Image via WikipediaThe old red, blue and white barber's pole is a rare sight these days but when I was young I hated the sight of them as I knew every time I went that shop in it would take me weeks to recover. From a very early age I was like Samson loosing my strength through getting my hair cut short which with me was more like loosing my confidence. I was quite shy and when my fringe was down over my face I somehow felt more secure but after watching in the mirror as my hair disappeared onto the barber's floor my confidence drained knowing I had to face the world with my short hair sticking out everywhere and no matter what I tried to do with it,it still had a mind of its own.
Once my hair got to a certain length my mother would give me 1s/6p (seven and a half pence)to get it cut on my way home from school ruining my day as all I could think of was how ridiculous I was going to look until it grew back to a decent length. It had to be short back and sides then and it was cut so short that my scalp could clearly be seen and the top of my head had so little hair left that no matter how much brylcreme was applied (and I can assure you I applied plenty as the greasy mark on my pillowcase showed)it just stuck out, up and every which way it felt like making me cringe at what other people would think. The problem was that a couple of weeks before it was cut I could put the fringe into a wave at the front similar to Elvis and just as I was getting used to it and my confidence began to grow it was chopped off again leaving me with an embarrassing tuft at the front. It is little wonder that when I got older I stopped using brylcreme and let my hair grow long, only getting it tidied up on my very rare visits to the barber. Looking back on old photographs my hair was really too long and unruly but as the years went past I managed to find a happy medium finding peace with my hair thanks partly to getting it cut by women rather than men as they knew better how to trim it to my liking.
It was my generation that started the long hair for men with the curly perms coming later but I often think that other schoolboys in my day must have felt the same as me and once they too got their freedom made their statement by growing their hair long. The style has gone back to short haircuts with some preferring skinheads especially if they are beginning to go bald but as long as I have hair on my head it will never get cut as short as it did in my schooldays. I get it trimmed by my partner now as the last time I went to get it cut at the hairdressers (by a woman) it cost me twenty pounds for five minutes on the chair. Its a vast difference from the seven pence in the early sixties, and me being a stingy Scot, I will stick to the efficient trim I get for nothing from my partner and never intend to enter a barber's shop again. Perhaps the rest of my generation feel the same way and that is why the distinctive red, blue and white pole is becoming a rarer sight these days.