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Coming to a head

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As a mere mid-20th-century male, I belong to that period and attitude which maintains there are only two kinds of masculine hairstyle -- the tidy and the untidy. For myself I prefer the latter (the phrase "well groomed" sends a tremor down my spine); going to the hairdresser's is a nuisance and warrants a considerable amount of avoidance.

Should circumstances or a wife prevail, however, then the technique is to go as an aristocrat to the guillotine, treating the whole affair loftily, as though it were a heroically inconsequential tragedy: as indeed it is, involving, with paradoxical complexity, both tremendous anguish and no anguish at all.

There have been long stretches of my life when I've managed to steer clear of the commercial hairdressers and get the job done at home. The hazards of amateurism seemed as nothing compared with the risk of entering the wrong sort of professional barber's shop. When I lived by myself in the country, and kitchen-haircuts were no longer on offer, what to do about it caused me many a long minute of indecision. These usually ended with the thought, "let it grow --in the end I discovered "Jennifer," whose reputation as the best cutter for miles around (according to one of my neighbors) had attracted quite a sizable male clientele, including one or two Yorkshire farmers you'd expect to prefer a male barber of the old short-back-and-sides school. "Jennifer" was quick and sensible with scissors. Her lack of fuss was everything one could ask for.

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