for the big day, as I sprinted out of the kitchen I announced ' I can't wait to go to the hairdressers'......before I reached my bedroom door my father called me back. As I raced back to the kitchen I asked him what was up, my father explained he had to tell me something it sounded important. I sat directly in front of him leaning with my hands on my thighs ' Proceed' I whispered. My father said ' we are not going to the hairdressers'...... I was in shock.....he explained we were going to the Barbers, the shock left but curiosity replaced it. Whats the difference I asked, my Dad put down his coffee placed one hand on my shoulder and educated me. My Father taught me that hairdressers are where women go to gossip 'perpetual crap' for hours and pay an insane amount of money to maintain some form of fashion status. A Barbers is where men and old women with purple hair go to quite simply get a haircut within a reasonable time frame and at a reasonable price. I asked more about the purple haired old women, my Dad abruptly explained it was just one of those anomalies in everyday life. I accepted this explantation.
Waiting for the bus with my father, I felt so mature, with my smart clothes on and chest held up high. The odd thing was my Dad was taking me to get a haircut because he was embarrassed by the butchery my Mother inflicted on my other siblings hair, however he dressed me in a purple Paisely patterned shirt, camel cords and brown leather sandals with red socks. As if a good haircut would hide the fact that I looked liked one of the fucking ' Brady bunch does Woodstock'. The bus arrived. The bus driver 'Hamish' was an odd looking old man with bottled top glasses and a gaunt expression. As if gravity had got hold of his chin and was puling down with all it's might. Many kids were scared of him but since he was always polite and gave a trying smile ( even though he had only three teeth) I liked him. Funnily enough twenty years later I seen 'Hamish' again and he looked exactly the same as when I was a child, It was as if some Genie had given him one wish and he choose to look 62yrs old forever. The bus journey was only 5mins but what I always remember is the two identical fields on either side of the road. One field had cows in it the other sheep. All day long the cows and sheep just stood at the wire fences looking at each other from across the road, mooing and baaing. I often pondered that maybe they both thought the were looking into some kind of mirror, so the cows thought they looked like sheep and vice-versa. This proposed a question in my young mind at the time which one would be more disappointed when they seen their real reflection. The bus stopped in the other village, my father and I got off ready for the Barbers.
My father took me down an alley way, we were blinded by the sunlight and as our eyes adjusted to this unusually bright weather, to the left of us was the barbers. The barbers looked like an old western bar, all wood with a rickety old sign above the door with green writing....announcing' Stevie Quicks Cuts, the fastest barber in town'. Catchy. As we entered the Barbers a potent ( not unpleasant) smell of musk and pipe smoke embraced me, Stevie ' The barber ' with a fag hanging out of his mouth briefly turned and mumbled ' alright Dave, Oh and this must be Master Ferguson'. I instantly liked him he knew his place. Stevie was well an unusual character, he was youngish but had the weathered appearance to him, also he gave the vibe of a 'James Dean' look a like that went wrong! He had a stained tight white T-shirt that revealed possibly the worst sparrow Tattoos know to man, a belt that strangled his waist to prevent his over-sized stone coloured jeans from falling down and blonde stubble that could cut glass. Yet most disturbing of all was his haircut.....it really didn't promote his profession or skills very well...since his sandy blonde gelled hair was in constant limbo between a middle parting and a side parting.
As me and my father sat down on the converted church benches I seen that there was another 10 men waiting (no purple haired women though) before us, Stevie said ' only be 5mins Dave' to my Dad. I've heard that one before I thought but to my dis-belief within 5 mins he had done all their haircuts!!! Mainly due to the fact that he only did two types of haircuts short and trim, short results in a number one shave all over and a trim is four swipes of his scissors ( cutting the fringe, the sides and the back). It was my turn, Stevie went and got a short wooden plank which had a eroded green leather nailed to it, not only classy but comfortable! Stevie placed it on top of the antique hairdresser chairs arms and I climbed up on it and looked at my self in the mirror, 'King' I thought......' What would it be for you today pal' he said....I preferred Master Ferguson thank-you but never upset a man with scissors in his hand. My dad said a 'trim please Stevie' within four masterful swoops of his scissors he grumbled ' done, that will be twa pooonds'. I climbed down looked in the mirror feeling a great sense of pride, I was just given my first haircut... I was a bit more grown-up.
When I got back I rushed to my Mum and other siblings to show off my hair, my Mum smiled at me in an odd manner....a manner that was somewhat smug. My Dad ruffling up my hair said' They you go son a proper mans haircut' my Mum once again gave a smug look but this time at my father. She said ' Yes what a professional hair cut'. My father looked perplexed as if Mother knew something he did not know. The following Monday I had my school photos taken and I was so pleased with myself when I got them back. Look at that haircut I thought......I look good. When I showed it to my Mum she said' You look lovely Darling......and what a professional haircut' she then gave my father a smug look and he pulled his paper infront of his face.
For many years I never knew why my Mum was so smug at my Father but 25yrs later I found out. I was going through my school photos and found that Picture with first my Professional haircut. Something looked a bit out of balance.....it then dawned on me! Stevie the idiot had forgot to level my sideburns.... so one was cut to the top of my ear the other well just waved below my other ear. It all made sense since i never went back to Stevie Quick Cut to get my hair done which I found odd. I possibly should have been angry at Mum for letting me parade around with an even haircut but in all honestly I thought fair play!