“Make it short!” by (1 Story)

Prompted By Hair

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I can still hear the shout…”MAKE IT SHORT”…coming from the kitchen from my mother to the barber who was about to give me a haircut upstairs in my bedroom. I was 10 years old, home sick in bed, and I couldn’t go to the barbershop. But that didn’t stop my mother from arranging for the barber to come to the house. Afterall, my parents were having a dinner party that night, and in their opinion, I couldn’t be seen with a week-old haircut.  Yes…my mother had me scheduled for weekly trips to the barbershop for a crew-cut…until I was about 11 years old, a painful ritual that clearly left its mark on me.

The barber took her command to heart, and proceeded to shave off practically all of my hair, leaving me near-bald.  Needless to say, she screamed (from shock) when she came upstairs to see me, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked  in the mirror.

Wearing a baseball cap was the only solution. So, I greeted the guests in my pajamas with my cap, and I went to school and wore my cap.  I practically showered with that cap on.  It took weeks to grow back, and a lifetime to try to forget the story…which I haven’t been able to shake.

The irony..now I like it “short, very short”.   In fact, every Monday morning I shave my head with a professional barber’s razor.  Maybe if Bruce Willis had been alive in the ’50’s and worn his hear the way he does, I might have liked that “cut”.  It took 55 years to come around to seeing that maybe, just maybe, my mother was right, and stylish ahead of her time!

Profile photo of TSSNYC TSSNYC

Characterizations: been there, funny, well written


  1. John Zussman says:

    Great story! I wonder if the trauma of this event was a factor in ending the weekly crew cuts a year later.

    For all the current “Mad Men” nostalgia for the ’50s and early ’60s, it really was a very conformist era. I’m glad to see today’s byword—”You Be You”—but back then, that was the last thing we wanted to be.

  2. TSSNYC says:

    Oh no…sadly, the weekly visits to the Barber continued. But he was well-supervised by my Mom and me after the home visit! ha.

  3. Susan says:

    My mother, a beautician, “fixed” one of my boyfriends’ bad haircuts by giving a well shaped, but inevitably very short, cut. Sure, it grew out looking so much better. But as soon as my mom was done, my teenage heart fell when he looked at himself in the mirror and declared he looked like a coconut. Gotta spare a moment of sympathy for the poor barber who thought he was following instructions!

  4. Betsy Pfau says:

    Ouch! Girls thought we had bad hair days…at least we can draw comfort that hair grows back, but it sounds like you were permanently traumatized by this bad hair cut. I remember my older brother getting those terrible short crew cuts too. Thanks for sharing this story and your associated pain with us…and glad you are now in control of your hair’s destiny.

  5. Suzy says:

    Ironically, my son and I have just the opposite dialogue. I always want him to grow it longer, and he insists on keeping it very short.

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